Colourful collaboration

Grace Birt presents the finished Colour Collaboration Book | 2019 AGM

The idea for this collaborative project was originally discussed in the 2017 AGM. After a short discussion we settled on a book with the theme ‘colour’ and members were invited to contribute pages. 

Our Treasurer Grace has made a concertina book with a gorgeous fabric cover to hold the pages and the above photo shows our combined efforts. 

When looking at the contributions at this year’s AGM, we were fascinated by the different interpretations people had made of the theme.  Here are some of their thought processes and inspirations.

GRACE BIRT | As a child of the fifties and sixties I can remember the gradual change from all things grey to fabulous colour.  Britain became ‘MOD’ with chunky lettering, big patterns and vibrant colour everywhere.  I’ve tried to convey this huge ‘sixties revolution’ in my tiny nine by nine centimetre piece on a dull mat black background.
GORDON WOOD | An experimental idea for a page of pattern to add a variety of image and use of colour within the booklet. Powdered pastel was blended through a metal stencil with cotton wool to provide a graduation of colour within each separate design.

AGM 2019

Our next annual meeting day is on Saturday 12 October 2019.  Do come along if you can. Those who attended last year really got a lot out of the activities we did and said how much they enjoyed it. 

Concertina books – one of two ‘mini workshops’ held during 2018 AGM

We’re already planning our ideas for this year.  And, honestly, the formal meeting part of the day is interesting – it’s your chance to talk about how the year is gone, what you’d like to see in the future, and to suggest ideas that will make South Wales Scribes an even better group for you, its members.

Freedom of Swansea for Alun Wyn Jones

Most of us know that South Wales Scribes founder member and CLAS Tutor Judith Porch produces exquisite freedom scrolls for those honoured by the City and County of Swansea. 

They are all personally tailored to the individuals concerned, acknowledging their contribution to Swansea, Wales and the  world more widely. 

Here is Judith with Alun Wyn Jones (Wales Rugby captain – Grand Slam 2019, just in case you didn’t know!) at his presentation in June 2019.

A Brush with Silence


2 Apr 2019
From 10am until 1pm

VENUE: St Mary’s Church, City Centre, Swansea

Watch modern scribes and illuminators creating beautiful lettering and illustrations using pen and ink and gold leaf in the tranquil candle-lit surroundings of St Mary’s Church.

If you are inspired you will have the opportunity to have a go yourself.

Part of Swansea Learning Festival.


South Wales Scribes are excited to announce a new exhibition to mark our 10th anniversary.

The exhibition entitled The Written Word will open in February 2021 and comes almost exactly 5 years to the day after the opening of our first exhibition Transformation | Trawsnewid .

We are delighted to be exhibiting once again in the historic Swansea Museum.

More information to follow.

2018 | White Ribbon Logo Competition

In October of 2017 SWS Member Joan Mallett entered a WI competition to create a White Ribbon Logo for the ‘Not in my Name’ campaign.

The campaign was established in 2012 to raise awareness of Violence Against Women (VAW) and to challenge the attitudes and behaviours of a minority of men who use or condone violence against women. Annually, the Campaign marks White Ribbon Day and involves WI members in awareness-raising activities and in the recruitment of male ambassadors in speaking out against VAW.

The white ribbon is a symbol of men’s opposition to male violence against women and wearing a white ribbon is a personal pledge never to commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women.

Joan’s entry came second in the competition and she was invited to the Senedd in Cardiff to attend the event to mark White Ribbon Day and collect a certificate from Ken Skates AM, then Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport.

The design featured pastel to highlight the white ribbon logo and black and red gouache for the lettering.

The winning entry was a set of earrings and a pendant of the white ribbon logo made from polymer clay and silver, and third place was a machine embroidery of the logo.  

Joan Mallett

2016 | 09 Divine Inspiration

“Divine Inspiration”, the 95th Anniversary Exhibition of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators took place in York Minster from 3 – 18 September 2016.

Judith Porch had an amazing piece in the exhibition entitled “Monolith” which she hoped would surprise and intrigue.  Here is what she said about it:

“Is Divine Inspiration within you? Or is Divine Inspiration without you?

I began by considering what the words ‘Divine Inspiration’ meant to me. I quickly realised that creativity, its origin and how it manifests itself would be my starting point.

When we experience that ‘light-bulb’ moment what is it that sparks it? I came up with two opposing answers.

The first is that Divine Inspiration is within us – a brain synapse, the result of chemical messengers leading to the formation of strong neural pathways made stronger from years of practice and experience.  The second is that Divine Inspiration is without you – a flash of inspiration which has an external source or which has no input from you – a touch from God.

I began to consider how I would represent this concept and as is often the case with my work – light played a central role. I found myself drawn to the idea that if I had light coming from the top of the box, projecting the words ‘Divine Inspiration’ it would look ethereal; people could put their hands through it yet not touch it. My next challenge was how to create this effect? I found the answer with motion sensor lights.

If I asked you ‘Is Divine Inspiration within you or without you’ what would you say?”

Monolith:  Brush lettering, plywood, chalk-board paint, motion-sensor lights, Doctor Martin’s Bleed Proof White, Winsor & Newton Gouache, printed acetate.  1mx950x450mm

2018 | 10 AGM & Carousel Day

Annual Meeting
13 October 2018
10am to 4pm
Bryn House Community Education Centre
78 Walter Road, Swansea SA1 4PS


10.00 am Annual General Meeting

This will be the formal meeting to look at finances, choose committee members, look back at the year and discuss future plans. Only paid-up members of South Wales Scribes will be able take part in discussions and decisions.

11.00 am (approximately) – CAROUSEL

There’ll be three separate activities going on at the same time, lasting about an hour or so each. The idea is that we split into groups – each group start with a different activity and when you’ve finished you move on to the next activity. So everybody has a chance to do all three activities.

A Slotted Concertina Book – Ann Sear

A neat and deceptively simple construction with no glue (except maybe for the cover) – and one where you can change your pages later on if you want to.

“Indented” letters – Alison Allan

I’m not quite sure what to call these but it’s a different way of using embossing tools (or crochet hooks) to create some decorated letters which you can use for cards, etc.

Techniques for well-proportioned margins – Gordon Wood

Tips and methods for working out the space to leave around your calligraphy, including book margins and flat pieces of work (and who knows what else)!
4.00 pm Close

Bryn House,
78 Walter Road,