Modes goes to Machynlleth!
Posted on Feb 19, 2018
Modes are always pleased to deliver training sessions to our clients – and last month, Nick was delighted to travel to the Welsh market town of Machynlleth to pass on his Modes wisdom to a group of Modes users in the impressive surroundings of MOMA Machynlleth – a complex for the arts, incorporating The Tabernacle, The Ellis Building and The Owen Owen Gallery.
Pictured: Nick delivers Modes training in MOMA Machynlleth. Behind him is the central panel of the Taliesin Mosaic created by Martin Cheek in 1996.
The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) Machynlleth had modest beginnings over thirty years ago with the opening of Y Tabernacl, a centre for performing arts within a renovated former Wesleyan Chapel. Former journalist and businessman Andrew Lambert bought the Tabernacle in 1984 and set up a charitable trust – The Machynlleth Tabernacle Trust. After much hard work to renovate and restore the building, Y Tabernacl opened its doors on 11th October 1986.
Today, the interior of the building boasts lovingly restored pews which can accommodate 350 people and demonstrates superb acoustics in the auditorium – making it an excellent venue for musical performances, conferences and lectures. The vibrant Machynlleth Festival is held in the auditorium every August, with a diverse range of performances from jazz to poetry readings.
Pictured: The exterior of the Tabernacle (Picture courtesy of Robert Price)
The Tabernacle Trust also bought Harvey House, a former grocer’s shop on the main road and after several years of fundraising this was reborn as The Ellis Building, named after Thomas Ellis, a Welsh politician and leader of Cymru Fydd, who was fervently interested in promoting Welsh identity and who called for chapels to be used for cultural purposes as well as religious ones. Eventually transformed into an impressive art gallery -The Ellis Building was able to present its first art exhibition in May 1992.
Today, the building shows stunning displays of contemporary Welsh art. The Tabernacle Trust has gradually acquired a permanent collection of modern Welsh art dating from around 1900 onwards.
Pictured: A selection of works on display in the gallery.
With a generous £100,00 donation in 1992 from the Trustees of the Foundation for Sports and Arts in Liverpool, and funding from the Welsh Office Rural Initiative and the European Regional Development Fund, a building designed by David Thomas which linked up The Auditorium, the freestanding Green Room and the Ellis building was completed, and the Owen Owen Gallery was opened in 1994.
The gallery is currently home to ‘Flock’ a display of 300 steel ‘birds’ by Philippa Robbins, a London born artist who now lives and works in Wales. This is the largest installation she has attempted to date. Each one of these ‘birds’ is subtly distinct – depending on the previous use of the steel and the difference in weathering of the base blocks. The installation examines the themes of metamorphosis and the urban landscape. The ‘Flock’ is overwintering in the Owen Owen gallery until March 2nd.
Pictured: ‘Flock’ by Philippa Robbins.
In the Sculpture Space at MOMA Machynlleth is an impressive sculpture installation entitled ‘Weather’ by internationally renowned sculptor and former Turner Prize winner Richard Deacon.
Pictured: ‘Mire’ and ‘Under the Weather 2’
The three pieces which comprise ‘Weather’ are made from multiple twisted bundles of steamed wood. ‘Under the Weather 2’ and ‘Under the Weather 3’ are tall, fluid structures which - for the artist himself - calls to mind rainfall and drifting clouds. However, the titles of the pieces seem designed to promote ambiguity of meaning. ‘Mire’ can also be seen to have multiple strands of meaning – the physical ‘mire’ as well as the emotional ‘mire of despair or confusion.’ The viewer is invited to bring their own meaning to the works.
MOMA Machynlleth continues to look to the future. The Machynlleth Tabernacle Trust has purchased the building across the alleyway from MOMA Machynlleth in order to convert the ground floor into a dedicated, secure storage space for the growing Tabernacle Collection of art works. The Trust is also raising funds for ‘The Glasfryn Project’ to enable them to look after the Collection both digitally and physically.
Raymond Wynne Jones, Administrator of MOMA Machynlleth told Modes:
“Our aim is always to have works from the Collection on view and this is something we hope to strengthen in the future. Modes has been the perfect solution to our Accreditation requirements.”
- Exhibitions in the next few months include, Pete Monaghan: 24 February to 28 April. This exhibition of paintings is based around coastal structures that are potentially affected by climate change.
- Kate Pasvol: 24 February to 28 April. Kate has returned to her family roots in this exhibition of landscapes in glass. Her work, made of single and multiple glass blocks containing three dimensional images, reflects the wonderful Welsh landscape.
- Clive Hick-Jenkins: 17 March to 23 June. This exhibition celebrates the completion of Clive Hicks-Jenkins’ fourteen-print series based on Simon Armitage’s2007 translation of the medieval poem, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
Modes thoroughly recommends a trip to see what MOMA Machynlleth has to offer. We feel it’s a tremendous asset both to the local community – and to Welsh art and performance.
Pictured: The Tannery Gallery
Modes was pleased that the training session conducted by Nick at MOMA Machynlleth was so well received by the attendees:
Meryl Pugh from Porthmadog Maritime Museum – a new user with little knowledge of Modes, found the most useful aspect about the training course to be “Clear instructions and hands-on use of Modes” - and when asked could anything be done differently answered “no, all great” and she felt she had had a “very enjoyable day.”
John Evans from Newtown Textile Museum scored the course 10/10 in all 5 assessed areas on our after-course questionnaire. He felt the course achieved its aim, met his expectations about it, matched his level of knowledge and experience; and he felt he had gained skills having attended it. Top marks were also awarded for enjoyment and inspiration.
John found the most useful aspect of the course was “getting to know the system – having not used Modes before” and described the training day overall as “well-paced, relaxed and non-threating.”
Modes are happy to deliver any of our courses at your site – we can also tailor bespoke courses to meet your specific requirements. Our on-site courses are designed for a maximum of 12 delegates. A list of our prices is available on the Modes website.
Book your training session with our Modes team now:
Contact: Diane on 01332 742552 or
Don’t forget! Keep sending in pictures of your favourite museum objects and we will feature them in forthcoming newsletters in our “Favourite Things” section.