Student Blog

Meet Sian – our Christmas Card Workshop Tutor

Maura: Hi Sian! Welcome to Biel. You have just driven over from Wales, is that right?

Sian:   Yes I have and I am 53 and just about to embark on a new adventure in Biel – proof you are never too old to start a new adventure! I have worked for myself for the past 20 years, mainly as an Architectural Technician, as well as being commissioned to do some of the projects . I am also a Shepherdess during lambing season and at shearing time!

Maura: A shepherdess: that’s a standout on your CV! Did you grow up in the country?

Sian: Sort of! Although I am English growing up I lived and studied in Kuwait, as well as going to boarding school in the UK, before completing my education in Art and Photography in Chester. I later studied to become an Architectural Technician and I have lived in North Wales for the past 13 years.

Maura: You really have an international background because you have Celtic name. Is that correct?

Sian: Yes I do! Siân (pronounced Sharn) is originally a Welsh name, the English equivalent is Jane. My father is Welsh, and, although my parents hoped for a boy which they were planning on calling Siôn (Shaun), they had me instead, a girl…. And so Siân I am.  The circumflex over the ‘â’ makes this a long ‘a’, and in Welsh ’si’ is pronounced as ‘sh’, so in Welsh the word for shop is siop…  they both sound the same.

Maura: So how does someone living in Wales discover Biel and be inspired move here?

Sian:    When I was 16, I spent a summer in Lausanne, the memory of which stayed with me. Last year I spent some time in Grindlewald cycling (it was very hilly!) before passing once again through Lausanne. This year I had the opportunity to compete in my age group for team GB in triathlon, I was looking for a place to do some training and saw the perfect opportunity to come back to Switzerland. Lausanne was a little too big for what I had in mind, so after looking around a few lakes, I settled on Biel…. and it is perfect with both flat and hilly cycling, a beautiful lake to swim in and amazing running along the canals. Naturally, I fell in love with it! There is the perfect mix of city and country life, and I have rarely been somewhere where the people were so welcoming, and by the end of the month it felt like home. After returning to Wales, I was fortunate to become involved in creating a mascot for Eisplanade, I am sure you will all soon meet little Inu!  I then found myself at a crossroads in my life which gave me the opportunity to choose where I wanted to be. For me it was an easy choice – Biel.

Maura: You are going to give a Workshop for us in Christmas card making on Thursday. Where do your artist talents spring from?

Sian:  I have always been artistic from a very young age, if I wasn’t drawing, I was making, if I wasn’t making I was creating. I would spend hours on wrapping a gift making it into a small work of art! Throughout my life I have found ways of having art in my life, through photography; drawing; painting; writing; poetry; sewing and have turned my hand to any number of crafts, some more successfully than others I have to say! When you meet me be sure ask me about my disastrous but hilarious attempts at spinning wool! I love to get ‘lost’ in a piece of artwork, I never know where the time goes when I am engrossed in a project. There is immense joy in seeing how it turns out and ultimately making the recipient happy.

Maura: Tells us about some of the other artistic projects have you done?

Sian: I have done many artistic projects, from creating bespoke wedding invitations; hand painted pictures for special occasions; created hand sewn/drawn wedding table plans; made silver and semi precious stone bead bracelets; made Christmas decorations along with making a variety of things for local shows. These have included a felted handbag; a printed skirt made up of photographs printed onto calico; a felt and mixed media Autumnal piece; a slate mirror and the list goes on! As long as I am doing something creative I am happy, I am even happier when I can pass on those skills.

Maura: You certainly sound qualified enough! What are you looking forward to about the workshop?

Sian:  I am looking forward to showing people how really easy and fun it can be to create something lovely and hopefully igniting a little spark to inspire them to carry on creating long after the course is over. I love to see people be able to achieve something they perhaps never thought possible. I am also looking forward meeting and being able to chat with lots of new people and sharing different ideas, I am sure I’m going to learn a lot too!

Maura: Thanks again for your time Sian. Good luck with the settling in Biel and we are really looking forward to the Workshop.


Submitted by Maura Hannon, November 6th, 2018

Checked and posted by Maura

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