A new gallery and creative space is signalling hope for the High Street in Llandysul.

Owner and artist Sue Dewhurst recently opened Oriel Haywire in historical Bradford House.

Sue said: “Having returned to Wales two years ago, my partner Dave and I fell in love with Llandysul.

“We immediately saw the potential of siting our gallery here in this welcoming town steeped in history, with beautiful river walks, great cafes and pubs, the Paddlers and of course the famous Cariad Glass art emporium across the road and Acorn Studio adjacent.”

Sue has worked as an artist and freelance arts professional for 30 years.

“I wanted to put down roots and concentrate on my own practice,” she said.

“When this unit came up, in such a characterful building, I jumped at the chance.

“A lot is said about the death of the High Street and the economic down turn is a daunting time to launch a new venture.

“I have confidence that this is a fantastic time to bring something a little different to the art world, more of a down to earth approach rather than purely a commercial gallery.

“I think people want something where they can call in and chat, book to do workshops but also participate in a more immediate way too. I don’t like galleries where there is a hushed atmosphere; I want raucous laughter and music. I want people who have never set foot in a gallery before to pop in.”

Sue has two ongoing cartoon relays (one English one Cymraeg) where visitors of all ages are encouraged to add the next bit of the story. Once the sketch books are complete,, Sue hopes to get them printed, instantly turning all participants into published authors and illustrators.

“Such free activities are a great incentive to get people out of their houses to try something a bit different and meet up with friends.

“I shall be proof reading avidly though, at a previous gallery where I did a similar activity, a rude bit about a donkey slipped through the net. I still have nightmares.”

The paintings on the walls are Sue’s two collections, Rural Lives, all things agricultural heritage in honour of the farming community who have supported her since her exhibition last May at the Pwerdy Powerhouse, and the Owd Lasses who have a dedicated boudoir at the back of the gallery. The Owd Lasses are cheeky vignettes depicting the plight of the sassy, strong, often invisible older women in society who say it how it is.

“Let’s appreciate these feisty older women while they are still around, said Sue.

“They may not be your cute grannies who knit, but they can certainly give you a great tip on the horses.”

Their boudoir – complete with chaise lounge and stockings drying on an airer – is a place for people to sit and reminisce.

Dave Parry, Sue’s partner, is a green wood worker having come in from the cold. He worked in conservation for 30 years including 11 years building the footpaths and drystone walls on Cader Idris.

“I used to fell trees for a living, but having run a Men’s shed project in Yorkshire became keen on working with wood instead of just burning it,” he said.

“It is a fantastic way to spend your time and hugely therapeutic too.”

Dave will be looking to run workshops later in the year.

The space also displays innovative eco jewellery, ceramics, repurposed bicycle art, metalwork and fused glass.

Oriel Haywire is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm, but please check if making a special journey. Oriel Haywire can be found at Unit 2, Bradford House, King Street, Llandysul, opposite the bus stop.