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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Beacon Bits -- Magical Moments

One of my favorite Sunday afternoons in July was spent visiting Gwenno James in her Beacon studio at 17 East Main Street (formerly known as Fabrications), which features her one-of-a-kind fashion and silk and cotton fabric creations to wear and for the home. It was an enchanting visit that was full of colorful visual delights made even more enjoyable because Gwenno is as lovely as her name sounds and as beautiful as her lilting Welsh dialect. The only thing missing was a spot of tea, a plate of Welsh cakes and Caerphilly!
 
 
Gwenno was born in Aberystwyth, Wales, a university town located mid-Wales on the Western coast, which has an electric railway that travels to the summit of the hills overlooking the bay (reminiscent of our own Mt. Beacon Incline Railway!) Having been to Wales in 2004, including an overnight stay in Aberystwyth, Gwenno graciously indulged my need to share my travel photos that I loving put together in a compact album. Wales (Cymru) is a magical country of castles and natural wonders from north to south that may not be a popular travel destination, but for those who have had the pleasure, the joy of sharing the experience is a time of revelry by revisiting the wonders of it all, without needing to pronounce the odd combinations of consonants that culminate in new sounds! Who knew that Llandudno was pronounced 'klandidno'. (I will admit that I've harbored the fantasy that we would have world peace if everyone in the world had to learn how to speak Welsh!)
 
Gwenno left Wales to study art in London and then on to NYC, but found her way up into the Hudson Valley, as one might suspect, given her upbringing in a most natural and lovely environment. While she teaches in New York, her heart is in her Beacon studio where she deftly defines color and shape into delicately hand-dyed fabric creations to wear -- scarves, vests, shawls -- and to adorn the home -- lampshades , pillows and wall hangings. Gwenno's couture clients have included Henri Bendel's, Victoria's Secret and West Elm.

Gwenno's color sense and practical craftsmanship for wearable works of art can work into any woman's wardrobe or home d├ęcor. She is open to collaboration with any customer for a unique and customized order that will accessorize or complement an existing wardrobe. Gwenno devotes all of her time now in Beacon fabricating her creations rather than organizing workshops for those who wanted to learn silk screening and marbling techniques. While I only wish I had been a participant, I think I will leave the art and craft of these fabric prints to the Gwenno's skillful eye that brings a bit of Wales to us in Beacon!

 
Some food for thought: Personal authenticity is a wonderful state of being. When you find yourself in the company of someone who is doing what they love, love what they are doing, and are very good at doing it, it is a blessing. We all strive to become who we were meant to be or to find where it is that we should be.  Not all of us travel great distances to do our life's work. It takes courage and heart to move miles away from home to live into one's destiny. And we are the better for it when we cross paths with someone who has done just that. Especially when we can share magical moments together. Thank you Gwenno!
 
We'll Keep a Welcome
 
Far away a voice is calling
Bells of memory chime
Come home again,come home again
They call through the oceans of time

We'll keep a welcome in the hillside
We'll keep a welcome in the Vales
This land you knew will still be singing
When you come home again to Wales

This land of song will keep a welcome
And with a love that never fails
We'll kiss away each hour of hiraeth
When you come home again to Wales

 We'll keep a welcome in the hillside
We'll keep a welcome in the Vales
This land you knew will still be singing
When you come home again to Wales

  This land of song will keep a welcome
And with a love that never fails
We'll kiss away each hour of hiraeth
When you come home again to Wales

We'll kiss away each hour of hiraeth
When you come home again to Wales.
Lyrics from <a href="http://www.elyrics.net">eLyrics.net</a>
 


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