Helfa Gelf


Catherine Bailey

  • Textiles


For Helfa Gelf there will be two parts to the studio. Access is via our drive/ track and garden to a small wooden cabin for display of work.  The first floor in the house is where the work space is. Tea, coffee and cake will be in constant supply.

Directions to studio

From Denbigh take road to Henllan. In Henllan go past the Llindir Inn ( with it on your left) downhill taking the road to Llansannan. After approx 4 miles you reach Bryn Rhyd Yr Arian. At the village sign (on you left) take the hairpin righthand turn, signposted to Llannefydd. Approx half a mile along the lane we are the first house on the left. Parking area will be highlighted.

From Abergele - follow the road to Llanfairtalhaiarn. Turn Left before the road bends sharply to the right (signposted Llansannan). Follow the road ahead to the very top of the hill where there is a crossroads of single track lanes. There is a  single lane on the left signposted 'Allt Ddu' -  take the turn and follow this road (very steep, winding and spectacular) until you come to a junction at the very bottom - then turn left  - go over the bridge onto the next junction - turn left - then take the first left signposted to Llannefydd. Approx half a mile along the lane we are the first house on the left. Parking area will be highlighted.

Studio information

Family friendly Wheelchair friendly Parking nearby Toilet access Welsh Speaker Work for sale Price range £20 - £300 Commissions accepted

Contact & address Details

Felin Isa



Conwy LL165HD


Studio Opening Times

September 2018 Times:
Opening Times: 11am - 5pm
  • 7th
  • 8th
  • 9th
  • 14th
  • 15th
  • 16th
  • 21st
  • 22nd
  • 23rd
  • 28th
  • 29th
  • 30th
    Late Friday Opening Days:
    Opening Times: 7pm - 9pm
  • 7th
  • 14th
  • 21st
  • 28th

 'Hanging by a thread' has an interesting meaning. A precarious position. A sense of insecurity. A serious situation, meaning failing at something important resulting in a bad outcome, or being close to death.

 Search online for 'a single thread' and you'll happen upon a Michelin starred restaurant, or computer programming. You may be lucky and find references to threads of commonality, maybe the thread of a conversation or  book. Thread in its practical application is extremely strong, and metaphorically has infinite applications.

 The use of thread in my work secures the appliqué, adds definition and outlines form, creating whimsical art pieces. I love the dramatic effects of black thread and using freehand machine embroidery allows me to draw with the thread. I do not strive for perfection and regularly find myself halting the process when I feel my default setting of making it 'right' creeping in.

 I sometimes colour with paint on fabric, I overlay with fabric with fabric, I sometimes draw with only black thread. I sometimes use only straight stitch employing an energetic rapid freehand machine embroidery method, creating overlaying colours and textures. I enjoy immersing myself in the freedom of speed of 1600 stitches a minute and the energy of the process. I use only discarded fabrics and frames, wherever possible. My resources and materials dictate the finished article ultimately. Reducing the amount that goes to landfill in my own tiny way.

 I find the practical use of thread, which culminates in creating so much that we rely upon every day increasingly interesting. I am drawn more and more to the everyday uses of thread and seeing the practical as beautiful, skilful, creative and artistic.

 The early processes of weaving, knitting and stitching, whether cotton, silk, wool, flax, willow and rush is increasingly fascinating. Historically these were the processes which created a 'thread' within communities. Whether making baskets, rugs, blankets, jumpers or fabric to create cloth/clothing, sails and boats. Whether making fishing nets or laying and weaving boundaries. A practical application of a common and similar methods using a variety of materials. It kept people safe and secure, provided warmth, and helped protect harvests and livestock, catch fish, carry and preserve supplies.

I have a desire to begin a more organic approach within my work. I aim to go back to the basic art form of growing, harvesting, processing then creating.

My new and developing ideas centre around the growing and processing of my own flax. The first crop will be harvested in August. Using the raw material and employing a more organic basis from which to develop my work is very exciting...

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