19 April – 18 June 2011

What do the objects you own mean to you?

Over an eight week period, Oriel Myrddin Gallery invites four artists; Carwyn Evans, Peter Finnemore,

Becky Adams and Jools Johnson to occupy the gallery space with special objects that evoke intruiging stories.

Using objects both personal and particular and a spirit of experiment and happen-stance, each of this artist-led series will develop differently. Visitors and community groups will engage with each of the stages in order to explore the stories, history, memory and associations of objects.


Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Jools Johnson - Aurora

Jools Johnson

Jools Johnson uses the component parts of old computers to construct fictitious or ‘impossible’ city-scapes as he calls them. Using the guts of defunct technology, Johnson creates miniature urban landscapes; the material parts that would once have been integral to the commercial activity of such places, are re-invented as absurd functionless mini-urban worlds.

In Project Object: Aurora Johnson uses the box structure of the old-fashioned Overhead Projector to contain everyday twinkly Christmas lights. These project their changing light patterns over the cities, creating subtle shadows on the walls. Johnson references the natural phenomena known as the Aurora Borealis* (or Northern Lights). The colours look artificial and unbelievable, but they are in fact very true to those found in the Aurora Borealis.
Johnson’s work is predominantly concerned with unsettling atmospheres and ethereal backdrops that articulate fundamental questions about our perception of our own existence.

*The Aurora Borealis is a natural light display, visible at night, predominantly in polar regions, caused by the collision of charged particles directed by the Earth’s magnetic field.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Richmond Park School

We had a visit from Richmond Park School last Friday, the children used overhead projectors to tell stories with objects - the results are stunning!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


We were delighted with the objects that were contributed to Project Object: Collect. It was amazing to see what people loaned us and to read the accompanying stories, we have archived images of the objects and the stories on our Flickr site here.

Mystery object revealed...

Thanks to those who had a guess at our mystery object brought into the gallery for Project Object: Collect by Rolande Thomas – Arts Council of Wales Arts Development Offier. It belonged to his Great Aunt in Swansea and we have now been told it is a teapot drip catcher - an essential item to save your posh table cloth from becoming tea stained!

The object was also shown in the Carmarthen Journal newspaper and we did hear from a lady called Eva from Llandielo who guessed correctly because her mum used to use a similar object.
Project Object: Collect has now closed, but we had the most wonderful contributions from our visitors, many of which were really quite moving and poigniant - thanks again to all who contributed.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Bye Bye Becky Adams - Bonjour Jools Johnson

It has been fantastic to have Becky Adams with us for the last few weeks, it's now the turn of Wrexham born Jools Johnson to occupy the gallery with Project Object: Aurora...

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Ysgol Crosshands School

We had a school group in to work with Becky Adams yesterday, Ysgol Crosshands School - Year 6. Everyone brought in a special object and Becky bought in one of her artists books to share with the class - she looked like a magician unfolding all the hidden pages!

The children all had a fantastic day and produced the most amazing little keepsake boxes with a special book inside.

Mystery Object...

We've had a few interesting suggestions for what our mystery object might be...

Mousetrap, Crochet/knitting tool, Kettle descaler, instrument of torture for naughty nephews, cat scarer/bird scarer, plate holder, hair ornament...and cheese warmer (thank you Peter...!?).

Any more ideas?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011


Rolande Thomas – Arts Council of Wales Arts Development Officer based in Carmarthen brought this rather intriguing little object to contribute to our exhibition Project Object: Collect today.

He won’t tell us what it is except that it belonged to his Great Aunt in Swansea and may be Edwardian or somewhere up to the 1930’s.

SO…we’d like you to tell us what YOU think it might be! He’ll let the cat out of the bag after Saturday 4 June and he promises to let us have a picture of it in use…let us know or pop into the gallery for a closer look and leave your thoughts...

We’re curious to hear your suggestions!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Miniature Books - A Workshop with Becky Adams

Becky Adams ran a lovely workshop with us on Saturday in conjunction with her Project Object exhibition Memento. Becky asked people to bring a special object with them as inspiration for the project and everyone made tiny books which fitted inside a matchbox. Thanks to everyone who came along - a good day was had by all!

Tangled Parrot's Welsh Mix

Here is a link from Tangled Parrot's Matt and Iwan of the mix of Welsh music they played at Peter Finnemore's Groove Disco on 13th May. Thanks again for their enthusiastic participation - bendigedig!

Friday, 20 May 2011

The Red Shoes

What draws us to an object or to collect old things?

As part of Project Object, in her exhibition Memento, Becky Adams uses many of her own special objects in the gallery space and is using the gallery’s theme of overhead projectors to show old photographs of her own family and drawings of her Grandfather’s tools. One of the images she is showing however is of an unknown woman with a child sitting very formally in front of Victorian bathing huts. Whilst installing the show, Becky talked to us about why she may have been drawn to this image and by extension what it is in any object or image that attracts us to it. What part of our own psyche are we ‘projecting’ onto the object to which we are drawn?

Becky Adams is a collector of stories; they become an integral part of her life and are ingrained into the making of her work through a sophisticated use of stitch, vintage fabric and antique ephemera. Her work is a recollection of past experience and contemplates themes of memory, souvenir and the preservation of what could otherwise be lost. Connections are made between text, textile, stitch and narrative thread.

Becky Adams - Memento installation 

In the spirit of Project Object, Becky has been contemplating the challenge of the white space of the gallery, a quite different experience to her own working practice which is about the minute, the curious, the intimate and the cherished. She has brought with her a patchwork quilt which records her travels through the fabrics obtained or purchased in different locations, she will be sewing the fabric she has found in Carmarthen town into the quilt and inviting visitors to join in with the idea.

A tiny pair of children’s red shoes have also taken up temporary residence in the gallery – Becky’s own first pair of shoes - they have often featured in her work as an image. They remind us of Becky’s own story, and the little scuffs on the toes are the physical embodiment of her encounters and adventures; they remind us to value the little things of our lives and our own unique history.

Becky Adams

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Vulcan Sewing Machines...for the lucky little lady

Sian Conti - starting early on her dressmaking career

Becky Adams' installation in the gallery struck an immediate chord with one of our gallery staff. Sian Conti is our resident seamstress, she trained for four years in dressmaking at Carmarthen School of Art back in the day, but as can be seen from this photo, she started young - she's about 7 years old here and stitching away on a little Vulcan sewing machine very similar to the one Becky has brought in to the gallery.

Becky Adams' installation - part of Project Object: Memento

Project Matchbox

We had a lovely workshop in the gallery today with Becky Adams and students from Coleg Sir Gar in Ammanford. Everyone brought a special object with them and made a decorated matchbox to keep it inside.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


Becky Adams has been with us again today installing her show Memento. Becky can't keep away from the sewing needle for long though and she brought her ongoing patchwork quilt with her, she finds a piece of material whenever she visits a new place to add to the project, a piece from Carmarthen will be added soon.

The Curious World of Becky Adams

Becky Adams - The Curious World of Becky Adams - Mission Gallery

If you like Becky Adams' work, not only can you see her lovely new installation at Oriel Myrddin Gallery, but also a solo show of her sewn objects, books and images at Mission Gallery in Swansea, The Curious World of Becky Adams runs until 22 May.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Goodbye Groove, Good Morning Memento

Becky Adams installing Memento

We really enjoyed having Peter Finnemore's vinyl collection with us, it went back home on Sunday and we welcomed Becky Adams to the gallery this morning to begin installing her show Project Object: Memento.

The gallery is beginning to fill with beautiful old objects that have special significance for Becky and she'll also be using overhead procectors to project images and drawings. Becky's trademark moths are beginning to appear, attracted to the lights...

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Naming names...

Gallery Manager, Meg Anthony's very precious and much 
loved home-made teddy, Nu Nu

Here are the objects brought in for Project Object: Collect by some of the Oriel Myrddin Gallery staff.

Artist, Louise Bird is one of the desk staff at the gallery - this original
commemorative moon-landing mug reflects her fascination with all
things cosmic!

This scythe belongs to Carmarthenshire County Council
Arts Development Officer, Phil Alder, a reminder of days
small holding...hmmm...we're hoping Phil's not trying to
tell us something sinister about funding cuts...!
The little horse was brought in by Artist, Osi Rhys Osmond

Chris Ozzard is a poet as well as working for the gallery, 
this charming little small press publication is from 
1960 New York.

This is my favourite teapot. I acquired it at a church jumble sale in about
1982 - I had to ruthlessly fight an old lady for it! Victory was MINE!

Disco Groove

Peter Finnemore

Friday night was disco night at Oriel Myrddin! Peter Finnemore played a set from his collection of Welsh 1960's and 70's vinyl and Matt and Iwan from The Tangled Parrot, a new music venue, cafe/bar and record shop just around the corner in King Street, played a Welsh themed set including more contemporary music. Great fun had by all - thanks to all who came along!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011


Perlau yn y parc yn Ynghaerfyrddin...

There are some fantastic images in Peter Finnemore's show Groove. His collection of Welsh related 45 rpm vinyl is on display until 4 June. Here's a few covers just to whet your appetite.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Project Object: Collect is now open!

The Collect part of our Project Object series of shows is now open in the studio space upstairs at Oriel Myrddin Gallery. Thanks so much to those who have loaned the gallery their special things and shared their stories for the show. It is amazing how emotionally charged the objects become in conjunction with their histories. The show will run until 4 June and there is still a few spaces for your objects if you would like to contribute.

This object is a 'Pele Mond Tool' used to make fuel for the fire in the Gwendraeth valley in the 1950's and 60's.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The vinyl bones of a nation...

Photo: Gareth Hugh Davies

"I’ve been collecting 45 rpm vinyl records for many years, the criteria for my collection is that each individual record is culturally specific to Wales. This is an archive of kitsch imagery and popular song, democratic and inclusive of all musical styles. The majority collected because of the details within the record cover photographs and back cover text rather than for the musical content or style. The photographs are rich in historic detail about people and portraiture, landscape and place. Some are surreal and strange. Personal favourites include: Y Pelydrau, windswept and cheerful, stockined legs with optical illusion skirts posing on Trawsfynydd Lake with the nuclear plant directly behind them. Yr Awr, floral dressed 70’s heartbreakers posing on Swansea train station. Y Pedwar Caballero, 4 badass Mexicano farmers from Caernarfon “Their record brings a new sound to the Welsh ‘pop’ scene. Here is an attempt to unite rhythmic ballads with songs to which one can dance”. 

These packaged artefacts are cultural relics, archaeological markers of cultural history. Iorwerth Peate founder of St Fagans would approve of their redefined status as vernacular folk art. They are preserved time capsules, unselfconscious folk art that reveal an era of yearning to express cultural identity and to celebrate Welshness. Nostalgia, the na├»ve, innocence, the idiosyncratic, passion and celebration of amateur values are all here. The records are full of living history with personal and group biography, stories, dreams, hopes and fears. They become triggers for memory and emotion. This grouping becomes an historical archive delineating a cultural period between Jac a Will (circa 1958) until the late 70’s. The musical themes and lyrics express the cultural values of the nation. A cultural shift takes place from conformist values; the nostalgic and sentimental - celebration of nation, land, family, community and bible, to a bold and confident political, individualistic, self expressive and psychedelic themes as sung by Huw Jones, Dafydd Iwan, Heather Jones, Tebot Piws and Meic Stevens. Music in Wales as evidenced here is expansive in style, form and expression. It is a plural and multicultural activity with Paul Robeson, Iris Williams and Shirley Bassey contributing to the Welsh musical tradition. This installation is about modernism in a specific cultural and marginal context. Telepops Y Cymro is about Wales becoming modern and expressive. Here are the vinyl bones of a nation singing for its survival and with open voice singing itself into existence and self-awareness." Peter Finnemore May 2011

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Peter Finnemore: Groove

Peter Finnemore in the gallery today

Artist, Peter Finnemore has been with us in the gallery today hanging the second part in the Project Object series of shows, Groove. We're delighted that Peter, who lives near Llanelli in Carmarthenshire, is delving into his collection of Welsh related 45 rpm vinyl records to exhibit in the gallery. The collection has been underway since the 1980's and the focus is mostly on the 1960's and 70's. Peter sees these records as democratic markers of cultural history, as ‘vinyl bones’, and as vernacular folk art; many of them relate specifically to Carmarthen. 

Throughout the day, we've been treated to gems from the collection on an original Dansette record player (thanks to artist, Jacob Whittaker for loaning it for the duration of the show).

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Adieu Altro - Greetings to Groove

We dismantled Carwyn Evans' show, Project Object: Altro today.  We have so enjoyed having Carwyn's work with us. The gallery is ship-shape and all ready for our next artist to join us, Peter Finnemore and Project Object: Groove.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

The Cultural Biography of Things...

We have chosen this statement as our wall text for the Project Object series:

 "We accept that every person has many biographies...each of which selects some aspect of the life history and discards others. Biographies of things cannot but be similarly partial. In doing the biography of a thing, one would ask questions similar to those one asks about people…where does the thing come from and who made it? What has been its career so far, and what do people consider to be an ideal career for such things? What are the recognized ‘ages’ or periods in a thing’s ‘life’, and what are the cultural markers for them? How does the thing’s use change with its age and what happens to it when it reaches the end of its usefulness?"

"Rydym yn derbyn fod gan bob un lawer o fywgraffiadau ... ac mae pob un ohonynt yn dewis rhyw agwedd ar hanes bywyd ac yn hepgor rhai eraill. Ni all Bywgraffiadau o bethau fod yn ddim byd ond yn rhannol debyg. wneud bywgraffiad o beth,byddai un yn gofyn cwestiynau tebyg i'r rhai hynny sy’n cael eu gofyn am bobl ... o le mae’r peth yn dod o a phwy sydd wedi’i wneud? Beth yw gyrfa’r peth wedi bod hyd yma, a beth mae pobl yn ystyried sy’n yrfa ddelfrydol ar gyfer pethau o'r fath? Beth yw'r 'oedrannau' neu’r cyfnodau sy’n cael eu cydnabod mewn 'bywyd' rhywbeth, a beth yw'r marcwyr diwylliannol ar eu cyfer? Sut mae defnydd y peth yn newid gyda'i oedran, a beth sy'n digwydd iddo pan fydd yn cyrraedd diwedd ei ddefnyddioldeb?"

Igor Kopytoff The Cultural Biography of Things: Commoditization as Process

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sgwrs yn yr oriel..

Having spent the week with us in the gallery, Carwyn Evans came back this afternoon to talk about the work he has installed in Project Object: Altro.

Carwyn started by telling us a little bit about his practice as an artist. Coming from a Welsh speaking farming family in Newcastle Emlyn in Ceredigion, he sees his work as an extension and a re-interpretation of this farming legacy. Previous work, especially from his first major solo show in Oriel Davies in 2009, Y bore hwnnw, gwyliodd y wawr yn torri/That morning he watched the dawn, began to explore notions of 'cefn gwlad' (rurality) in relation to migration/immigration to/from the city. Alongside an exceptional collection of sculptural installations, a series of dry point etchings Arolwg/Survey showed field plans for ploughing on the land worked by his father. A series of occasional tables Troi/Turn with routed tops, like ploughed fields brought the language and physical actions of the farm into the artist's repertoire.

During his MA studies at The Royal College of Art this year, Carwyn has developed these ideas and begun to find a more open and experimental attitude to making his work. Oriel Myrddin Gallery has become a place where he can test out the relationship the works have to each other and the gallery space.

The main activity that has taken place during Carwyn's time in the gallery is the sieving of clay from the family farm in custom made buckets, the intention is one of 'purification'; an investigation to find out if there may be a way of disinvesting the material of place and identity and its potent associations. The muddy residue of the process has been placed by Carwyn high up on the plates of some quasi-agricultural forms which he calls 'rammers' leaning against the gallery wall. The process elevates the 'stuff', offering it up. 

As you enter the gallery a loosely constructed wall made from slats of wood or louvres runs into the space. It has a function of defining space, but also operates as a screen. Although reluctant to pin down a meaning for this construction, Carwyn suggested that personally, he may have utilised the screen as a way of 'excusing' or obfuscating his activities in the gallery. There is perhaps a reticence or shyness in him to  expose the process he is engaged with, the eradication of culture, the filtering of identity.

Elsewhere in the gallery, a series of bone china forms are placed, made from the off-cut material that his girlfriend, ceramicist Lowri Davies generates from the fine table-ware she produces. They have become sculptural objects in Carwyn's hands. One of the forms, propped on a wooden frame has had clay from the farm forced through the centre. Carwyn alludes to many layers of reference in the work, one of which sees a slightly anthropomorphic shape in the form - perhaps a child in a high chair - the clay becomes a metaphor for the imbibing of the personal and cultural stuff of which we are made. Scatological references lead us to think about the residue of that process. 

Alongside the sculptural works, there are also two projections running in the gallery. The texts, one in Welsh, one in English are a response to Richard Serra's Verb List Compilation: Actions to Refer to Oneself (1967 - 1968). A series of verbs which relate to the actions of farming are brought into the gallery by Carwyn to become an artwork.

The self portrait that Carwyn has created with the use of the OHPs shows an image of him with a bunch of Gypsophila flowers in his mouth - a play on the phrase - giving (people) 'gyp' - whether he is giving gyp or being GIVEN gyp is not necessarily clear! Further projections echo the patterns of the Gypsophila in pin prick circles of light - Carwyn suggested that we hold that image in mind whilst looking at the show - the idea that there are a constellation of ideas and interpretations for the work and that nothing is final or fixed.

It was great to have Carwyn with us to give us this insight into the processes and outcomes of his work. I left feeling he had been very brave to use the gallery in this way to show fledgling work as yet untested out of the studio and to embrace the experimental spirit of the project. I think it is particularly poignant for Carwyn to show this work in Carmarthen, so near to his family home. He respectfully raises many crucial questions for all of us who live in Wales either by birth or by choice and gently opens a platform to begin to question the very nature of identity and belonging.