Thursday, May 11, 2006
Abstracting Cardiff Bay
This is a photograph of a very small part of the newly opened Welsh Assembly Building at Cardiff Bay, which I visited yesterday in the excellent company of my friend Liz . We've been acquainted for some time on line, but this was the first time we'd met in person. We had a wonderful time exploring the area and also the Craft in the Bay gallery.
Here, I'm taking a photo of Liz taking a picture of a wonderful rusty pillar. You can see the result on her blog. There has been discussion regarding rust dyeing on our internet group. If the pillar is one day swathed in ready-to-dye silk or cotton, you'll know why.
Our first stop was Craft in the Bay, where we enjoyed a delicious salad lunch al fresco as a sandwich to enjoying the experience of looking at beautiful craftworks unimpeded by impatient children or anyone else! There were some stunning pieces of wall art which were collages of corroded metals on which were worked calligraphic texts by Elizabeth Forrest. I was very taken by a wonderful linen wall-hanging/tablecloth woven by Riitta Sinkkonen Davies, in shades of blues and lavenders broken by natural and peach narrow stripes. It would have been wonderful on my living-room wall: at £350 I would be reluctant to use it as a tablecloth. Lots of beautiful jewellery, some stunning metalwork lamps and mirrors by Nia Wyn Jones, glorious ceramics including sensual vessels which were oddly humanoid and glazed in subtle colours.
The new buildings in the Dock area use some interesting materials. The Millenium Opera House is covered in sheets of gold-tinted metal, reminiscent of the Guggenheim Gallery in Bilbao and Gateshead's Slug, or Concert Hall. I was fascinated by the contrasting walls, faced in contrasting stripes of different shades of slate in purples and greens, and would like to develop some work based on this structure: batik might prove rewarding for this. It was something to do with the colours and the texture of the surface that caught my eye: Blogger does not seem to like these colours and has knocked them back somewhat.
Down by the water is a war memorial which is formed in metal to resemble both the hull of a ship and a human head. There is a gap which frames this strange roof-top structure which could be an insect or a bird of prey. We wondered if it had a function other than to decorate? It is certainly a very strong form, silhouetted against the sky, and at times looked quite menacing.
The head/hull itself is also a strong image, black metal against the pale stone paving. A damaged, broken body or a beached, wrecked ship, it lies in its ambiguity outside the Welsh Assembly building.
We also managed to visit the Market House in Llantrisant, another very good gallery, with a textile exhibition by Michelle Griffiths: textile sculptures using shibori techniques without dyes (though a bit of rust dyeing crept in there, too...) Fabulous textures.
Here we are, back at Liz's lovely home, before I set off back to England. I'd had a wonderful time. Driving across the Second Severn Crossing Bridge, I felt as if I was driving into the end of the world: grey-black clouds ahead, lemon yellow sky to my right. Before I arrived home, it began to rain, and dinner was accompanied by an apocalyptic thunder storm. But what a wonderful day out! Thanks, Liz