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Meet The Tutors

There are more than twenty five tutors that work with the Big Skill, many with their own businesses. They all have a lot of experience in their chosen field, but more importantly experience of working with people. Whether they are working with members of the public that are trying something for the first time, or with one of the more vulnerable groups we work with, our tutors work hard to boost confidence and get the best out of participants so they leave feeling better than they came. Having this wonderful array of skills enables us to offer a wide range of workshops to suit all ages & abilities. Please see the list of potential workshops on the ‘What we offer’ page.

BRIDGET MORGAN
BRIDGET’S SCRAP BAG

Bridget Morgan , Bridget's Scrap Bag

I trained as a primary school teacher and after a number of years supply teaching, I was asked to take some Family Learning classes. I have always enjoyed ‘making things’ and found this a useful tool when explaining literacy and numeracy skills to parents and children together. That then led me into Community Education Craft classes. Budgets in this sector were always pretty tight, so I began to be creative with upcycled materials. I now love using and teaching techniques where beautiful things are made from items that might otherwise have been thrown away. My favourite being the traditional craft of rag rugging which translates so well to today, using modern textiles and being used to make much more than just rugs.

KARIN MEAR
THE WELSH HAT

Karin Mear, The Welsh Hat

Karin lives and works in the South Wales Valleys town of Aberdare. She paints with acrylics and watercolours and also uses collage and recycled objects in her work. Karin produces printed cards using her artwork and these can be found in galleries and in her Etsy shop.

Shes teaches in person and online painting workshops

for all abilities in painting, pen and wash, Collage Art from

recycling materials and Children’s crafts

She also sells original art, digital prins and greeting cards

ADELE NOZEDAR
BRECON BEACONS FORAGING

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I offer half-day courses, running during the week and at weekends, including forage and refreshments. Half-day courses for kids during the holidays, including refreshments

Once-a-month half-day courses, 'Wild Wednesday!’

Botanical Gin Workshops, including 300ml of your very own unique blend, a cocktail, nibbles, and more

Forage From Your Garden; become familiar with the plants closest to home!

We can also offer bespoke bookings, tailoring the course to suit you. Whether it’s a botanical gin session for fun or a team-building exercise in the great outdoors,

"Adele is sometimes a writer who forages, and sometimes a forager who writes. 

Adele’s Books:

The Hedgerow Handbook: Recipes, Remedies and Rituals

Foraging With KidsThe Garden Forager: Edible Delights in Your Own Back Yard

The Tree Forager

EMMA BEVAN
FFOLKY FFELT

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I had previously worked with printmaking and photography, and then during my recuperation from cancer treatments, I discovered felt-making - creating handmade needle or wet felted items. The processes are very meditative and relaxing, and I fell in love with them. Happily, I can source local and native fleece, which means local suppliers and I have formed a good working relationship and can help promote the myriad of uses of wool. I now create many sculptures and portraits using wool, taking commissions as well as displaying work in exhibitions and events. As a qualified tutor, I also love to teach felt-making, across Wales and the borders. I run needle felting and wet felting workshops and courses in the community, ranging from private to adult education based, to community centers and festivals - from half-day to evening classes, through to two-day classes. I am a qualified tutor and artist, and I love to create a fun and relaxed environment, where each person can learn or develop new skills, using my guidance but creating their own designs.I am a Gold Standard tutor on www.craftcourses.com

I sell Organic felted soaps, plastic-free needle felting kits, needle felted angels and faeries, needle felted sculptures, Feltscapes

Specialist commissions, seen in British Fibre Magazine, ArtShareLove, WonderWool Wales, Contemporary Textiles Fair Teddington, Made by Hand Cardiff, the London Wool Fair, S4C

GINN DOWNES
GINN'S CREATIVE WORKSHOPS & SCHOOL OF SEWING

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I’ve been sewing, creating textiles and art pieces all my life and strongly believe that… “creativity feeds the soul”I’m passionate that everyone should be given the opportunity to discover their own creative potential, whether it’s through sewing, art or textiles. I was trained in Fashion and Textiles and over the past 40 years have been fortunate to teach students of all ages, in all settings. For 11 years, I ran the Textiles Department at Hereford Sixth Form College, but now run my own creative workshops, which include creative arts, textile techniques and sewing methods. I cater for all ages and particularly want to dispel the myth that sewing and textiles is a female pastime only! It has been a delight to be part of ‘The Big Skill’ family and to be part of an organisation which recognises the importance of sharing creative and practical skills with so many people. Sharing and promoting my sewing skills through ‘The Big Skill’ has given me such pleasure. 

REBECCA BUCK
OSPREY STUDIOS

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“I started out making things out of toilet paper and sellotape and one thing led to another! If you find doodling, playing around with materials and arranging things nicely satisfying follow it where ever it leads you. I got into clay when I was working with kids at a summer camp.”

 

Raised between New York, USA and Oxford, UK, within a chaotic family of academics, Buck is Sculptor by both nature and nurture, a muddy day-dreamer taught to question everything.Buck chose a nomadic existence, collecting views and making sculpture and parting with it on the back-roads and by-ways until 1992 when the arrival of her eldest son anchored her to the UK.Osprey Studios was a fluid mix of Studio and Community practice until 1994 when it coalesced with the acquisition of a terrifying dragon of a kiln.The move to the stunning and inspirational landscape of Wales in 1998, with it’s rich, ancient culture, vibrant humour and brick-making tradition has allowed Osprey Studios to establish and, the work to mature.

RACHEL CADMAN
PRINTMAKING

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I have worked in various areas of art and craft for over 30 years, as an illustrator, furniture designer and wood artist, and lamp maker but I have always had love for printmaking, which is where I have settled. I love all of its wonderful techniques and the many effects it can give you. Passionate (bordering on obsessive!) about our natural world and our connections within it, I collect rocks and plants from the landscape, with which to make beautiful coloured inks with which to print.

I offer a wide range of workshops, both at my studio and in other locations. It is so important to me that the sessions boost confidence in the participants, are accessible but above all fun! I can tailor them to the requests of groups and individuals if it is for a particular theme or celebration. These include:

Intaglio printing, Collagraph and Drypoint engraving

Lino cut printing, Screen printing with plant inks, Printing with recycled materials, Making inks from the landscape.

HELEN BANTHORPE
HELEN B’S GLASS CREATIONS

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Helen is a stained glass artist based in Pontarddulais.

I run a variety of glass workshops for all ages and levels of experience/skill, including glass painting, stained glass effect and Tiffany style copper foil.

I make a selection of copper foil gifts, as well as leaded windows and mirrors. Please see my Etsy shop for my latest glass creations! 

NIGEL EVANS
FILMMAKING IN THE DIGITAL ERA

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Nigel Evans is an independent filmmaker with eight global film festival awards. His film Greed, made in Wales and shot on a shoestring budget, is available to watch on Amazon Prime. His workshops cover many aspects of low-budget filmmaking - lighting, framing, tracking, audio, using prime lenses, editing as well as screenplay writing. Nigel created Cynon Valley Film Festival which had its first event in 2022. He interviewed over twenty people about their lives for the ‘The Forces That Shape Our Communities’ project."There's never been a better time to make films. The advent of digital technology has made filmmaking affordable and quicker. I advocate free download film editing programs like Lightworks. And these days, we all have high-quality cameras on our phones.”

I offer Filmmaking workshops, designed for groups of around eight people, although one-to-one sessions are also available. 

www.cynonvalleyfilmfestival.co.uk  

 www.filmfreeway.com/ cynonvalleyfilmfestival

JULIA HARRIS
THE ARTIST & MAKER’S
EMPORIUM

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Julia Harris is a Welsh artist and illustrator who grew up in Pontardawe, with a love for crafting watercolour, acrylic, oils and pastels.

I offer painting workshops

 

THE EMPORIUM

We are a group of artisans and authors living in the Upper Swansea Valley with many years of experience between us.It is exciting times as we have recently moved from our shop in Ynyswen to Craig y Nos Country Park in the Brecon Beacons.In addition to our shop, we will be holding many events and exhibitions throughout the year. Please click the link at the top of this page to see our current events.We are open 10:30am - 4:30pm 7 days a week .

ALAN BOWRING
GEO PARK MANAGER

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Alan is the Geo Park Manager at Fforest Fawr and provides free informative geological walks for the Big Skill at Craig-y-Nos and the surrounding areas.

Fforest Fawr Geopark

Fforest Fawr UNESCO Global Geopark is set within the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park in south Wales. It comprises the western half of the National Park, stretching from Llandovery in the north to the edge of Merthyr Tydfil in the south, from Llandeilo in the west to Brecon in the east.Fforest Fawr (translating to ‘great forest’ in English) is a swathe of upland country which was included within the National Park when it was designated in 1957. These uplands lie at the heart of Fforest Fawr Geopark, itself established in 2005, although it extends beyond them to include much surrounding countryside. In fact the Geopark’s 300 square miles / 763 km2 include mountain and moorland, woods and meadows, towns and villages, lakes and rivers and a great deal more besides.A part of the European Geoparks Network for 17 years, Fforest Fawr Geopark is now also one of the 177 members of the UNESCO Global Geoparks Network, formally established on 17 November 2015 and spread across 46 countries around the world.

ELEANOR GREENWOOD
ARTIST, FILM MAKER, & PHOTOGRAPHER

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Eleanor Flaherty MA BA(Hons) ML(S) is a photographer, artist & award winning documentary film maker

I offer workshops in Photography,

Creative Journeys and 

Art

KATEY LYONS
KATEY’S CRAFTS

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From a young age, I have always loved to make things. I can see a crafting purpose for items that others would see as junk! I teach a very wide range of crafts especially those using natural materials and upcycled items. I supply kits, PDF’s and tutorial videos. I enjoy experimenting with and simplifying craft procedures so that the beginner has a rewarding outcome first time. To that end I try to use everyday supplies you might have at home or that are cheap and easily accessible. Crafting is fun, relaxing and sociable and helps to build self confidence”.

ANNABEL NEILSON
TINKAN DESIGNS

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Annabel Neilson is a designer-maker/ artist from Herefordshire. She has studied fine art-painting, and more recently blacksmithing and metalwork, and is a self-taught jewellery-maker. Tinkan Designs is about handmade, unique, quality, recycled creations. “I studied Fine Art (painting) at college, and I’ve always been a keen recycler. I enjoy the challenge of re-using waste wherever possible in both my art, and every day life.About 15 years ago, having never done any metalwork before, I decided to learn some new skills, and came to Hereford to study Blacksmithing and Metalwork. I then started Tinkan Designs, which combined my artistic background, love of recycling, and new-found metalworking skills. I first became involved with The Big Skill, I think, at one of their events in Hay-on- Wye. My workshops are a little different, and although not highly skilled, they offer a chance to be creative with unusual materials, and allow you to learn some basic metalworking skills, whilst also highlighting the importance of recycling and minimising waste. I really love being a part of the community based work of the Big Skill”.

HELEN MUNDAY
 WONDERS OF WILLOW

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 Helen is an Artist Basket Maker based in Herefordshire, creating contemporary and traditional basketry“Much of the willow I use is home grown from cuttings I specially selected for its basket making qualities. I harvest it myself in the winter months, seeing the process through from start to finish which gives my practice a circular and sustainable ethos”.

I run workshops throughout the year at various events, shows and festivals. You can also book onto one of my one day workshops for beginners or improvers. Keep an eye on my 'Blog' for the latest dates and information. I also offer one to one basket making tuition in the comfort of your own home.

I sell bespoke willow baskets, willow lampshades, bespoke willow garden fences and hurdles, garden products: Bird feeders, bird houses, plant supports, edging for boarders, decorative items such as dragonflies and spherical sculptures.

MARK DAVIS
DROVING GUIDE

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Mark delivers talks on droving in the Brecon Beacons and droving-themed walks following routes once used to drive livestock to English markets.

I offer talks on droving in the Brecon Beacons and droving-themed walks finding clues of droving activity: place names, hollow ways, clusters of Scotts pines, and “corners that go straight on”. We follow a route once used to drive livestock to English markets.158

TINA O ’KEEFE
FAIRY CWTCH

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I own an independent small business providing a clothing alterations service, teaching needlecrafts, and making things to sell, such as bunting, cushions, and fairies!I am originally from Cardiff, live in Llanelli, and work at Craig-y-Nos Country Park, where I have a small studio.I have been sewing since I was around seven years old, and although I am a qualified primary school teacher, I have spent much of my adult life working in the textile industry, mainly specialising in alterations and customisations to bridal gowns. I also work with yarns - crochet, knitting, and I am learning to spin.

I offer Patchwork, Crochet, Knitting, Dressmaking, Soft Furnishings

I sell Hand-made stitched items such as: Fairies, Bunting, Cushions, Scarves, Greeting cards, Bridal accessories, Children’s clothes, Hanging decorations. I also provide a clothing alterations service

LIZZY MASKEY
PIPPIN & GILE

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Pippin & Gile, is a friendly, professional business offering high quality bushcraft and wilderness living courses that will develop your understanding of the natural environment, allowing you to do more with less.Whether you want to come along for just a day or spend an entire weekend learning practical new skills and developing a deeper understanding of the world around you, we’ve got courses that will challenge you, delight you and leave you feeling confident, energised and better connected with nature. Our hope is that you’ll leave our beautiful woodlands with a fresh perspective and a new way of interacting with your surroundings. We promise a walk through the woods will never be the same again.

ANNA STICKLAND
ANNA STICKLAND WEAVING

Anna Stickland , Anna Stickland Weaving

Anna is a basket maker based in the Brecon Beacons who creates traditional and contemporary handcrafted baskets. Anna is also an outdoor instructor, cycle guide and mountain expedition leader.“I have always liked making things and am used to tutoring others. With willow there is the added process of growing and preparing it, as well as using it. It’s great to work with a natural material and to incorporate other plants and found objects into the design. I love the variety of natural willow and its many colours and the way this changes as it ages. I also enjoy experimenting with different shapes and adding both leather and twisty branches as handles. Each basket has its own development and story. I usually travel a lot with work and any of my baskets are made in the back of my van, or on a beach or a hillside. I like to add a little piece of wherever I am to what I make.”

I run a variety of workshops, including basket weaving, how to make bid feeders, wreaths and much more!

RICHARD MANNING
GREEN WOODWORK & CHARCOAL

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Richard is a freelance cycle guide, green woodworker and blacksmith based in Ystradgynlais, South Wales. Richard makes charcoal and ‘biochar’ (a charcoal produced from plant matter).

Green woodworking, whittling, artist charcoal making, barbeque charcoal making, forging. Rather bizarre but I could also run a workshop on woodlice!

BOB GRAINGER
 
FIBRE TO FINISH & THE SPINNING WHEEL DOCTOR

Bob Grainger

Originally from Bristol, I have been living in Cwmtwrch in the Upper Swansea Valley for the last 22 years, where it feels more like home to me. I have a part-time job working as a park attendant at Craig-y-Nos Country Park, and the rest of my time is spent working on my spinning wheels. Like so many people at the time, I got into spinning and fibre-related crafts during Lockdown.

He can help you get to know your Spinning Wheel

Wool Spinning For Beginners

He services, repairs and refurbishes spinning wheels and also sells hand-finished spinning wheel accessories such as Drive Bands, Brake Bands, Oil, Threading Hooks, Tension Knobs, Treadle Connectors and more.

MATT HUDD
MATT HUDD MARTIAL ARTS

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About

Matt is the founder and Chief Instructor at Matt Hudd Martial Arts School in Hereford, providing coaching and training sessions for all ages.“We strive to provide a safe, comfortable and welcoming atmosphere for all students and family members. We take pride in creating an environment for individuals to achieve, develop and succeed in their personal goals. We strongly believe that martial arts can be for everyone, regardless of age, gender or experience levels. Throughout all of our programs, students will not only learn the necessary skill sets to protect themselves, we stand behind our realistic and practical approach, confident it will enable every member to achieve greatness and live their best life”.

Martial Arts coaching (Preschool, Kids, Teens & Adults)

Tai-Chi: Meditation & Mindfulness

Chinese Kickboxing (Teens & Adults)

Female-only Chinese Kickboxing (Teens & Adults)

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