Ruthin Craft Centre
The Centre for the Applied Arts

About Learning Projects

Learning and outreach projects form part of the core artistic programme of the gallery and are conceived in tandem with our exhibitions, residences or other craft related themes.

Here are some examples of our current and previous projects at Ruthin Craft Centre.

Learning Projects

Ruthin Art Trail

Community Project and Film

Over the course of the summer holidays leading up to Open Doors weekend in September 2015, Cherry Head Productions and Musician Henry Horrell invited young people and pupils from Ysgol Brynhyfryd to respond and take part in a series of workshops and performances at Ruthin Craft Centre, inspired by the stories from the Ruthin Art Trail Spy Holes.

The stories we looked at were, Landlocked, When Roger was a boy, Gwyllgi, Doorways, Private and Maen Hauil.

The film produced and edited by Joel Cockrill. Please click here to view the film.

Learning Projects

Forest of Pattern

Schools Project

Throughout the autumn season in 2015 we invited local primary schools in Denbighshire to work alongside Artist Eleri Jones and Ceramicist Susan O’Byrne at Ruthin Craft Centre, to explore the idea of Decoration and pattern within Craft inspired by our previous shows ‘W is for Wallpaper’ and ‘Five sisters and a family tree.’

The 8 schools involved were – Ysgol y Borthyn, Ysgol Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd, Ysgol Bro Elwern, Ysgol Bro Famau, Ysgol Pen Barras, Ysgol Carreg Emlyn, Ysgol Betws Gwerfil Goch and Ysgol Rhos Street.

Julie Arkell

‘Away’ at Ruthin Craft Centre

‘The freedom of being ‘away’ gives me a clearer access to the things I want to capture in the everyday’.  Julie Arkell 2014

The Esmée Fairbairn funding enabled us to invite Julie Arkell to do a  4 week residence here at the Centre in  October 2014 to coincide with her exhibition ‘Away’. As part of her residency  Julie Arkell worked with local Primary Schools, Raising The Bar student Groups, she led a Master-class for 11–14 year olds and a Family Drop-in event with Artist Primmy Chorley during Half-term week, not to mention the adult workshops and talks on top of that!

The programme gave us the opportunity to devise an exciting project for young people to work directly with the artist to explore and make their own inspired Julie Arkell artwork using every day domestic materials such as fabrics, wool, buttons, old paper and more.

For more information about Julie Arkell residence please click here to view the film created by Ellie Jones-Hughes former Raising the Bar project student.

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Learning Projects

Laura Ellen Bacon

at Loggerheads Country Park

As part of our ongoing Esmée Fairbairn Foundation funded programme and following the success of Laura Ellen Bacon’s large-scale willow installation ‘Inundation’ in Gallery 2 at Ruthin Craft Centre last summer, we have invited Laura back to do another site-specific project but this time in collaboration with Loggerheads Country Park.

In the exhilarating setting of Loggerheads, Laura Ellen Bacon worked with different groups of young people from Young Carers, Ysgol Maes Hyfryd, Ysgol Plas Cefndy and Loggerheads Young Rangers to build and construct large scale sculptural pieces made out of various living willow (some locally sourced by Mandy Coates from Moelfre) that can be enjoyed by the public visitors to Loggerheads for some time.

Curves, knots and the expressive properties of material itself (willow) were the main features of this project. Laura Ellen Bacon demonstrated how to connect willow strands together, using curves and knots to create voluminous, full bodied works that people can pass between and peer through and in time the willow will grow naturally and the sculptures will appear to look like boulders but curiously lightweight.

The project will conclude with a celebratory exhibition display at Ruthin Craft Centre in Studio 3 from May onwards, which documents the journey of the making and process of the sculptures at Loggerheads through film and photography created by IdleFire Productions.

Please click here to watch Laura Ellen Bacon at Loggerheads Country Park. Film created by IdleFire Productions



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Hannah Wardle

Ysgol Glan Clwyd and Peninsula Home Improvements

Ruthin Craft Centre has been working in collaboration with Peninsula Home Improvements, Anglesey to deliver a programme which explores the dynamics of design within architecture. As part of this project Year 10 Art and Design pupils from Ysgol Glan Clwyd and our Raising The Bar group (a programme established by Ruthin Craft Centre for gifted and talented AS level Art & Design and Design & Technology students within Denbighshire) have been working alongside Designer / Maker Hannah Wardle on an innovative project which explores the themes of architecture, environment and the Applied Arts.

Hannah is an architectural lighting designer with a wide experience in the Visual Arts. Her designs are based on the natural environment by using the sun/natural light as a constant dynamic light source that interacts with interesting material properties, for which she sources local materials.

These sessions have included an artist talk; workshops to create their own Laser cut installation art piece; and an off-site visit to Hannah’s studio, Ffiws and Peninsula’s design studio in Anglesey.

The artwork created during these session will be on display at Ruthin Craft Centre (Studio Space in the courtyard) in March 2015 to coincide with the main exhibition in the gallery space called Southern Lines and Northern Lights, featuring 8 young designers from Wales including Hannah Wardle’s work.

In an addition to this project Ysgol Brynhyfrd, year 10 pupils and Advanced WBQ ‘AS’ level students work will also be featured in the studio space exhibition as a result of their visit to the see the new shows in February 2015 and the workshops led by Printmaker Karen Lewis and Designer/Artist Jessica Lloyd-Jones.

The project has been made possible by the sponsorship of Peninsula Home Improvements and Arts and Business Cymru’s CultureStep investment.

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Learning Projects

Exploring ‘Materials’ but with a difference

– Arts and Business Cymru and Jones Bros

Civil Engineering company project.

This season Ruthin Craft Centre has been working in collaboration with Jones Bros. to run a project which explores areas of mutual interest within the engineering industry and the arts.

Pupils from Ysgol Brynhyfryd, Ysgol Pentrecelyn, Ysgol Penbarras and Ysgol Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd visited the Craft Centre in May for a workshop, which involved transforming the donated ‘waste’ materials from Jones Bros. into works of art, using recycled wires, plastic, raffia and cable ties to create colourful 3D sculptures with textile artist Bella Leonard.

The artwork and resources created during these sessions will be on display at the Craft Centre in our new resource space throughout the summer holidays for everyone to come and see and enjoy.

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Summer Art School

Portfolio is a course of development workshops for young artists and designers  age 14- 18 who have a have a particular interest within the visual arts; the workshop are  all based at Ruthin Craft Centre. During these sessions the artists/ makers will share their expertise, introduce new techniques and discuss your work and ideas supporting the development of your own personal portfolio towards your Art and Design studies.

For more information please contact Sioned Phillips, Education Officer at Ruthin Craft Centre. or call 01824 704774.

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Welsh Bacc – Engage Cymru Programme

Ysgol Brynhyfryd – Ruthin

As part of their Welsh Baccalaureate programme, year 10 pupils Studying  Art and Design at Ysgol Brynhyfryd had  the opportunity to work alongside leading paper artist Andy Singleton during his short residency at Ruthin Craft Centre. The group got to experiment and explore   different techniques in paper and to input their own creative ideas and designs to the main artwork. Creating a large scale paper installation, beautifully detailed and intricate, reflecting light and shadow within the space. The programme enabled the students to experience gallery life, engage with professional practitioners to develop an in-depth understanding of Contemporary Applied Arts, in support of their Welsh Baccalaureate qualification.

As part of their Advanced WBQ, a total of 114 ‘AS’ level students at Ysgol Brynhyfryd  also visited Ruthin Craft Centre in small groups to hear a lecture by Art Historian Thomas Gwyn Williams on the subject of ‘Welsh Culture, the arts and the wider context’, combined with a tour of the gallery exhibitions at the Centre.

This project was part of a North Wales-wide Welsh Baccalaureate pilot project exploring the role of galleries and artists in supporting key elements of the Welsh Bacc curriculum, initiated by engage Cymru in partnership with six local authorities in North Wales.

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Cabinet of Curiosity

The Cabinets of Curiosity Project – opening the doors to creativity through interpretation and participation.

Over 200 young people from 4 local primary and 3 secondary schools and a group from Afasic Cymru and families have been involved in this pilot project. Working with artist Mai Thomas some of the workshops have been scheduled in advanced but at other times, the studio and Education Room have been used as ‘drop in’ spaces for creativity.

Artists and members of the public were invited to respond to the theme of ‘All things Curious’ and either donated or loaned objects for the duration of the project.

The aim of the project was to enrich the participant’s experience of the exhibitions in the main gallery through the handling of objects linked to the exhibition and their themes. They were then given opportunities to explore their own creativity during workshops in a studio environment.

The project was devised and delivered by artist, researcher and qualified teacher Mai Thomas as part of her PhD studies at Glyndwr University and Sioned Phillips, Education Officer at Ruthin Craft Centre.

The project was from April – June 2014 and coincided with exhibitions of artwork by artist goldsmith Kevin Coates called ‘A Bestiary of Jewels’ and ceramicist Claire Curneen, ‘To this I give my name’.

Raising The Bar

Raising the Bar is a programme established by Ruthin Craft Centre for gifted and talented AS level Art & Design and Design & Technology students within Denbighshire.

The scheme offers a programme of additional opportunities for those showing artistic merit to enable access to high level artistic practice; promoting engagement with contemporary practitioners and access to specialist techniques in applied art and design additional to those available in schools.

The programme has been funded through an Arts Council of Wales Grant, secured by Ruthin Craft Centre which has been match funded by Denbighshire County Council and works in partnership with Manchester School of Art.

For further information please contact  Sioned Phillips, Education Officer at Ruthin Craft Centre. or call 01824 704774.

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Sean Harris

River of Time

The project allowed us to work in partnership with Loggerheads Country Park. Enabling us to create a fascinating link between a major piece of archaeological research in our area, Denbighshire County Council Countryside Service and artist Sean Harris, project funded by Cadwyn Clwyd.

The success of working in partnership resulted in producing a large scale animation event at Loggerheads Country Park inspired by The Clwydian Range’s deep past through an inclusive workshop process undertaken over a month at Ruthin Craft Centre with schools and community groups.

The event itself took place on the 27 and 28 June 2014 and attracted over 200 people. The event included:-

• Atmospheric animated images depicting our ‘lost’ megafauna and wilderness, projected onto a series of gauze screens suspended over the River Alyn.

• A ‘river’ of 1,000 flickering tea lights surrounding the projection and delineating the Alyn itself as ‘the River of Time’.

• A circular trail of interactive animated creatures housed in bird-box like ‘flip-book boxes’.

The project increased the participant’s knowledge and understanding of Contemporary Art and in a wider context underlining themes relating to the region’s environment and prehistoric story for future years. It gave the schools the opportunity to involve their pupils in an immersive project that links archaeology, anthropology and art. A creative cross curriculum project which is a valuable resource as the animation artwork created for the project can be re-useable in schools, thereby creating a rewarding project legacy resource for ongoing use.


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