Helfa Gelf ‘10 Years’ starts on Friday, 4 September and artists are encouraging you to pick up a Guide to the biggest open studios event in Wales. Over 400 artists are taking part in this special 10th anniversary year. The Guide shows the location of 180 studios and pop-up galleries that will be open and welcoming visitors across the counties of Gwynedd, Conwy, Flintshire, Denbighshire and Wrexham in September.
“The best way to learn about the 400 Helfa Gelf artists is to grab a Guide. The Guide is a very professionally put together little book. It is a great reference guide to help you find artists based across North Wales. In parallel to the Guide, the website has additional images of artists’ work and has an interactive map to help you find the location of all the studios and galleries. I love to see visitors to my studio carrying the Helfa Gelf Guide with them; it gives visitors information and inspiration to plan their art trail,” says Sara-Jane Harper, artist in ceramics, drawing, mixed media, painting, photography and printmaking.
In addition to the open studios, Helfa Gelf also promotes and supports artists through exhibitions and residencies. Exhibitions include: Oriel Pendeitsh, opening 5 September in Caernarfon; Undegun, opening 5 September in Wrexham; Mostyn Caffi Celf in partnership with Mostyn, hosts artists work thorough out the year, in Llandudno; and Art in Hospitals in partnership with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. Residency projects include: Helfa Gelf Fach @ Galeri in partnership with Criw Celf in Caernarfon; Haus of Helfa @ Llawn03, opening 18 September in Llandudno; Helfa Gelf @ Canolfan Grefftau Ruthin every weekend during the event; and Bethan M. Hughes, a part of Denbighshire Open Doors Weekend, in St Peter’s Church in Ruthin. Other projects include the Helfa Gelf Art Vend, in partnership with Oriel Wrecsam, in Wrexham.
“There is so much going on as part of Helfa Gelf. We are working together to promote the open studios, exhibitions and residencies by putting up posters and banners. It is great that all artists have work on the Helfa Gelf website if you want to understand a little about individual artists’ work before your visit. But the best way to plan your visit is to grab the Helfa Gelf Art Trail Guide. I really enjoy talking to visitors to my studio during the event. They are intrigued by the process of printing and always interested in learning about my work,” says Su Walls, artist, printmaker, illustrator and mixed media.
Funding has made publication of the Helfa Gelf Art Trail guide, the exhibition programme, residencies, the website http://www.helfagelf.co.uk/en/ and the wider promotion of the event possible. The Helfa Gelf Art Trail project has received funding through the Arts Council Wales and through the local authorities across North Wales.
“I invite visitors to step inside my studio. Sometimes people drop in for a short time or stay for a longer visit; it is so nice to get a reaction to your work. Everyone is welcome. After 10 years of the Helfa Gelf Art Trail, I still hear visitors say, ‘I never knew you were here’. Helfa Gelf is a fantastic way to discover and meet the artist who lives on your doorstep or to travel further to discover new art, pop in to an exhibition or talk to an artist in residence. The Guide has it all and is a fantastic way to learn more about artists and art in North Wales,” says Tara Dean, artist, printmaker and illustrator.
The Helfa Gelf ‘10 Years’ Guide contains painters, illustrators, mixed media artists, printmakers, sculptors, digital media artists, photographers, installation artists, filmmakers, performance artists, glassmakers, jewellers, metalworkers, woodworkers, basket makers, ceramicists, potters, mosaic makers, textile artists, weavers and fashion designers, all taking part in this special 10th anniversary year.