“Throughout the ages works of art in one medium have inspired artists in others” Malcolm Parr
Dylan Thomas’ work is celebrated annually in festivals and symposiums around the world, and the poet continues to be an inspiration for many other artists and writers. This October, the month in which Dylan Thomas was born, we are taking a look back at two of our projects which had their starting points in his legacy.
The occasion for the first project was to mark the 50th anniversary of Dylan Thomas’ death in 2003. Swansea Print Workshop received funding from the Arts Council of Wales to create a prestigious collector’s item and touring exhibition.
Dylan Thomas’ work is so full of visual imagery, it is particularly fertile ground for artists. And, as a group of printmakers in Swansea looking to work collaboratively, a focus on one of his poems seemed an obvious choice.
Together, we learnt about the processes behind, and the practicalities of producing limited edition, original prints. We had specialist paper made, we learned about colophons from Jeff Towns and much more about Dylan Thomas. We were lucky to have graphics designed by Tony Ridler, an essay written by Malcolm Parr with Andrew Davies MEP providing the introduction.
Additionally, the range of approaches by the twelve artists and the collaborative way we solved problems and produced the box sets established a way of working together that we have continued to foster through many of our subsequent projects. In 2015, we celebrated this collaborative ethos for our 15th Anniversary with a special artists’ book.
With an opening exhibition of the Dylan Thomas Prints at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, further exhibitions followed throughout Wales, in New York City, and Lahore, Pakistan.
The Dylan Thomas Print project raised the profile of the organisation nationally and internationally as well as contributing to the standing of Swansea in a wider creative context.
More on the Dylan Thomas Print project, the prints and boxed set feature on Dylan Thomas, ‘especially when the October wind’
Ten years on, Swansea Print Workshop received another significant grant from the Arts Council of Wales for a dedicated project celebrating the centenary of Dylan Thomas’ birth in 1914.
Deialogau | Dylan Thomas | Dialogues provided a platform for dialogue about the creative process between writers and visual artists and between printmakers of different disciplines.
It also established and developed relationships between other creative organisations including the internationally recognized, Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize.
The 16 contributing artists in this second project took part in a range of introductory events before they settled on their chosen focus.
We met all the young finalists in the Dylan Thomas Literary prize; we had an intriguing, informative tour of the lovingly restored Dylan Thomas birthplace by the passionate and informative Annie, returning to 5 Cwmdonkin Drive again, for a group life drawing session.
We enjoyed picnics in Cwmdonkin Park and an introduction to the excellent Richard Burton Archives in Swansea Council for reference to the sights referred to in Thomas’s radio piece, Return Journey. Prize-winning author, Rachel Trezise gave a reading and was commissioned to write an original piece for the project publication and, of course, a tour of the Dylan Thomas Centre was an enjoyable must.
More on the Dylan Thomas Dialogues project, the prints and boxed set feature on Deialogau | Dylan Thomas | Dialogues
Both Boxed Sets are in the collections of the 6 UK and Ireland National Libraries: The British Library; The Bodleian Library, Oxford; The University Library, Cambridge; The National Library of Scotland; The Library of Trinity College, Dublin; The National Library of Wales.
In 2013 Dylan Thomas Prints boxed set was added to the Poetry Collection of the University of Buffalo, New York and the boxed set, Deialogau | Dylan Thomas | Dialogues was added to the Swansea University Library collection.
The collector’s items are available for purchase as boxed sets and individual prints in the Shop on our main website.
Both sets are also available as touring exhibitions. For more details and to book, please contact Jackie Ford