madeinroath Blog

Longer Tables

You know the longest table in the world measured 2,184m (7,165 ft and 4 inches). This massive table was put together by the Ajialouna Organisation in Beirut on June 9th 2017. More than 5,000 people sat at this epic table and enjoyed a rather lovely meal (although I imagine passing the salt might have taken some time).

There’s something quite magical about that image of an endless table going on and on into the distance with 5,000 people all sat around it enjoying themselves. Talking, eating and sharing, it holds ideas of community. There’s something about sitting next to someone, by their side in a shared act that is quite special.

In 1965 Life Magazine ran a special double issue on the American City. The special celebrated the vibrant cities of that country and explored how they might rise to the major challenges of growth, over populations and societal change which they were facing. The issue saw the mention of a design for a new city submitted by two unknown architects, who purposed a radical new plan. Peter Eisenman and Michael Graves envisioned what was to be known as the “Jersey Corridor” a modernist megastructure, a vast 47 mile long city. Containing every function – workplace, housing, shopping and leisure facilities. The city was a linear design and was to be built along a highway in two parallel bands, one containing apartments and the other workplaces and shops. The corridor would be multi-storey with transport links running underneath the linear city. This would leave vast open spaces for nature and recreation ether side that could stretch far into the distance.

The city was of course never built but the idea of a linear community, the idea of living side by side is a concept that repeats in most sociological designs. During the October festival Made in Roath held a special parade with banners made by community groups and organisations. The parade walked through the streets of Roath to celebrate the start of the festival. It was called “By my side, come rain or shine” and was designed to bring Roath together.

Its this concept that we see at a meal, where you sit side by side with someone else. With a friend or a stranger, you are sitting for a meal in someones company as they are in yours.

This year for Made in Spring we will be exploring the concept of being by each other side and sharing a meal together with Longer Tables.  This will be  taking place on Sunday the 6th of May.

We’ll be closing Plasnewydd road once again and filling the street with a special bespoke table for a community meal. We’ll be sharing food and conversations along the street. We also have artists Tim Bromage, Ellie Young and Hilary Roberts creating new work along the length of the table.

It will be a fantastic sight and a lovely experience for anyone who can attend. The whole event is free and open to everyone and it will be taking place from 1-3pm on Sunday the 6th of May. Hope to see you there.


Red Route 2018

It all began in 2014, that was the first year we walked from Merthyr to Roath in the name of culture. Back then it was called the “Red Shoes” and was born from a growing feeling of frustration with the way that modern life was eroding the time that we have to enjoy doing the things we like such as experiencing culture. The walk was a way to make time for art. It was also a reaction to the austerity cuts which had started the previous year and which still affect us today.

The walk began as a reclaimer of time. Then, as it is today, time is an ever decreasing commodity. Demands on our time grow more and more. We are told that we must be productive, that we must use our time wisely, we must do this and update that. Red Shoes and now Red Walk began as a way to reclaim that time. To make time for art and for culture. To spend time with friends. To simply walk from one place to another. To really experience the earliest way to get around.

But what is Red Route?

It’s a walk from the Red House in Merthyr Tydfil, along the Taff Trail to Roath in Cardiff. It takes place over two days (5th and 6th of May this year). Day one sees us walk from Merthyr Tydfil to Taff Wells. The second leg on day two goes from Taff Wells to Roath where, after arriving, we’ll enjoy Made in Spring – Longer Tables (Made in Roaths May Day festival).

Along the route there are plenty of breaks for tea as well as displays of art and culture along the way to enjoy. These pieces have all been specially commissioned for the walk. The walk progresses at a fairly easy pace and there are plenty of opportunities to leave or join in along the way.

This will be the fifth year we’ll be holding the Red Route walk and it’s always been a fantastic experience. The countryside along the Taff is some of the most beautiful in Wales, if not the World. You will pass incredible remnants from our industrial past, seeing the ghosts of the bricks which built the Valleys and Cardiff. But the best thing about Red Route is that it allows you to chat. To talk to the person next to you, the person in front of you and the person behind you. The walk suspends time. For those few hours the worries that pervade your daily life no longer matter. Social media doesn’t need updating. Smart phones don’t need constant checking. It gives you back that time to just walk and talk, to look and enjoy. To think and to breathe fresh outdoor air.

The Gate Open call 2017

The Gate Art centre, just off city road is one of the true cultural assets of Cardiff.

As well as being a performances space for plays and theatrical productions, it also holds classes and writings groups for the community and has a very fine social bar space. 

It also has a fantastic exhibition space. Which Made in Roath was privileged to use for the 2017 festival for the Open Call.
 The Open Call is always a popular aspect of the festival and one which always see’s a fantastic response. The Open call is free to enter art call out and gets your work displayed on the wall of the exhibition space, which this year was the Gate.

I always like the Open call mainly because you never quite know what your going to see. Landscape paintings are next to self portraits, with abstract art next to minimalist drawings. Its a real collective mix of work from artists at every stage of their careers and skill.

It’s not often as an artist you get a chance like the open call to just enter some work and see what happens. All for free too.

 Its also a great thing to be apart of something with so many other artists, to meet them and see their work.
 One of the nicest things is to see what everyone is up too, what everyone is making. Its a place to get ideas and to be inspired. 

In the days of the great art colleges they would display work in much the same way. Holding vast collective exhibitions of students work, the idea being they could see and understand what other students were doing and by doing so get inspired to create and fuel their own work.

Thats probably the best reason to visit the Open Call, just to see what everyone else is doing. I look forward to seeing its return in 2018. 

Open Houses 2017

You enter first with the thought “Should I be in here, am I allowed in here? this is someones house after all so it seems wrong to just enter but at the same time Im here for the art….”

You processed further, along the corridor half expecting to be kicked out at anytime. Still unsure if you are allowed to be there. Then you enter the living room or the kitchen, wherever they have the exhibition.

A welcoming hello and a polite word or two and you feel accepted. You begin to realex and look around the stunning home, at the fantastic art on display there. It feels funny looking at art in someones house. There is a school of thought that says to be art it must be in an art gallery. I don’t subscribe to such thoughts, nether do most people in my experience. Certainly no one in Made in Roath does or we wouldn’t be holding the Open Houses every year during the festival.

Open houses is one of the most popular aspects of Made in Roath and is an example of the community coming together. People open their homes and let people in to show art. The art comes from a variety of sources around the community, from the home owners or friends. From commissioned artists or parts of much larger projects.

The Open Houses exhibition program is always an exciting and interesting aspect of the festival. Even through after almost five years of going to Made in Roath and enjoying many wonderful Open Houses, Im still terrified about walking through the door and discovering I’ve gone into the wrong house. At least its something I haven’t managed to do yet. 

Miles to walk and time to think

I walk a lot of miles in October. I mean Roath isn’t actually that big a place. I mean yes there is a lot of streets and a somewhat large park in the middle of the place but compared to other places its quite small (saying that tho compared to something else most things are quite small, Earth for example is tiny compared to Jupiter which in turn is tiny compared to the planet OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb [catchy title Nasa] which is 13 times bigger than Jupiter).

Thankfully tho Roath isn’t as big as OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb, if it was I’d still be walking down the OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb Albany road (okay that’s the last time I’ll mention OGLE-2016-BLG-1190Lb).

So as I was saying before becoming obsessed with mentioning OGLE-2016-BL…..umm …. that large planet. Roath isn’t that big but in contrast Made in Roath is now pretty big.

This year we had over 200 different artists taking part in around 100 different venues ranging from Roath park, to houses on city road, to Spit and Sawdust skate park. There was a lot going on and to get round everywhere the only thing to do is to walk (so you know, good and comfy shoes are important).

This year I walked to and fro upon the earth of Roath looking at all the art. I like walking, there’s something universal and easy about walking. Its something we all learn to do as babies. It’s something which is free to do. It’s one of the only sporting activities which doesn’t require any training or equipment. All it requires is to put one step in front of the other and repeat the process untill you get to where you want to go.

If time isn’t a concern then you can walk anywhere. From one end of Roath to another, from one end of Cardiff to another, to London, Lands end, you could even if you could get there walk all the way to OGLE-2016-BL…. umm …. I mean that large planet. 

I like walking to different Made in Roath venues, it gives you time to think and consider what you just saw. Time is important with art, you need time to see it but also time to consider it.

Walking gives you that perfect time.

Old Twitter  

I was looking through the web the other day playing the “what happens if I google this” game. After discovering Liechtenstein didn’t give women the right to vote till 1984 (Shocking, I know). I decided to google Made in Roath which I periodically do just to make sure no reality TV company is making a spin of a Made in whatnot style problem set in our Cardiff suburb also called Made in Roath. Which thankfully they haven’t (not because I belittle those kind of TV shows but more because anything else called Made in Roath would make our twitter hashtag very confusing).

I digress, as I googled Made in Roath I discovered we had a twitter account no one knew about.

Its from when Made in Roath first began back in 2009. Long before I got involved and it has only three tweets. One of which simply says “wew” which Im still trying to recall if it stands for anything from the msn shorten text letter messenger days. Like “lol”, “wtf” , “omg” or “ffaf” but try as I might “wew” doesn’t ring any bells.

After some asking it turns out the account was set up in the eagerness and excitement that must of capsulated that first festival weekend. The thrill of possibilities and of doing something new. As we now sit a decade on from that weekend in 2009 I wonder if anyone involved at the time had any idea or thought that Made in Roath would still be going ten years later.

Since October the 16th 2009 Made in Roath has worked with almost a thousand artists, held the festival ten times as well as starting and hosting Made in Spring in May, holding the Red Route walk five times and putting on and working with so many community groups and workshops that no one can actually count. Not to mention a load of other stuff too.

It was a fantastic discovery finding the old account. It turns out no one actually knows the password or email for the account so for now it is forever locked. A permit presence on twitter which I really like. It’s comforting to know it exists and will in all likelihood continue to exist as long as twitter doesn’t do a myspace and destroy itself.

There is of course a possibility that people will get confused seeing it and believe it to be the current twitter account but I think people are hopefully intelligent enough to read the 2009 date and realise that this isn’t the account they are looking for. But it does remind me of a old poem I heard once long ago

“Old shapes of song that do not die Shall haunt the halls of memory”

Guest Post: Human Kindness within Our Community

By guest blogger Hannah Pickering.

Hannah was a student at the Cardiff Metropolitan University Widening Access Summer School and was invited to take part in the Widening Access Exhibition at this year’s festival. We have invited Hannah to write a number of blog posts about her experience at the WA Summer School and the events she took part in and attended during the festival.




This a Poem I Created as Inspiration from My Lighthouse Drawing/Painting, listed in the middle of My Artwork Graphics above. It’s the Artwork I had in the ‘Widening Access Courses, Exhibition,’ with Cardiff Met University, I attended in the Summer this year, as mentioned in My previous Blog for ‘Made In Roath.’ It was in the Church next to My Lighthouse Painting, on the left, St Edwards Church. I Entered it to Rachel Carneys Writing Competition throughout the festival. Which could have been on any piece of Artwork listed in any Exhibitions and Gallery’s throughout the ‘Made In Roaths,’ Oct Festival 2017.

The Following Image is of the Different Items I Collected throughout the Festival, some bought for just a £1 & others I Made or Collected for Free & things I participated in.


First of all I just wanted to begin saying, THANK YOU! To ‘Made In Roath,’ for teaming up with ‘Cardiff Met University: with their Widening Access Free Summer School Courses,’ to allow, those of us who took part in them, this year, 2017, to have One Piece of Art work within an Artwork Gallery Exhibition, at their Festival this Oct 2017.

It helps knowing that there are some people in the world, who do know how a community should work and exist, and that there is such a thing like Human Kindness still within the world. The only thing I would have said that could have been different or changed is that the whole Festival events should have gone on for much longer! So I could have attended all of the events.

Community to me being a part of local events where people recognise you as an individual and a human being and that each of us should respect and accept one another and include each other. A community is made of people usually being able to do things together and even better without much money being made or spent. It goes to show that there is human kindness in the world by others willing to sacrifice time and money just to be a part of a community. It makes being human not quite such a bleak life experience in living within this amazing, wonderful and yet dark Universe.

Here are Picture Collages of some of the Events I did attend Below: This is the Inkspot Evening the Opening Evening of the Festival:


With Music, from different Musicians, free Food and £1 for some Drinks and good company, and Artistic Craft being Presented and some even still being made, what a great way to spend an evening. Plus a brilliant way to kick off a Festival for Oct 2017. 

The Albany RD Gallery: 

Amazing insights to different types of Artwork and Craft Displayed in a local gallery. What beautiful hands and mind humans can have. From what’s already been created for us in the world, or what comes from imagination. 

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A truly amazing, quaint little gallery in a central location within the Roath Community, on Albany RD it’s self, with a wide range of wonderful artwork and handmade craft work, for a variety of prices.

Catays Library:

This was a lovely decorated location, full of Fairwaters Pottery Club:



The 2 Ceremic HandMade Angels Above the Images of the Pics Above in the ‘Welcome,’ poster images, I bought in the Lucky Dip Pic, in the Pic to the Right of the Angels, which I didn’t know that was what I was getting, they were both a £1 in a set, I thought that was a really quaint idea. Great idea for presents for friends!


The Balloon Girl Book Evening:
An Interesting story about a Lady who has Written and Published a Book Called, ‘The Balloon Girl,’ the story is about a real girl in history, who flew one of the first Man Made Balloons into the air and landed in Cardiff, but by doing sadly died and disappeared for three days, know one seems to have known what happened for those three days. She has a Cemetery Grave, shown below, in Catays Grave Yard in Cardiff. 


One of the Poems was listed in the Envoi magazine (issue 175) entitled ‘The Artist Teaches Himself to Paint Grief’ by Wendy Klein, which was inspired by the work of Michelangelo:

The First Poem Below, to the Left, is this Poem: ‘Musica Mundana’ by Pascale Petit  (from her new collection Mama Amazonica) which she wrote partly inspired by the work of Anselm Kiefer, in particular a painting called ‘The Language of Flowers and Mute Things.’

The two pieces of Art that you can directly see below, My one is placed in the photo to the right, at the very end of the top line Photo Listed Below, in between is some poems other Poets have Written that we discussed too:


We also discussed this Artists work too and when we responded to this Artwork we had time to express it on paper, which we could read aloud or not. Up to ourselves.
She regularly continues her classes throughout the year now, once a month.

The Picture Collage is of ‘The Gate Centre,’ and its ‘Open Exhibition,’ Art Gallery. These are some of the ones we looked at together in Rachel Carneys Writing Group:


The Pics below, where placed just outside ‘The Gate Centre, and leading up to it. Title was called ‘By My Side, Come Rain or Shine.’ Created by a mixture of different companies/organisations etc…


 St Teilos High School, (I used to go) and ‘The TAVS,’ centre, which is run by Glenwood Church people, and I’ve Attended a few times to help create Artwork and some food too.

This Collage Below, are ‘St Edwards Church,’ displays, outside.



I met the gentleman who Created the display saying it was supposed to represent awareness of how much our Plastic Can Kill Animals and how a lot of them do by getting entangled in the plastic or by swallowing it. Actually in ‘The Blue Planet 2,’ TV series, of what I’ve seen, not really what I like to watch, cause although it has amazing Photography and I find animals fascinating, and how they live and work around us in the world, I’m not always so keen on seeing them kill or be killed by each other to survive etc… Anyway, they showed how plastic can kill animals, even babies making it harder to survive, so the message is obviously getting across to the world somewhere. But is it enough?

Below Here are the Pictures of Artwork My Artwork was a part of, of different types of Art and Craft Work, those who attended the ‘Widening Access Free Summer School Courses,’ at Cardiff Met University this Summer 2017. It was lovely meeting some of the other Artists on the Friday Preview Evening we had at this same church as mentioned above with the previous Photo Collage I’ve Created, was at St Edwards Church. We also had a lovely session performance from the Orchestra that played Wonderful Jazz Music for free too! So THANK YOU! St Edwards Church and for all of the other Artists who also submitted your work and who helped with the Gallery Viewings at the Weekend, I enjoyed helping out on the Saturday afternoon slot, so thanks for that opportunity and your hospitality.

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I really enjoyed attending the Albany RD Primary School Tour: with their WW1 Theme:


It was like going back in time as the kids had all dressed up and changed some of the class rooms to a Hospital ward, as in WW1 that’s what happened to the School and all the children had to go to another school. They wouldn’t let us upload pics of the kids to social media, which I can understand, so I haven’t to be on the safe side of things. Shame though because they did look lovely in their outfits and we had three young girls take us on our own tour as that just how it worked out at the time, with numbers and who was around waiting to go on a tour.

They had a range of different things they had written and created, and facts and information that was on display about those who attended the hospital at the time and what they did for our country. We have so many creative ways these days for the kids to express themselves and represent their knowledge in. They were using iPads as their guidelines too! School has changed so much since my day! Now that’s saying something since I grew up with technology and computers of some kind, but nothing compared to kids being able to create their own computer games, as they had, amazing! A wonderful way to spend a morning! Thank You for all of your effort and for opening up your School for us! Very fascinating indeed!

Below are Photographs I took attending a Book Workshop, Created By.

I joined in later on in the day and Created My Own, as I show after the First Photo, the following Five Pics are me in Working Progress and the Finishing Product is the Item, in the Picture to the right hand side of the College, at the bottom. The ladies hands are of the teachers hands, cutting the Shape I Created and others Created out of the Book we Created it in, very simple, but clever idea indeed. Many kids took part in it too. It was also a St Edwards Church, and in the same room My Artwork was placed too, so that was handy for me to help looking after the room and work as well as witness and attend this Book Workshop. And they say you can’t be in two places at once!

This was run by a lady called, Doreen Barnaville, she has a Website Link here:


One Final Bonus Was some, Free, Lovely, Tasty, Freshly Baked Home Bread Made, by ‘The TAVS Centre,’ on city road.


Slant of light

One quite ninja thing I saw this year during the Made in Roath festival was “Slant of Light” by Andrew Pershin and curated by Zosia Krasnowolska. It was displayed in the front room of an open house on Kelvin road.

Slant of light was a large window hang print of a frozen waterfall somewhere in arctic Russia. The image is of an analogue photograph by artist Andrew Pershin, arranged by Zosia Krasnowoiska. The fabric-printed image aimed to create an illusion of winter that we rarely get to see.

The print covered the window and as the daylight sun shone through the window highlighting and creating cold steams of light into the room. The image of the waterfall frozen in time in the actual instance of ice and secondly in the frozen capture of the camera as the photographer took the image freezing this moment forever more.

The frozen waterfall reflected through back to another world, to the world of Scott of the Antarctic or of adventures traveling across arctic tundra. The image produced a thrilling illustration of adventure and travel in my mind.


Dino Rovaretti “Joining Words”

The last Sunday of this years Made in Roath festival thankfully dawned with a bright sun and a slightly breeze. After the somewhat stormy Saturday it was a relief to find blue skies and walking weather.

As I strolled through Roath park, passing dog walkers and Sunday games of football. I halted at the White Bridge in the Pleasure Gardens to see Dino Rovaretti “Joining Words” exhibition.

“Joining words” is part of a series of happenings on bridges which explores connectivity and place. People are encouraged to intervene on a statement to change and effect the flow by altering the text to form new sentences.

As I approached the bridge I discovered a series of tiles laid out along the right side of the bridge. The words were taken from a social equities speech by Marget Thatcher. People were stopping and reading the tiles and then bending down and taking the words to form new sentences on the other side of the bridge. 

“Neighbours are family”,“there are no boarders”,“individuals are sociality” 

People had recreated the words how they wanted them, dispelling the power of Thatchers speech.



Postbox tree

Day 5 of the blog advert.

I feel like writing about something a little abstract today.

During this years festival I passed this Red post box on the way to somewhere. I’d never noticed it before. It lies on the street just opposite Roath Park pleasure gardens, about half way down the road. It struck me as a very defiant postbox battling an over intrusive tree. 
 I was in a rush but I felt compelled to stop and take this picture which I then totally forgot about until now when I came across it while looking for another photograph in an album.



The tree appears to be slowly eating the postbox, possible for vengeance of the amount of paper letters (e.g former tree’s) that have passed through the box over the years. It could possibly be seen as a metaphor of the slow disappearance of paper and general use of the post as nature takes over or possibly it was just an ill choice in terms of locations for a postbox. Who knows? I just like it.

It also reminds me of an ancient Persian story I once heard. The tale goes that a wiseman attempted to find a phrase that was suitable for any situation. After much thought and debate he adventurually come up with the adage “This too shall pass” a phrase that could be used anytime or anywhere. It’s also one I think applies to what I do as a blogger as well as the temporary nature of social media and the digital environment.

All these thoughts emerged from a momentary halt, half way down a street in Roath whilst on the way to somewhere else. That’s what I really like about Made in Roath, it creates this open mindset which strengthens the creative thought. The environment of so much art happening in one week increases your own creativity. It reminds me of the story of the three princes serendipity. In the tale, three princes from Serndip travel through a land and through utilising a mixture of deduction (in proper Sherlock Holmes fashion) and good luck succeed in many adventures. It’s one of the worlds first detective stories. It is also where we get the word Serendipity from because the Princes were looking for good fortune and adventure and they found it. Much like during the festival, you’re looking for culture and art so are more readily able to discover it in the most unlikely of places.