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Artwork Interpretation by Jenny Willcock
Although I am not originally from Dowlais, I have lived and worked in the Valleys for 13 years at the time I produced the artwork, so I already had some knowledge of, and interest in, the social and industrial history of the area. It was interesting to me to link in with people who are from the valleys to hear their stories, and I also took inspiration from two of the group members work, who had chosen to produce artwork based on Laura Ashley’s fabric patterns and button production work.
Creating this still life honed my skills in observing the objects in front of me, before attempting to project this image onto paper - noticing the shapes, where the light is coming from and how this creates shadows on the objects.
A few months prior to creating this artwork, I had attended a fine art class locally where I learned how to create light and dark areas, using different patterns (eg dots, lines and cross hatching) closer together or further apart to create the illusion of shadows and light respectively, along side the thickness of your pen/grade of your pencil. I then used the techniques I had learned in this workshop to create this particular piece.
I wanted to juxtapose the old and the new - the old style of carrying out laundry with a modern day tea towel I had at home. As my drawing is based on a Laura Ashley print, this brings in a connection to Dowlais as well. I want people looking at my artwork to remember how the washing was done back in the 50’s if they were around at the time, or to understand how it was done if they weren’t. I also want both groups of people to appreciate how hard wash day was back then, and to not take for granted the technology we have now which makes this process some much easier.

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