Ruthin Craft Centre
The Centre for the Applied Arts


Gallery 3

Liz Ellis …from a dark place

24 July – 18 September 2021

From a dark place takes you from a deep black bog to the liberty of flight. Multiple narrative threads encompassing Greek myths; Iron Age bodies; star constellations; archaeology; British folk tales; contemporary novels; poetry; nature; conservation and climate change are woven together through place, time and form, linking not only past and future but also the maker and life. Liz Ellis’ childhood landscape of play was Lindow Moss, a bedraggled boggy wilderness that had been common land since medieval times; its name derived from llyn du, Welsh for black lake.

Watching over is a plethora of birds. Busy, chattering and life affirming they exist in their own worlds but are very much part of ours as living representations and symbols of hope and strength. In Celtic mythology birds act as moderators between the divine and mortals, becoming spiritual guardians or allies and helpers. In the Mabinogion humans and animals can shape-shift into feathered creatures that can fly, while for R S Thomas in his poem The Ancients of the World, nothing is as old as the “owl of Cwm Cowlyd”.

Treasure hunting magpies, vigilant cormorants, crawking crows, gossiping jackdaws and wise, watchful owls have no boundaries and know no borders. The ordinary and unordinary happily coexist here, meticulously crafted but given freedom to move from a dark place to light and to life.

Nia Roberts