ref: bTo Oct 8-Nov 7 2014 FUTURES GALLERY Margaret Berry - Open a 'pdf' of this press release - return to Galleries PR Index



Sponsored by Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas AM

8th October to 7th November, everyday 10.30-4.30pm

“Draig” the ten-foot flying dragon has been

sleeping in a box since Margaret Berry’s

popular 2011 show in Mid-Wales at Cywain, Y

Bala and is on display until Novmber 7th. Draig

is in good company with a King, a Prince and

other characters drawn from 1500 years of

welsh history. Margaret specialises in

suspended sculptures and her chosen medium

is ceramic. The sculptures are all part lifelike,

part abstract.

“Emblems of Wales” was purposefully created

to fit the Welsh Assembly’s Pierhead building.

Margaret has created a set of six large

suspended sculptures to complement the

dragon on a theme of “representing Wales and

its People”.

Each of the historical, legendary famous characters is emblematic of Wales and each

sculpture is emblematic of the properties necessary to represent its people. The display

lasts for four weeks in the Futures Gallery upstairs at the Pierhead with full disabled

access. It continues until 7th November. Open daily, 10.30-4.30pm.


Each sculpture is slightly larger than life-sized at about 2m standing height or more.

Taliesin (500-542) “Poetic Inspiration”

The mythological and historical bard Taliesin composes

poetry in the company of his former changeling self: a fish, a

hare, a bird and a grain of corn.

Intentions, plans and method cannot be communicated

effectively without linguistic skill. Poetic inspiration both

captivates and motivates and is another piece of the jigsaw

of representing Wales and its


This magical character of Welsh

legend and history blows

alphabetical letters into the air, the letters assuming greater

clarity as they leave his creative hands. The colours and textures

are delicate yet powerful and based on nature as his legendary

self was born from a potion of gathered plants.

Hywel Dda (880-950) “Control”

Crowned Hywel Dda balances on a fulcrum, the spine

of an open book representing his book of law and a

sample of its Latin text aids his balance.

Unifying King Hywel Dda created consistency and

predictability by collating the many and various laws of

the Welsh counties and sought to produce a single set of

clear, consistent legal boundaries. These rules generated

confidence through trust.

Representation of Wales and its People requires a clear

and consistent set of ethical rules. Hywel Dda’s palette

and costume are derived from the book of his laws

recently bought by the National Library of Wales.

Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (1223-1282) “Independence”

An eight-foot tall skydiver plunges through the air yet delicately holds a key.

Royal through a right of birth, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd represents independence, strength

and vigour. He is so free and independent he doesn’t even need wings to fly and he holds

the universal key. Each and every person that is democratically represented should be

empowered through liberty.

His palette is selected from his heraldic colours and frescos painted during this period; his

long fingers are in the style of thirteenth century illustrations. His skin is inscribed with

the opening lines of “Marwnad Llywelyn yr Ail” gan Gruffudd ab yr Ynad Coch, bard to

the Welsh Court.

Owain Glyndwr (1354-1416) “Land Ownership”

A pensive armour-clad Owain Glyndwr considers stones

gathered from the varied and beautiful landscapes of the

Welsh counties.

Owain Glyndwr’s warring began in a dispute over land

ownership. This man of books found no justice in paper and

resorted to the sword. The sculpture considers the emotive

effects of land ownership. It is an implicit foundation of

representing Wales and its People.

Owain Glyndwr’s seal marks the ground he kneels upon,

golden and in his heraldic colours.

Robert Owen (1771-1858) “Social Principles”

Robert Owen, a mill owner and founder of the co-operative

movement is sat cross-legged, his shoes removed.

It is impossible to represent a People without a sound set of

moral principles. The represented people require ethical rules that

facilitate the progression of the individual to achieve self-

actualisation in a common goal.

Robert Owen noticed and addressed the imbalance of power. He

is depicted in period costume, cross-legged, shoes off, engaged in

debate, listening and discussing. His bust and muted palette are

derived from photographic and painted portraits.

Bryn Terfel (1965-) “Voice”

This larger than life Bryn Terfel soars in flight, his

wings outstretched.

The most effective communication is word of mouth

and communication is required to understand people’s

needs and problems. Communication is also needed to

propose, debate and improve suggested solutions. It is a

balance of talking and listening.

Bryn Terfel is depicted as the majestic yet agile kite so

common in the Welsh sky the bird’s whistle echoing in

the clear mountain air. This world-renowned singer is

an attentive listener yet his voice carries to many.


The symbol of Wales, its origin lost in the dragon’s breath of time.

The ten-foot part running, part flying dragon is red on the inside representing its spirit,

assuming character is more important than outward appearance. Additionally:

There are miniature red dragons along the

length of its spine.

Tongue symbols run the length of the spine

below the miniature dragons. These are the symbol of

the Welsh Language Society.

The wings are in the colours of the Welsh

National flag: red, green and white, again adopting

the tongue pattern.

Draig" is inscribed in the back of the dragon's


Dragon was developed through eighteen months of drawings, prototypes and other studies

including two months of sculpting and a week to suspend it.


Margaret created her first suspended sculpture in 2005 winning Best of

Show with “Aspects of Love”. Her next suspended piece was sold to

hoteliers in Oberderdingen, Germany forming a centrepiece to the wooden

spiral staircase in their grand entrance hall. She also makes large sectioned

sculptures; Unicorn is the size of a small pony.

Margaret was born a five-minute walk from London’s Fulham Pottery into a loving

family and was encouraged to enjoy the arts. She learnt to draw with Salvidor Dali prints

on the wall, a piano in the lounge, “Love” on the record player and experiences of classic

painting and sculpture in some of London’s most prestigious galleries and museums.

At 16, she made two jointed suspended puppets - a second taste of her future. In the first

year of A’ level, she sculpted a clay head as an Italian bust frustratingly disposed of in the

school skip. At that time Margaret lacked confidence in her work and after the A’ level

course she stopped drawing.

She experimented with career paths from pea picker to administrator before completing a

Sheffield computing degree when she won the Freshgate Trust Award. “I loved the study

but loathed working in the IT arena. In retrospect I had some truly wonderful jobs but

they simply weren’t right for me” she says.

At night, after her day in the city, she would often look through the

Road Atlas of Great Britain and think of what might be. She had

assumed it was the job that was at fault but three fantastic IT jobs

later, drove to Machynlleth, Mid-Wales for the weekend. The next

day she rented an isolated stone cottage and resigned on the

Monday. Less than four months later she had found a six-week

drawing course and discovered that she could draw but her head

ruled that she stay with the sciences: she considered intelligent

prosthetic limb design but reflected that such a career would lead

back to a city life; in 2003 she was miserable as she qualified with


In 2005, she completed the exceptional Foundation Art

course at Coleg Menai in Bangor with full distinctions and

tremendous certainty that clay was the way forward. She

won an award with a suspended sculpture in 2005 and

bought her electric kiln a year later. She then finished

renovating her period cottage and started trading as a

sculptor in April 2009.

Ever since she was at school, people have asked

Margaret what she does for a living often adding

that they had thought her to be an artist… ……...

Margaret’s work is mostly sourced from Welsh

poetry, myths and legends adopting patterns and

textures found in nature.. ……...…………….

“I drove to

Wales on a

Friday, the next

day rented an

isolated stone

cottage and

resigned on the


“I listen to my heart when

I make decisions now and

I’m a lot happier. I like to

work with clay everyday

and miss it, even pine for

it when I don’t.”