Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Brecon Beacons, day 4

Although not quite as bad as that predicted by the Met Office, Wednesday’s weather was a turn for the worse. Far from ideal for hiking, but we’d already decided to do “culture” instead anyway. As it happens, a toe-stubbing incident on C’s part made hiking a liability regardless of the weather.

DSC09780 Our first stop was a craft centre in a short drive north in Erwood. This centre was based around a defunct railway station that was bought up by a professional wood-turner in 1984 and converted into a venue for local artists to display and sell their work. It currently has around 70 artists represented, covering a wide range including painting, stonework, jewellery, woodwork and photography. The selection on display was pretty impressive, and we came away with some jewellery (obviously I didn’t) and a rather tactile soapstone sculpture. Just as we were leaving we got chatting to what turned out to be the centre’s operator. He was in his early 20s, and it transpired that the centre was the creation of his father who, unfortunately, had recently died. Trained up by his father as a wood-turner, he had decided to try his hand at creating his own work and to continue the centre. Quite a challenge I’d have thought, but an admirable one, and made somewhat easier by the strong roster of artists represented by the centre.

Our next stop was a sort of art-trail through the twisting streets of Brecon. For a town of its size, it’s well-provisioned with galleries and small art shops. None were as good as the Erwood centre, but there was one, Oh!, with some great sculpture in it. The most distinctive pieces combined natural materials like mollusc shells and sand into bowls and lampshades using epoxy resin. Essentially, useful objects that are far too attractive and valuable to be used for their ostensible purposes.

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