Welsh makers at SOFA New York 2012

SOFA New York opens it’s doors on 20th April in The Park Avenue Armory, New York. The Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art Fair is now in it’s 15th year.

In 2012 Ruthin Craft Centre in north Wales will be representing two of the Wales’ premier makers at SOFA, ceramicist and potter Walter Keeler and textile artist, Eleri Mills.

Mae SOFA New York yn agor eu drysau ar 20fed o Ebrill yn The Park Avenue Armory, Efrog Newydd. Mae’r digwyddad: The Sculpture, Objects and Functional Art Fair nawr yn ei 15fed blwyddyn.

Yn 2012, mi fydd Canolfan Grefft Rhuthun yng Ngogledd Cymru yn cynrychioli dau o wneuthurwyr mwyaf blaenllaw Cymru yn SOFA; ceramydd a crochenwr Walter Keeler a artist tecstiliau, Eleri Mills.

About Walter Keeler:

“The pottery tradition is at the heart of all my work. Pottery has been central to all settled human communities. Seldom merely functional, it has been a vehicle for expression and the fulfilment of delight in the pleasure of handling a sensual and incredibly versatile material; the useful bound up with the intellect and the imagination.                              

I discovered pottery as a boy, becoming intimate with fragments of ancient pots picked up on the beaches of the Thames in London. They infiltrated my mind and senses, giving me an insight to the syntax of thrown pottery; a sense of what is authentic, which only understood as I gained experience in the craft. So my work is informed by my passion for pots from the past, but also by making and firing, and the world and times in which I live.

Sometimes I make simple useful things like mugs or jugs; on other occasions my work is less straightforward, making demands, even challenging the user to negotiate with an unexpected pot to do an ordinary job. I hope my pottery brings with its seriousness, some humour and sensual pleasure.”

Selected Exhibitions:

2011 Collect, Saatchi Gallery, London

2008 Gallery at Bevere, Worcester, Walter Keeler & Takashi Yasuda ceramics

Walter Keeler, An Artist’s Selection, Glyn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea

 2007 Candover Gallery, Alresford, Hants (solo)

2006 To Hold, Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin

SOFA Chicago (with Ruthin Craft Centre) 2005–07

Table Manners, Crafts Council touring exhibiton

2005 Functional Form Now, Galerie Besson, London

2004 National Eisteddfod, exhibition and Gold Medal winner, Newport

 2004–06 Ruthin Craft Centre and City Art Gallery, Leicester City (tour, solo)

 2002 Contemporary Ceramics, London (solo)

 2001 Jerwood Shortlist Exhibition, Crafts Council Gallery, London

 Public Collections include:

Victoria & Albert Museum, London; The Fitzwilliam Museum; Crafts Council, London; The National Museum of Wales; Stoke-on-Trent City Museum; MIMA (Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art); American Craft Museum, New York; Los Angeles Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; National Museum of Sweden; Sévre Museum of Ceramics, France; Musée Ariana, Geneva

About Eleri Mills:

“My instinct has always been to embrace both painting and textile traditions without having to conform to either. While the act of drawing is central to all my work, I delight in the raw beauty of all my materials – whether they are fabric, thread, paint or paper.

The content of my work is my main concern, and while the processes have varied and evolved over the years, the subject matter has always been consistently influenced by the landscape of mid Wales and the glorious Bardic tradition of Wales.”

Creative Wales Ambassador – Award 2011/13 2012 Visiting Artist, Columbia University, New York (Feb – April) 2011 Artist in Residence, Ruthin Craft Centre (June – Sept)

Selected Exhibitions:
2011    Collect, Saatchi Gallery, London

2009    Thackeray Gallery, Kensington Square, London (solo)

2008    Art of the Stitch (Birmingham, Krefeld, Germany and Budapest tour)

2006    SOFA Chicago (with Ruthin Craft Centre)

2004    11th International Triennial of Tapestry, Lodz, Poland (Representing UK)

1999    Art of the Stitch, Barbican, London

1995    Museu Textil i d’Indumentaria, Barcelona (Wales in Catalonia Festival) (solo)


2008    Winner Painting Prize and Runner-up Welsh Artist of the Year, Cardiff

1999    Award for most outstanding exhibit, Art of the Stitch exhibition, Barbican, London

1987    Gold Medal for Craft, National Eisteddfod of Wales, Porthmadog

Public Collections/Commissions include:

Contemporary Art Society for Wales (purchased for the permanent collection in 2002); National Museums of Scotland, Edinburgh (purchased for the permanent collection in 2001); National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth (purchased for the permanent collection in 2000); Contemporary Art Society for Wales (etching commissioned for Year of the Artist portfolio 2000); Whitworth Art Gallery, University of Manchester (purchased for the permanent collection in 1998); National Farmers Union Mutual and Avon Insurance, Headquarters, Stratford upon Avon; Embroiderers Guild Collection, Hampton Court Palace; ICI. Alderly Edge


About Kathryn Campbell

Gallery Assistant at Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthen, Wales UK
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