Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Really Wild Festival, Rhod 2013

We are back with cold wet weather after what was a stunningly gorgeous weekend.
The Farmer & I went down to St. David's on Sunday to the Really Wild Festival ( which was being held in the beautiful ruins of the Bishop's Palace adjacent to the cathedral. A more perfect setting would be hard to find. The small medieval-style  pavilions set up by the Meibion y Ddraig Archers looked amazing in the walled enclosure overlooked by grinning gargoyles and ancient stonework. As well as archery demonstrations there were falconry displays, gun-dog displays (by our friend Meurig Rees of BASC, see last post) and most fascinating of all a shoe maker who specialises in making historic shoes for museums, theatre and re-enactment groups. Ana Deissler ( makes shoes from earliest stone age foot-coverings to Tudor style shoes...they are beautiful and she is so knowledgeable on the history of footwear and the  technique of making period shoes, the Farmer & I were talking to her for ages.
We also spent along time talking to someone from Coppicewood College ( which is not far from where we live. The college offers courses in a wooodland near Cardigan using traditional tools and covers all aspects of coppice practice and craft., from spoon carving to natural dyeing & charcoal making.
It is extraodinary how small circles of acquaintanceship reveal themselves...we had a number of mutual friends with N. from Coppicewood College and he had in turn heard of us. Wednesdays are open days at the woodland centre and we  must go over sometime to catch-up again and continue the debate over power tools (the Farmer) and traditional non-powered tools (Coppicewood College). I must admit to being more on the side of pole-lathes & hand carved spoons than chain-saws and power lathes...I find them much too noisy & scary to use whereas a pole-lathe is quiet and rather soothing in its action.

On Sunday evening on our return fromSt. David's we went just couple of miles up the road from the farm to art exhibition to which we had been invited.
A couple of weeks ago we had a visit from an Italian artist Rebecca Maria Bellestra who was the artist -in-residence at the Rhod project in Glonc Mill,  Drefelin ( She spent the day talking to us about sustainability, ecological matters, organic farming, the future of farming, all the things that we spent so much time discussing with many of those who end up sitting around our kitchen table. The difference on this occasion was that this conversation was filmed for her project which has taken her all around the world.
Part of her project was shown at the exhibition but most of the work on display was by the Rhod group of artists .
 The theme was Future Nature Culture & to quote from the programme notes,
 'Rhod is a place for encounters between art, nature and people...the artworks...have been made in response to the site of the mill and its grounds...The artists have eschewed grand gestures and definitive statements in favour of sensitive interventions in which the work is completed by nature.
Future Nature Culture is arejection of the pastoral which idealises and aestheicises nature as something separate and other from human beings. We are animals too.'
There were some beautiful and strange and interes
ting pieces of work including a piece wood cut from the middle of a fallen branch, that had been french-polished, and looked wonderful, but was then put back in its original place in the wood by the stream where of course the french-polish would very quickly deteriorate in the damp and so the wood would  eventually rot away like the rest of the unpolished branch as though man had had no part in its existence.
It was a thought-provoking evening with lots of good conversation.

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