Within a short 45 minute drive up the A470, you are transported from the bustling streets of central Cardiff to the lush, dramatic peaks of the Brecon Beacons National Park. Situated here are spectacular sights like Pen y Fan – the highest point in Southern Wales – and Sgwd Henrhyd – the tallest waterfall in Southern Wales.
I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I’ve been here, from early morning hikes up Pen y Fan and her neighbouring sister peaks, to rambles in the ancient woodlands, which always include stuffing a picnic and a flask of coffee into my rucksack!
As a Cardiff Met BA Textiles student and a photographer, this was my go-to way to gain inspiration for any projects I had coming up – including my final major project, which I completed earlier this year.
I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t hiking amongst the magnificent towering mountains, either to simply clear my mind, leaving all of the stress of work, uni and life behind and to just live in that moment, or to gain inspiration for my textiles course work.
Photography played a vital part in my final project – I created a collection inspired by the Brecon Beacons, so it was the perfect excuse for me to throw on my walking boots and walk for hours with just my cameras and the incredible scenery as company.
Being in such close proximity of one of Wales’ three National Parks has given me a great choice of locations for de-stressing, buckets of inspiration and the opportunity to find some hobbies that I love.
Being able to combine my love for photography, hiking and the outdoors with my textile work gave me the chance to always add my personality to my work – whether through reflecting on stories and hiking trips amongst the mountains, or using my photography as my main focus.
My decision to stay in my home town of Cardiff and go to Cardiff Met was a very easy one for me! It is perfectly situated on the doorstep of the Beacons and in driving distance of the wild coasts of Pembrokeshire National Park. Being so near to these havens of natural beauty is a real gift – why would I want to leave them behind?!
Another reason for staying in Cardiff is that I wanted to keep up my Welsh, and carry on conversing and writing through this medium. The support I and many other first language Welsh students have received has been so beneficial. Most of my projects from first year through to third year have all been bilingual, and I’ve been able to discuss my ideas through the medium of Welsh.
It was so important to me that I carried on using my Welsh after school, and knowing that Cardiff Met offered support for this was very reassuring.
As a fluent Welsh speaker, I take pride in this and always strive for my work to have a strong Welsh theme running throughout. I use my textiles work as a way of promoting the language. I am very keen on lending my love for photography and the outdoors to my textile work too, and it allows me to create one-off, unique pieces and multidisciplinary collections.
Read more from our students on what it’s like to live in and around Cardiff