Tag Archives: Calan Gaeaf

The Big Draw-ing

30 Oct

Dolmen 8


The 15 Hundred Lives art collective that I’m a member of is holding a Big Draw event at the Creative Bubble artspace for a couple of days. October is not only the month of the national Big Draw, the world’s biggest drawing festival, it’s also the month of All Hallow’s Eve, an ancient festival for remembering the dead. It’s a Christian festival, part of Allhallowtide; a pagan festival based in the Celtic Samhain; Calan Gaeaf, the Welsh winter festival; and the 20th century secular Halloween tradition of trick or treating.

A lot of my artwork is based on memories of those who have died, my ancestors, and I started a big drawing inspired by this and by my recent couple of days in Pembrokeshire drawing ancient burial monuments.  I don’t see it as a depressing thing at all.  I started by ripping up lumps of newspaper and sticking them on to a roll of Fabriano Accademica with Pritt stick. Then I started drawing onto it with compressed charcoal. Here’s a slide show of the development of the work.

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We had quite a few people drop in and draw with us, some lovely work and lots of great discussions. Another day of it tomorrow – I might do another big drawing.

OOH! AAH! Fireworks!

5 Nov

05 lad

Bonfire night! Husb and I went to the municipal firework display this evening. It was fantastic! Best one I’ve seen. Kudos to Swansea Council – a grand job. When it finished we crossed the road to the beach for the feral fireworks; thousands of teens and twenty-somethings packed onto the beach lighting bonfires and setting off fireworks in a very narrow strip of sand as the tide was fully in. Dangerous but a terrific atmosphere.

05 dad

The little kid in the top sketch was wearing a hat almost as big as his body. It had enormous flapping ears. The big Dad in the bottom drawing was dancing with his tiny daughter perched safely on his shoulders. There’s a long tradition of a fire festival at this time of year’ the Gaelic Samhain and the Celtic / Welsh Calan Gaeaf. Guy Fawkes night is relatively recent, only about 4 centuries old, The word bonfire is supposedly derived from ‘bone fire’. Apparently our ancient ancestors liked to burn people in big wicker men every winter. Not very nice at all. Bonfire night is great fun now though.

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