Tonypandy born, Knighton resident and keeper of various family archives Islwyn Watkins has sadly died, aged 80. Most widely known as an artist, he was also an educator, ceramics expert (country slip ware) and a Knighton community activist, amongst other things.
Various of the wider Watkins family photos on Cutlock & Co came from his archive of material – he’s a cousin to our mum. Your editor was privileged to stay overnight at his home in the centre of Knighton, which was crammed with stacks of found material which could be turned into future artwork.
The funeral took place on 22nd January at Westhope Green Burial Ground, near Craven Arms. Donations in memory are welcome to ‘The Welsh Group‘, a prominent association of artists of which Islwyn had been a member since 1959 – he took part in its recent 70th anniversary celebrations.
The Guardian has published an ‘Other lives’ obituary by David Moore. We would like to expand on that here, with a wider memorial of Islwyn’s life. Your contributions are encouraged, via comments below or the contact form.
The ‘Bunch of Artists‘ article on this site, which was inspired by Islwyn, has recently acquired a couple of new web links about/by him in the notes.
A fellow student of Islwyn’s at Cardiff College of Art in the 1950s, Ed Beavis, says:
You may have quite a surprise when comparing a young, beardless, Islwyn with the more familiar fully formed version. We followed different paths after our student days so I didn’t see him very often but writing this has brought back memories; one day he suddenly insisted that I give him a crew-cut; another time we rode on a motor-bike on the steam train through the Severn Tunnel; and then there was hitch-hiking …. a different way of doing things, way back.
Ed further adds that the reason for the Severn Tunnel trip was “to visit the Clevedon Pottery, which was closing down, and a Studio potter also somewhere in the area”.
Also see new on Cutlock & Co January 2020: ‘A tribute to Islwyn‘, recognising his contributions to his adopted town of Knighton.
An early mention of Islwyn in the Western Mail, 1st January 1958.
- Islwyn Watkins born April 1938 Tonypandy, died 30th December 2018 (Russells Hall Hospital, Dudley).
- Cousins who weren’t at the funeral may want to get in touch to be updated on what is happening around Islwyn’s estate.
- David Moore has produced a timeline of Islwyn’s artistic life and exhibitions as part of publicty material. We’ve got a copy of the chronology here. Possibly missing from this is some time in Llanelli, teaching and also running an artists’ supplies shop.