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Aspects of Welsh Slate

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Manylion a Disgrifiad y Llyfr | Book Details & Description

  • ISBN: 9780863818820
  • Author: Pip Knight-Jones
  • Publication August 2004
  • Format: Paperback, 148x210 mm, 72 pages

An atmospheric collection of reproductions of watercolours and acrylic, ink, charcoal and pencil sketches portraying scenes from the ruins of the slate quarrying districts in north-west Wales mainly. 44 colour and 8 black-and-white illustrations and 4 maps.

Gwales Review
Pip Knight-Jones has a wealth of experience and talent in painting, which is presented beautifully in this neat book. Her proficiency with watercolours, acrylic and other medium shines through, with added detailed text about the Welsh quarries represented.

Abandoned areas of fascinating geographical history are captured throughout the book with diagrams to support the paintings and the geological science behind them. She makes the point that many of these quarry areas are under threat of being overgrown or altered by development. In her paintings she leaves gaps where trees would have overshadowed the detail of the quarry so that the viewer can see the whole scene of the quarry layout.

There are some stunning views as well. Her watercolour and acrylic paintings show scenes of Abereiddi Quarry in Pembrokeshire and Rosebush Quarry in the Preseli mountains with their wonderful colours and textures and their dramatic shadows and carved rock surfaces. She also captures some of the flora and fauna, as in the ‘Seaworms’ image.

Along with some older engineering drawings with sections and keys which demonstrate the mechanics of particular parts of the mines, Pip’s work defines sometimes how the quarry is today, or some section of it which still shows the ageing mechanisms and the activities which took place. ‘Keep Out, Blasting’ is one such image. Although at first it seems like a view of rocks, it becomes apparent that the different types of rocks or shapes capture a part of the work activity, e.g. as she explains, the larger rocks are from a ‘different strata’ and they are placed to keep vehicles from entering. She demonstrates in very fine ink and pencil how the layout was within the depths of the flooded pit at Gilfach Ddu.

There are stunning paintings of Dinorwig and the fields west of Marchlyn Quarry where the fencing is extensively slate posts. The text beside the images gives a proper insight into the history of the places. Particularly interesting are the rows of derelict workers’ cottages, often roofless and nestled within the alcoves of the quarry area. There are views through windows and arches and detailed works on the Dorothea pit. There is an interesting painting of the Dorothea with the part underneath the water level shown in exquisite colours which complement the view.

The drama of some of the paintings is enhanced by her use of strong colours 7#150; in ‘Incline and Path, Ffestiniog Quarry’ she also uses collage to create the marks that score the earth and hillsides. With additional information about further reading and appropriate organisations, all in all this book is artistically produced creating a good forum to learn of this artist’s work and her fascinating choice of subject matter.

Clare Maynard