Tiwa Gallery Celebrates the Metaphysical Value of Welsh Woodlands

The group show includes newly commissioned designs by over 20 talents responding to gallery founder Alex Tieghi-Walker’s exploration of his heritage.

Tiwa Gallery

Since expanding into a strategically central Tribeca, New York, space last year, craft-focused gallery Tiwa Gallery has held a string of blockbuster solo and group shows highlighting era-defining creatives who transcend art and design while challenging culturally dictated limitations of shape and matter. Along with a select roster of nearby cutting-edge galleries like Jacqueline Sullivan and Superhouse, Tiwa Gallery has tapped into a growing desire amongst collectors to acquire well-made, expressive, and meaningful objects that translate age-old artisanal techniques into contemporary and relevant applications. It’s all about the tangibility of material, maintaining the imprint of the maker’s hand, and the suggestion of longevity, incorporating visual and formal references to relatable histories. A case in point, noted lighting designer Lindsey Adelman’s A Realm of Light collection recently debuted at the gallery: reimagined “old-world” oil lamps that require the user to slow down and reconsider how they carry out otherwise seemingly mundane daily tasks.

Tiwa Gallery’s founder Alex Tieghi-Walker’s latest showcase stems from his exploration of personal heritage and narrative: his especially rooted connection to the forests of southeastern Wales in which he grew up. Entitled Coetir—the Welsh word for “woodland”—the exhibition, on view June 21 to July 20, brings together a vast array of one-off collectible designs developed in response to this particularly folkloric touchpoint.



According to the gallery, this type of natural setting can have both ancient Celtic and pagan significance. Enchanted woodlands are where people are said to have encountered magical occurrences, events that inspired legends passed down through the ages. Tieghi-Walker deciphered this naturalistic influence through the physical characteristics of texture, light, and ambience but also the more metaphysical qualities of ritual and spirituality. He loosely prompted the 20 or so exhibiting talents to create bespoke works accordingly. They include recognized glass maverick Dana Arbib, experimental furniture maker Jeff Martin, and interdisciplinary upcycling practice Earth Landing Project.

“A strong guiding reference in my career as a gallerist has been my upbringing in Wales, a place with ancient language, culture, reverence for nature and all it offers, and its history of craft,” Tieghi-Walker says. “Rather than hitting the theme on the head, I wanted to explore a more nebulous and aesthetic interpretation of what ‘woodlands’ means to artists.” Staged as if part of a woodland meeting or burial site—made even more poignant given the show’s opening on the summer solstice—Coetir includes sculptural furnishings, ceramic adornments, and even a carefully blended fragrance.



Works on view include a sculptural chair by local heavyweight designer Minjae Kim and roughly hewn wooden furniture made from felled trees by highly sought-after West Coast talent Vince Skelly. The design takes on aptly primordial traits. Jim McDowell’s ceramic masks evoke ancestral forest spirits, while Emily Frances Barrett’s small-vessel series was made out of repurposed mudlark scraps sourced from a river bed. Tieghi-Walker tapped long-time Apparatus lighting brand collaborator Cinnamon Projects to create a scent eliciting the olfactory memory of damp rocks and ancient herbs.

“Forests are one of the most elemental ecosystems on earth—they are a confluence of life and death and everything in between. Trees exemplify the human relationship to nature,” Tieghi-Walker concludes. “In Celtic traditions, trees are revered as the ‘heart of the land’ and are believed to be the embodiment of the earth and its energy. As someone who now works and lives in bustling Manhattan, I find myself craving access to nature in a much greater physiological way these days.” Such a sentiment rings especially true as New Yorkers experience the first, particularly muggy heat wave of the 2024 summer season and dream of more temperate climes, perhaps those found in the forests of Wales.