Knock, Knock – Who’s there? PLUS a Giveaway!

What’s your craft background & how did you choose your shop name?

I came into craft via the fine art route. I studied art but had a very high-brow view of it – oil paintings and marble or bronze sculptures. The idea of suffering for my art didn’t appeal though and as real-life crept into the equation I found myself doing less and less. Although I painted on and off for 15 years I never really took it very seriously. Then I realised that someone might not be willing to pay the price of a one-off piece but that if I could make multiple copies then I could charge an affordable price for them. As soon as I discovered resin I was off!

Gelert by Charles Burton Barber (1845-1894)

The name Gelert Design comes from the little village of Beddgelert in Snowdonia. A beautifully inspirational place that I used to visit most weekends as a child. Gelert was the faithful dog of Prince Llywelyn in Welsh mythology. He stayed at home guarding his master’s infant son while Llywelyn went out hunting one day. When the prince returned, the place was wrecked – overturned furniture and blood all over the place. Gelert came bounding over to greet his master, his face all bloody. Llywelyn, assuming the dog had killed his son, ran Gelert through with his sword. The hound’s yelp was answered by a child’s cry. Llywelyn searched and found his son alive and well. But next to the boy was the body of a giant wolf. Llywelyn, realising his mistake and overcome with grief, buried Gelert and is said never to have smiled again. Beddgelert means Gelert’s Grave in English. This story really affected me as a child – shame it’s not true!

Are you a full time craftsperson or do you have other jobs too?

I had to quit work last summer due to health reasons. I’m not well enough to work full-time these days so I’m giving full-time craft work a go. It’s not as stressful as working for an employer and the hours I work are my own to choose. I think that with enough wholesale orders it’s feasible to make a living.

If someone wrote a biography about you, what would the title be?

Barely Bohemian – Diary of a Bedsit Philosopher. Actually, this comes from my late teen art school days. Sitting in a bedsit writing awful poetry.

What was your favourite TV programme as a kid?

Ooooh that’s easy! Bagpuss of course! I also remember being an avid viewer of the animated Wind in the Willows series and the cartoon Ulysses 31 as well as Take Hart. Although I also used to “make” my own tv shows – illustrating The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit – it was all animated in my head!

If you were to be invited to a celebrity’s house for dinner, who would it be and what gift would you take them from your shop?

It would be a toss-up between Stephen Fry and Brian, the dog in Family Guy! I think both would be fascinating conversationalists! As a gift, it would have to be the female bust. It’s my favourite item and probably the only thing classy enough for these guys.

The bust looks really alien to me! I look at the version on my wall sometimes and can hardly believe I made it! The metallic finish in juxtaposition to the softness of the female form. I have so many ideas as to where I’d like to take this style of work, but unless I find a market for the pieces they may have to remain unrealised as it’s expensive to produce.

I’m sure Stephen Fry would appreciate it.

How do you promote yourself?

Just the Folksy forums really. I always list new items on Twitter and CraftJuice, but they hardly generated any views. I have a link to my shop in the signature of my email address and on any forums I post on. That’s about it really. It’s early days for me and I don’t have the energy to promote properly and I’m not interesting enough to have a blog, so I’m thinking about places I could supply wholesale. That would suit me even though the income’s not as good as direct selling.

Someday I’ll have a website of my own, but I really just don’t have the time or the energy to put one together. It’s taken me two weeks to finish this interview after all!

If you were stuck on a desert island and were allowed to take one new crafting project with you based on something you admire in another shop, what would it be?

Woodworking would probably be a useful skill so that I could build a shelter or a raft! However, the crafting project I’d really like to try is stained glass. Amyorangejuice’s landscape panels are elegantly simple and really calming. I’d like to have a go at something like that on my desert island. The expanse of sand, sea, and sky would be quite a simple beginners project.

What couldn’t you do without?

Pub quizzes, being Welsh, sweet tea, cigarettes (unfortunately), and the support of my wonderful partner Eva. I sometimes think she believes in me more than I do! She probably sells most of my stuff offline too because she’s a good talker. Oh my can she talk!

What’s your favourite or most inspirational place?

The drive from Porthmadoc through Beddgelert and then up the Llanberis Pass to Dolbadarn Castle does it for me. You start off with a stunning view of Cnicht, a mountain with a PROPER mountain shape, then drive slowly uphill with woody cliffs on your left. To the right is a drop into the Glaslyn river valley with the mountains of Snowdonia behind.

Just before you reach Beddgelert there’s the little bridge at Aberglaslyn which is just fabulous! The foaming river cutting through the rocks. It’s a scene that makes me think I must be in Switzerland or someplace. When you finally arrive at Pen-Y-Pass and start the descent into the village of Llanberis along the Llanberis Pass, you start believing in dragons! The roadside is littered with giant boulders. The mist covers the crags on both sides. It’s a little bit eerie and you feel so very small and insignificant there. It’s easy to slip into history and mythology there I can tell you!

Finally you see the ruined tower of Dolbadarn Castle before you. It’s so small and simple compared to the impressive castles of Edward I in North Wales, and it’s location couldn’t be finer.

Cnicht

Dolbadarn

I’m obviously inspired by this route as I’ve painted Cnicht and I’ve painted Dolbadarn many many times.  Turner painted Dolbadarn too, so I’m not the only one to find inspiration there.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? That I should do something with my ability. Apparently I have a talent and I should use it.

What question would you like to ask yourself? And then answer if you can! No idea really. Sorry! I’ve asked myself pretty much everything, and as anyone will tell you, I’ve got an answer for everything 🙂

******************************************

THANK YOU Dave for taking part in The Sock Garden Q&A and sharing your artistic beginnings with us. I love the Gelert story, it’s quite sad!

And now for…

These hand carved 4-hole buttons measure 20mm and are made from metal powders suspended in resin so are incredibly lightweight.
For a chance to win a set of 6 buttons in your preferred metal powder, all you have to do is:
  1. Leave Dave a feedback comment here about his shop Gelert Design
  2. For a 2nd entry, become a Gelert facebook fan
The closing date to get your comments in is midday 10th April.
The winner will be randomly selected and contacted by Dave
GOOD LUCK!

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15 Responses to “Knock, Knock – Who’s there? PLUS a Giveaway!”


  1. 1 Emma 31/03/2010 at 7:38 pm

    Have just become a fan on FB, and as I said on there, I love the celtic designs you incorporate, I suppose being a good Welsh girl I would!

  2. 2 SparrowPrimitives 31/03/2010 at 8:34 pm

    Would love to win these buttons, Dave. Being a fellow Celt, I have always liked the Celtic designs 🙂

  3. 3 susie morrow 01/04/2010 at 10:11 am

    Dave, I;ve been watching you since you first popped up on Folksy and I have always though what you do is unique, highly skilled and beautifully done. Good luck to you in your new crafty career

  4. 4 jenny 01/04/2010 at 10:17 am

    I love the Mackintosh/stained glass style brooches in Dave’s shop. Loved the interview, I had been wondering if you were named after the story of Beddgelert! Beddgelert is one of my favourite places & our plan is to live somewhere in that area one day soon 😀

  5. 5 amyorangejuice 01/04/2010 at 5:04 pm

    What a fantastic knock knock, 2 of my favourite folksy folk in one blog! Thanks for the mention Dave, I would be rubbish on a desert island, but I am sure we would have fun x

  6. 6 averilpam 01/04/2010 at 8:36 pm

    I love the Celtic designs, Dave – many years ago (in my hippie days – showing my age) I used to sit and endlessly draw Celtic knot patterns,
    I’m sure I could find a good use for some copper finish buttons,
    pam

  7. 7 naomi lock 01/04/2010 at 8:59 pm

    I also love Celtic designs and especially your wall plaques in your shop. I have just become a fan and would love to win your buttons!!

  8. 8 Vintagemilly 03/04/2010 at 6:17 pm

    OOOh it is great reading about everyone else in your blog, I love Gelert Design and as I am Welsh I can too truly appreciate the wonderful scenery that has been spoken about here – just makes me want to go on holiday there right now – well if the sun would hurry up making an appearance I definately would.
    Em.x

  9. 9 silkhandicrafts 04/04/2010 at 3:37 am

    I love Celtic designs and especially your wall plaques in your shop

  10. 10 Mrsfabicons 08/04/2010 at 10:12 am

    What an amazing range of very desirable items, each more covetable than the one before! I do love the rose brooches and the buttons too.
    I think you should try to pursue the stained glass idea, your lovely paintings would translate so well into glass.

    best wishes and thanks for the competition!

  11. 11 Margaret Woods 10/04/2010 at 9:15 am

    Love your shop, and yes, I’d like to win the buttons. They’d look really nice on the front of one of my handmade books. I might just buy some anyway or shall I get some resin? No, I’ll leave that in your capable hands.

  12. 12 cakes knits and cosies 10/04/2010 at 11:05 am

    I think your work is extremely professional. I would look great in an art gallery. I like your pieces, especially your wall art and your mackinstosh brooches (and of course the buttons). What I like best about your shop is that you have lots of different price levels – something for everyone. I’d love to win the buttons, if not I might just buy some. Lynne xx

  13. 13 belleandthebean 10/04/2010 at 11:22 am

    Your female bust is amazing – just beautiful. I’m a big fan of the Celtic clock too.

  14. 14 nicola 10/04/2010 at 11:49 am

    Wow what an amazing bust! 🙂 Good luck with the full time craft work from the quality of your things it wont be long till you have made your 1st million


  1. 1 Tweets that mention Knock, Knock – Who’s there? PLUS a Giveaway! « The sock garden -- Topsy.com Trackback on 01/04/2010 at 1:48 pm

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