Draig Dipsy Dragon: Ceramics studio, gallery and more …
Sue and Peter Barnes
A few years ago we took the opportunity of early retirement from jobs as university academics in order to ‘live the dream’ in Wales. We both knew the area well, having worked at the Outward Bound School in Aberdyfi and Peter also having worked at the Llanbedr airfield and climbed extensively throughout Snowdonia since childhood; so eventually we opted for Dolgellau and moved here in mid-2014.
We opened “Dipsy Dragon” our shop/art-gallery in April 2017 and it would be fair to say that it has been an eye-opening experience. Opening a gallery, and producing enough work to stock it, has required a huge amount of work from both of us. Although Sue has had a long held desire to earn a living from making ceramics the reality has been that on many occasions actually being creative has had to take a back seat to the reality of earning an income. Peter on the other hand, who simply wanted to be able to do all the sporting activity that being the head of a sports course didn’t give time for, has had to turn his hand to new activities, such as building display stands and hanging pictures.
After the first year we decided to change the focus of Dipsy Dragon and created a large work bench to be the centre of the studio; the aim being for Sue (and Peter) to have more space to be creative in and to run hands on sessions.
There is still a gallery element for locally based or inspired artists and we stock some fair trade gifts, cards, local books and local map based items.
The Dolgellau location has naturally been an enormous influence not only on our creative work but also on our entire lifestyle. Sue’s ceramics, and increasingly some tentative forays from Peter as well, are evolving nicely through experimenting with methods of production, firing and glazes and a variety of styles. ‘Elemental’ is a constant theme with the Welsh landscape, culture, myths and legends all being hugely influential.
Our range of ceramics now stretches from small, cheaper, items such as our popular ‘Welsh Ladies’ and ‘Dipsy Dragons’ right up to larger free-form styles based on plants and trees that have now been exhibited around the country.