My workshops often involve writing and craft. It's great to create a book, write in it, and illustrate the words.
My small printing press is portable and delightful, and I have run printing sessions in libraries and museums, showing how great it is to make words with type.
A recent project, making some artwork using letterpress and collage, based around Alice in Wonderland. Hugely enjoyable, in Blaina Library.
Letterpress workshop at Peak Cymru in Crickhowell. I love the concentration rising from this image.
Barry Library printing session
An enjoyable afternoon showing the Friends of Barry Library how to set type. You can see the size and bulk of the press - thank goodness I found a smaller press to take out!
A messy table is a wondrous thing.
About the author
One of my favourite ever ‘About the Author’ covers on a handmade book. The young writer was from Year 5.
Creative in Newport.
A lovely project in Newport, combining writing, printing, and craft. I loved visiting this group.
A collage celebration of Roald Dahl with the Friends of Barry Library, printing our names and things we love and value.
Making little books
Making little books with mothers and children as part of Cardiff Children's Literature Festival.
Books, printing, writing
One of my most enjoyable projects ever. Making books, with slipcases, creating text and illustrating, and then printing covers. Fabulous.
Letterpress and friendship words
Printing names and friendship words with a group of older people in St Athan.
I offer poetry writing workshops, from ages 4 upwards. I love to share my enthusiasm for words and writing, and everyone can do it. I can fit in with a particular theme, or use a traditional story or legend as a starting point, or even take inspiration from an exhibition or the outdoors. I run training days for teachers as well.
Performing my poem ‘Spiky Hedgehog’ in the great outdoors with a lovely group of young writers at Gnoll Primary School in Neath, We are in Gnoll Park.
Young writers in Blackwood
All looking very pensive at a Writing Squad meeting in Blackwood Miner’s Institute.
All conquering poets
A year 5 class and I celebrate conquering metaphors!
A poetry reading at the end of National Poetry Day, with the whole school taking part.
This young poet giving a bravura performance of her poem about the Greek mythological Underworld!
Gallery and Museum
Studious young poets in Newport Art Gallery and Museum.
Writing in libraries
Very happy writing a story in tweet format in Barry Library.
Writing in the classroom
Concentrating on our work
Gwynedd Writing Squad
A day of writing, and making books with the Gwynedd Writing Squad.
A lovely session of poetry in an outdoor setting.
Poetry readings for children, some pictures
Readings in libraries, schools, and even outdoors. Huge fun.
Poetry on the move
Performing a poem with some very excited children.
The moment before we all make the shape of a hedgehog with our hands and shout SPIKY HEDGEHOG!
Poetry in libraries
Here is my Spiky Hedgehog poem in mid performance in Cardiff Central Library,
Poetry not always for everyone
My favourite classroom picture. Not everyone is enthralled by poetry!
Even rainy weather does not deter us.
Performing for everyone.
Reading for the whole school after a lovely day writing poems at Mountain Lane Primary School in North Wales.
Poetry not always in the class room.
This was a lovely barn venue for a writing day.
Poetry in packets and on postcards
Seed packets with poetry. Seeds for the imagination.
Poems on postcards. Messages for the mind.
They are all available in my Etsy shop.
Poems in seed packets
I publish my poem collections in seed packets. I realised a while ago that poems are seeds for the mind, and then it was obvious how to publish.
I print the packet fronts with letterpress. The poems inside are printed on separate sheets, so you can read them in your own order, put one in your pocket for later.
Garden Seasons poetry packet
Garden Seasons was a collection of poems written when I was the gardener in a Medieval garden. My friend composer Mervyn Burtch asked me to write poems throughout the year in the garden, and he would make them into songs.
The songs have never been performed, except when Mervyn played them to me on his piano. But Garden Seasons has proved very popular, both for gardeners and those who love the outdoors.
Haiku in a packet
I love writing haiku, tiny three line seventeen syllable poems, based on the well known Japanese model.
This packet of poems contains lots of them, about a range of subjects, and some micropoems too.
Haiku are great to write with children - they get the idea of it very quickly, and the poems can be written quickly too.
Or, which is how I do it - you can sink deep into the how and why and traditional form of the haiku, and take a very long time to produce seventeen syllables.
Read them fast or slow.
Mythical Beasts poetry packet
I love mythical beasts, from all different mythologies and traditions. This collection was the most fun to write. I chose my favourite beasts, and put them into the packet.
Unleash them into your mind.
Blue Moon poetry packet
Blue Moon is about the strange things that happen on the night the Blue Moon shines. It starts in an old map shop. When the moonlight touches the maps, they melt together, and whatever happens in the shop happens outside as well.
Blue Moon poems are clipped together, and are best read in order, but it’s up to you.
Love poem on a postcard
A love poem postcard. I letterpress printed the poem, put it onto an illustration from an old book, and made it into a postcard. It’s called 3a.m.
Seasons haiku on a postcard
A haiku about the change of seasons. I letterpress printed the haiku, put it onto an illustration from an old flower book which I coloured with watercolours, and made it into a postcard.
I make some of my letterpress prints into greeting cards, taking photographs, and really enjoying showcasing the prints in a new way. They are all available in my Etsy shop.
Some of the images that I have been asked to make. Lovely to make someone else’s vision come to life.
Unforgettable handmade book
A wonderful project, making a handmade book for Cat Weatherill’s project ‘Unforgettable’. Letterpress printed, with templates for removable pages, and handstitched. A Massive challenge, and a joy to make.
Open for business
A bespoke OPEN sign letterpress printed for great gift shop Rawhide in Hay on Wye.
Lady Meyhem print
A very special personalised commission, complete with gold stars!
Letterpress, dementia, memory and loss
A wonderful project in a dementia care unit in Barry, which ended with my letterpress prints being part of an exhibition at Llandough Hospital Art Gallery.
Zac and the Zombeards book cover
I was commissioned by author Cat Weatherill to make the words for the cover of her new children’s book with wood type. The designer Matthew Lloyd used computer wizardry to make them into the cover design.
It was great to use three different zeds. And to see that the unique look of the wood letters is still maintained.
Digging for Slugs
This is a phrase from Daphne du Maurier, and was requested by a keen reader who likes to read of the darker and wilder side of life.
Raindrops and sunshine
A pair of prints made to hang next to each other.
I letterpress print words and ideas, and make them into prints to hang on the wall. I use lovely old wooden letters, and metal type too. Each print is made on my vintage flatbed press, and is a unique original work.
A selection of letterpress prints can be found in my Etsy shop.
A letterpress print with a collage of an iconic orange and white Penguin book cover.
One of my new series of greeting cards. I use a print, and photograph it with some lovely props.
Celebrate Everything until further notice
One of my favourite phrases. This is the latest version, in an 10 x 8 inch mount, printed in lovely emphatic red and black.
Letterpress print Perfect Days, printed with a mix of colours, and in big beautiful letters. Feeling the love!
Letterpress print Restful Nights. Companion to the Restful Days print. I love the mixture of black, purple and blue ink.
Laugh is made with some of my single orphan letters. The U is a fabulous old letter, showing it’s age and history. And I love these cheerful colours.
Yoga, because punching people is wrong is printed in the colours of the chakras for a rather beautiful look. I love that capital G.
Some rules to live by!
I wanted to make a print that looked like instructions in a Wild West Bar. Most people who look at this tell me they can manage at least two of these, but not all three.
Give me your heart, make it real
A musical ear worm gave me this print. It’s called ‘…or else forget about it’. Nothing wrong with Santana running through the mind!
You are my Sunshine
Colourful print You are my Sunshine pictured here with appropriate flowers.
Music and words
I love printing on old music paper, and here are two musical prints!
Today is going to be Amazing
I say “Today is going to be Amazing” to myself every morning, and then attempt to find whatever happens - amazing. Some days I do it more successfully than others.
Think BIG, Everything is possible
‘Think Big’ gave me the chance to use some huge wooden letters to print with. And ‘Everything is Possible’ can either be seen as very positive, or a bit menacing.
Relax, nothing is under control. A rather comforting phrase, especially printed with beautiful old wooden letters.
Mayhem & Chaos
Mayhem & Chaos is a phrase I seem to print a lot!
Doomed, I tell you
This has proved a surprisingly popular print.
Food of Love
If music be the food of love play on is printed onto old manuscript paper.
to the Moon and back
I used my pair of pointing finger printing blocks to make my version of this well-loved phrase.
This print is entitled 'in the room'...
Days of the week
It had to be printed!
Goergeous ginger cat
My ginger cat Ross, painted onto old music paper, and with a letterpress printed word, Gorgeous. I made a template for Ross, and paint each one, often with the subject sitting near me.
Metacognition is a letterpress printed word, combined with a brain printed onto a page of an old electrical circuits book. I am interested in neuroscience, and recently found myself obsessively drawing a brain. So I made it into a template for a print.
One of my prints that always makes visitors to my stall or stand smile! Go Dante's Inferno!
A real knight
If necessary I will unleash a real knight. I do like a bit of menace in a letterpress print.
until further notice
I print this phrase in lots of different ways. This is I think the most exuberant colourway.
Mayhem & Chaos
Very cheerful colours and some wonderfully different letters.
Printed with my BIG wooden letters, and gold and red ink.
I love making work in three dimensions. From tunnel poems, to accordion fold letterpress words and handmade badges.
Some tiny haiku, letterpress printed, and displayed in a tunnel. I use recycled card covered with original papers, and the poems stretch back, with the type getting smaller. You can read the haiku front to back, or back to front.
It’s a lovely way to present my beloved haiku.
Five handmade paper thistles sprouting from an old dictionary. Thepiece os called ‘Fertile Ground’.
Words of inspiration
Words of inspiration and meaning. Letterpress printed, and then folded into decorated cardboard covers, tied with string.
A paper thistle, made from pages of a King Penguin book about the Bayeux Tapestry. The thistle is mounted into the book itself. I like making literary thistles.
Here’s one of my favourite tunnel haiku. I love the blue marbled paper.
Words of love
Three folded phrases; Beautiful dream world, Our love unfolds, and Just one look and time stood still.
All is not lost
All is not lost, printed with lovely old wooden letters, and folded into recycled decorated cardboard covers, and tied with string.
A lovely alternative to putting a print into a frame.
Just one look and time stood still
Just one look and time stood still. Letterpress printed, folded into recycled cardboard covers, and tied within decorated recycled cardboard covers.
Haiku in a matchbox
Haiku in a matchbox. This is one of a series.
Printshop and studio.
I work from home. Letterpress happens in my garden shed . My studio is in my house. And with my feline helpers, they are great spaces to work.
Lettpress print shed
Sitting in my tiny print shed. Big reminder near me to remind me to get organised!
Flatbed proof press
Here is Ross checking all is well before I print!
Magnificent LED lights all round the ceiling, and a green walking man in the window. All a poet and print maker needs!
My studio at home features an inspiring display of Russian dolls, all sitting on lovely old books, in front of a big mirror.
Poetry and Music
Some of the great music projects I have written words for.
Sea Dogs, a pirate tail
Sea Dogs, a rampaging pirate tail (correct spelling here, it's about dogs as well as pirates), written with the brilliant Gareth Wood, and commissioned by Ty Cerdd, the National Music Centre for Wales. It's a story for narrator and very loud symphonic Brass.
There have been many performances, with players and audiences all dressed as pirates and well up for it. I have narrated this piece with huge pleasure, and Gareth's music is magnificent. Argh.
The photo shows me and some young pirates, very happy at a performance at the Wales Millennium Centre.
Santa's Stressful Day
Music by Gareth Wood, and story by me. This was commissioned by the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and is a story for narrator and brass ensemble. I narrated, dressed as Mrs Santa, and the players and conductor were all in elf outfits!
The First Dragon
The First Dragon, a story of mine, with the most beautiful music by Mervyn Burtch. Commissioned in 1999 by Adrian Partington, it has had many many performances, but I can't find any photos! So the picture is of a recording we made of the piece, with players from NOW and Adrian conducting.
It's for narrator and string ensemble, and was commissioned to be on the same programme as Peter and the Wolf, so uses the same players.
It's been my privilege to narrate this piece, and Mervyn's music never fails to move me, especially at the end of the story of the Frist Dragon, some foolish adults, and a very wise little girl.
Mervyn Burtch mural
Here is a beautiful mural of Mervyn Burtch, in characteristic pose at his piano. It's in Lewis School in Pengam, and was painted by his daughter in law, Gig Jones. A lovely tribute.
This Is Our Land. Royal Albert Hall
This was the most monumental piece, for a huge choir and innumerable groups of instruments. Comissioned by the Gwent Music Service, to take to the Schools Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. The rather blurry photo shows the enormous choir, dressed in a mixture of white, green and red.
There were four songs, one for each of the four elements, and my words were set to music by Chris Petrie, who displayed a wonderful confidence and vision. A truly heroic evening.
footsteps quiet in the shadows
This was a lovely piece of music written by Peter Reynolds for the Mavron Quartet. My words weren't in the music, but had formed the idea from which the music grew. I have read the poem before the piece is performed several times.
footsteps quiet in the shadows is one of the poems in my collection 'Mythical Beasts'.
For many years I looked after the medieval garden at Tretower Court and Castle. It gave me so much - a long association with the Hay Festival of Literature, with many people coming to hear my talks on Medieval Gardens, Folklore and Magic; several years giving gardening advice on Radio Wales's Jamie Owen morning show; and best of all, a chance to meet the late Geoff Hamilton, as he filmed his last series 'Paradise Gardens'.
The ultimate Medieval rose.
Although I no longer garden for money, I still love my little garden, and take pleasure and inspiration from the seasons.
I love all hostas, and this striped one is fantastic, especially with a red geranium in front!
My first, and most favourite collection of poetry is Garden Seasons. My composer friend Mervyn Burtch asked me to write poems throughout the gardening year, and as I wrote them, he made them into songs.
blossom on the bough
I read, and write, haiku, and take such joy in the cherry blossom. This is at the bottom of my little garden.
And the rest of the time...
...I ride my horse
Here we are in shadow form.
Riding down the lane
There's nothing better than watching the seasons pass as you ride down the lanes.
I love walking by the Wye. What a beautiful river.