Beasts of the Mabinogion

A collaboration with textile artist Helly Powell led to the creation of a beautiful new collection “The Beasts of the Mabinogion” breathing life into the native wildlife of an ancient mystical Welsh landscape. As Helly was using the cloth woven at Melin Tregwynt in the creation of these sculptures, the mill was the natural starting point to exhibiting them in celebration of the national ‘Year Of Legends’. The exhibition based on Rhiannon’s horse, the boar hunt and the stag hunt, alongside smaller pieces, could be viewed daily here at Melin Tregwynt on the beautiful Pembrokeshire coast between 26th March and 5th May 2017.

In celebration of the national ‘Year Of Legends’, the exhibition started with the exhibition at Melin Tregwynt and then went to Crickhowell’s oriel CRiC gallery to create a new collection, “The Beasts of the Mabinogion”,

"Helly Powell’s ‘Fauxidermy’ sculptures are simply beautiful to look at. Her work appears so life-like that each animal could have just stepped out of the Welsh landscape. This combined with the subtle mix of selected fabrics she has used gives each piece a magical quality. We’re pleased that our fabrics provided inspiration for these majestic creatures, and are excited to be one of the venues for this touring exhibition."

Eifion Griffiths (owner of Melin Tregwynt) 



The early Welsh collection of tales from which the Mabinogion takes its name has been passed down by word of mouth by the early Welsh bards. It has given rise to a timeless literary heritage and continues to inspire artists. It is this heritage which lies behind Helly Powell’s inspiration to create the “Beasts of the Mabinogion” exhibition.

" We are delighted to be involved in this project which showcases the tradition of weaving kept alive at the Mill alongside the creative use of the textiles by Helly who has been inspired by the early Welsh collection of tales from which the Mabinogion takes its name. Visitors to the Mill will be able to see sculptures based on Rhiannon’s horse, the boar hunt and the stag hunt, alongside smaller pieces. Combining a visit to the working mill, with an opportunity to see this unique exhibition and explore the Pembrokeshire National Park with its spectacular beaches, cliffs and coastal footpaths all within five minutes easy walk from the Mill, are the ingredients of a wonderful experience."

Suzette Pratten (from the oriel CRiC gallery, Crickhowell)



Helly had also invited jeweller Kathryn Willis, artist Robert Macdonald and printer Sarah Lane from Penrhos Printing Press to a collaboration by creating work which complements and enriches the exhibition.

Kathryn Willis’s vitreous enamelled jewellery explores colour, pattern and mark making. Her current work investigates the textile industry of Wales making her a natural choice to create pieces which add a dynamic extra dimension to the sculptures depicting Rhiannon’s Horse and the Boar Hunt. Her jewellery is also on sale in the Melin Tregwynt millshop.

Robert Macdonald is an author, painter and printmaker known for his landscapes of the Usk Valley and the Brecon Beacons, and his pictures of the farming life and legends of the area.

Robert creates works that embrace legend and myth with a unique vibrancy. In this exhibition he has taken his inspiration from the text of the Mabinogion on which Helly Powell has based the sculptures.

The exhibition celebrates a rich heritage and tradition of craftsmanship and creativity. Artisan Letterpress Printer and Printmaker Sarah Lane creates beautifully crafted stationery at Penrhos Press in rural Herefordshire. Her skill is evident in the crafting of a printed version of those quotations from the Mabinogion which have led to this exhibition.