Press Releases 2014-2015

UWTSD Graduate Wins Eisteddfod Gold Medal

03.08.2015

Rhian Hâf A glass artist, and University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) graduate, who formed an innovative partnership with a north Wales technology business, has won the Gold Medal for Craft and Design at this year’s National Eisteddfod.

Darn o gasgliad Rhian Cipio Eiliadau Rhian Hâf, 37, from Gwytherin near Abergele, studied Design and Applied Arts at Edinburgh College of Art. Specialising in glass, she then went on to get a Distinction in her Masters at UWTSD (then Swansea Metropolitan University) in 2011 and has spent the last five years developing her practice and creating installations and sculptures in glass.

She was presented with the Gold Medal at the National Eisteddfod in Meifod on Saturday 1 August. She also received a cheque for £5,000 after beating off competition from a strong and diverse field of competitors.

After receiving a production grant from the Arts Council for Wales, Rhian set about creating a new collection of glass work that took almost two years to complete. Dividing her time between Edinburgh School of Art and Ruthin Craft Centre in north Wales where she was ‘artist in residence’, Ms Haf eventually joined forces with St Asaph-based precision optics manufacturer, Phoenix Optical Technologies and used some of its specialist equipment to complete the collection called Cipio Eiliadau (Captured Moments).

After completing the work, Rhian went back to Pheonix and worked with employees on a community outreach, where children and older people were given the opportunity to understand and use glass in a creative way.

“Cipio Eiliadau (Captured Moments) is a very subtle idea created with glass blocks housed in twelve beautifully polished wooden boxes, which refract the light that falls on the box and sends it as beams of light and shadow,” explains award assessor Elaine Marshall. “As light enters the glass blocks at a different angle, it creates a subtle difference between the beams of light and the shadows in each box. The effect is quite mesmerising and encourages the viewer to look at the extraordinary subtlety of the interplay between light and shadow.”

Rhian Hâf said: “It is fantastic to receive this recognition from the National Eisteddfod at such an early stage of my career and I owe a huge amount of thanks to everyone who worked with me to make this collection possible.

“My interest in glass draws on its properties and the material’s ability to capture, transmit and reflect light. I create installations and sculptural works, portraying a thread of constant themes; absence, presence, movement and perception. The focus of my practice consists of capturing the differing effects of light and shadow and it is pleasing that the assessors felt that this truly achieved within Captured Moments.”

Robyn Tomos, National Eisteddfod of Wales Visual Arts Officer, said: “The award selectors were hugely impressed with the work of Rhian Hâf and a special room has been created within the exhibition to show off what one assessor describes as the ‘beating heart’ of the Visual Arts Pavilion.

Captured Moments was recently selected for New Glass Review 36 (published by the Corning Museum of Glass in New York State, USA) and has just received a touring grant from the Arts Council for Wales that will see the collection visit Ruthin Arts Centre, the Mission Gallery in Swansea and a Cardiff venue (to be announced) from November 2015.

Earlier this year, Ms Haf was also awarded funding by the Arts Council for Wales to create several new pieces for an exhibition at the National Glass Centre, part of the University of Sunderland. Light Perceptions is on display at the National Glass Centre’s Long Gallery until the 4th October 2015.

Further Information

For more information please contact Steven Stokes, Principal Corporate Communications and PR Officer, on 01792 483695 / 07872 423788 or email steven.stokes@uwtsd.ac.uk.