Oriel Myrddin teamed up with NAWR to organise the very first Criw Celf for teachers and what a week it was!

We had 13 incredible individuals join us from various schools and backgrounds who took time out of their summer to join us for 5 intensive days of art workshops hosted by some fantastic local artists.

On Monday we kicked off the week with Mary Sikkel, who worked with our teachers on 3D construction methods, drawing and collage. They created small sculptures from toothpicks and midget gems then larger, geometric cardboard pieces in the afternoon. Our teachers also completed a series of drawing activities to record their work using pen and collage. These techniques and materials link to cross curricular themes in maths, design and technology and recycling.

Tuesday we had a visit to Coleg Sir Gar where lecturers Nia Lewis and Llio James worked with us to explore low tech knit and weave methods. We learnt how to reimagine images into colour blocks with thread and how to use the heat press to fuse plastic materials to form a base for sewn or woven embellishments.

We were treated to a printmaking session with the lovely Alan Williams on Wednesday, who walked us through methods for printing without a press. This included lino, collagraph and mono printing. The results were beautiful and the techniques could be applied to a range of subjects and themes.

Artist Seren Stacey joined us on Thursday to explore drawing in its many forms. Using NAWR’s free resource of ‘see, sense, draw’ as a basis for the activities, our participants worked with different materials to practice a more free and expressive way of using drawing to develop a ‘drawing vocabulary’ and build confidence in 2D media.

To complete our week we hosted an animation session with Bill Taylor Beales from Hushland Creative. To help our teachers meet their digital competency frameworks we used the apps ‘chatterpix’ and ‘stopmotion’ along with iMovie to create fun animated sequences from the seemingly mundane. Much laughter ensued and it was a lovely way to end the week!

We had some incredible feedback from our participants:

‘Everything was fantastic – really high quality training with really lovely people’

‘Animation will be integrated into current projects and used to peer and self-assess – gives pupils a voice and an animated face.’

‘This has been an amazing week – motivating and inspiring. I will use aspects of all workshops in my classroom practice.’

‘Lots of ideas for the classroom and techniques which are simple to do and apply and also cheap!’

‘I will use many of the ideas in my future practice. Very exciting!’

‘Being taught by an expert in a small group away from school demands has been invaluable.’

A huge thank you to all the teachers who participated in this event, I hope you found it useful and are full of ideas for the new term.

Another big thank you to NAWR who have made this possible through their funding and support with technical equipment.

Lastly, a thank you to the artists who led such brilliant sessions and shared their expertise.

I very much hope we will be able to repeat this next year!

 

On 28th June 2019 Sixth Form students from Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn came to Oriel Myrddin to ‘takeover’ my role as Education and Research Officer for the day. Takeover Day is a national event planned by ‘Kids in Museums’ who aim to give young people vital work experience in the cultural sector. They planned and delivered a workshop to students from Years 7 and 8 around the theme of ‘Flying the Flag for Human Rights’ to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Each pair of students was given a ‘right’ to use as a theme for the creation of a flag. They were encouraged to think about ways of making and make choices about materials so that each one was unique. The rights included ‘the right to shelter’, ‘the right to privacy’ and ‘the right to safety.’

The Sixth Formers did a wonderful job at researching the theme, deciding upon materials to offer and delivering the lesson. The final flags will be stitched and displayed by their Art teacher Ms Essex who was also instrumental in helping this project go ahead.

We can’t wait for next year!

A huge thank you to the students from Ysgol Gyfun Emlyn, Ms Essex, the Fly the Flag campaign and Kids in Museums making it happen.

 

 

 

 

A level photography students from Welsh medium Carmarthenshire school Ysgol Maes Y Gwendraeth collaborated with Oriel Myrddin Gallery and artist Grainne Connolly to create double exposure photography inspired by memories of washdays past, gathered through our older people’s project Atgofion O’r Golchdy.

Thank you to the following students from Ysgol Maes Y Gwendraeth for creating these photographs: Nathan Davies, Cara Edwards, Fern Elder, Bethany Flear, Charlotte French,Manon Jones, Chloe Lewis, Jenni Norris, Megan Samuel, Jessica Thomas, Ffion Thomas, Aimee Priller

Press play to listen to washday memories from elders at Cartref Cynnes Extra Care Scheme, speaking with artist penny d jones.

 See English transcript below:

One of the most important things is that they go to a library, so that we don’t forget them. We’ve aged now, but my memories go back to the forties so I remember my grandmother washing clothes in a wooden tub that had a washboard in the back. We lived in an industrial village although the streets were narrow, but all the washing was done outside the house, of course, as we didn’t have the machines that are available today. And in that time, much happened on the coal fire as well – we’d boil the clothes so that they’d shine white on the clothes line and a part of that was also the starch. You had to make your own starch. I remember helping my grandmother with it when I was a child. You used a packet of Robin starch to make it. You’d put a spoonful of starch in a bowl with some boiling water and then you’d leave it to cool and you’d make it to the consistency you wanted. You’d need heavy starch for white collars with lace. You’d put children’s bonnets that were full of frills in heavy starch. For something lighter, you’d put sugar starch on it, but that was more in the 1960s, when I used to dance in frilly clothes.

I remember the blue bag. It went into the water, and it would add a touch of blue to the water to make the clothes shine whiter. It was a long process to be honest. It was a full day of washing and if it rained, well it was terrible!

You had to wash on Mondays. Each day had a specific quality in those days. Mondays were wash days. We’d iron on Tuesdays, and Fridays were airing days. And baking bread, you’d come home from school and you’d smell the bread all over the house. They’d start at the back door, the bread would rise, and someone would shout “don’t open [sic] that door, don’t let the air come in or the bread will collapse.”

I was brought up in Tumble. And before that, I lived in a place called Capel Seion. I had three grandmothers; one great-grandmother and two grandmothers, and I used to run in and out of their houses so I learnt a lot from them, because we learn from older people.

There were miners in my family. My father worked in the coal mines. My father was a blacksmith. He used to shoe horses that went underground, and his clothes got very dirty. If you think of my father’s family, there were eleven children and eight of them were men working in the coal mines. You can imagine how much washing there was!

My family were farmers. Hard-working men, lots of washing, in the north. Remember ‘Feet in the Stocks’ (Traed Mewn Cyffion) by Kate Roberts – people worked in the quarries. While there were coal mines in the south! Lot of work getting them clean, I’m sure.

And of course, mining villages had narrow streets. With luck, Tumble had a wide street, and so it was like a motorway, but my grandfather said that we were lucky in Tumble because the high street wasn’t close to it. When it was built, there was a river running down it so they had to expand the streets. The farms were still there, but their way of life changed a bit. They were smallholdings and they didn’t have any space. It was lovely looking down that street on washday because you’d be able to see all the clothes.

And how did they get the clothes clean? Well, they used a washboard and a dolly. It was made of copper and had a handle, and until recently we used it for many things, but it’s an ornament now. And when the children come over they say, “oh, it’s like a museum here, Margaret!”

The dolly would go into the wooden tub with the clothes at the bottom, and instead of putting your hands into the water, you’d use the dolly to pound the clothes up and down, up and down, up and down.

Were the clothes made of corduroy?

There was a different way of washing woollen clothing, and trousers for the coal mines were even thicker. The shirts were made of flannel, of course. My grandfather had a flannel shirt, and all the collars came separate, and those had to be hung to dry. They trapped the heat, not like modern-day materials. I don’t like synthetic materials personally, because they trap heat to the body and it creates a bad odour. But we had wool and home-spun cloth, and the clothes were handmade – my mother was a seamstress, so they would make all the shirts but they’d buy the collars. White, studded collars.

There weren’t any men at all in our house, because my father died when I was three years old. My mother would go around farms then. I remember one farm we used to clean. We’d clean the whole house and do the ironing, all for one crown.

How much is a crown worth now? 50p?

How did she dry clothes on wet days? She wouldn’t be able to iron in the afternoon.

I remember our first spin dryer in the house. This was our first machine, made by Hoover, and it shook all over. It made things easier, I was about ten years old then, so that was about 60 years ago now.

But did you know that I remember the washing machine before it was electrical? You had to turn it, and the mangle was above it. I remember my mother always saying “be careful of the mangle with your small hands”. My small hands could fit into the mangle. But it wasn’t electric. It was very tiring!

Sometimes, there’d be a separate mangle, maybe outside, out the back, at the back of the house, and that was on a stand, and you’d put anything big and heavy in it, like bed sheets. And when I was a child, one of the first things I remember was “you stay there now, and you can turn the wringer”, and you could feed in the clothes and the tub beneath it would take the water. The only thing harder was churning butter, turning those big handles. It was worse than washing!

There is a poem about the days before washing with soap – ‘The Lover’s Shirt’ (Crys y Mab) from the 15th century, about a girl washing her lover’s shirt beneath the bridge in Cardigan, “as I was washing under a span of the bridge of Cardigan, and in my hand my lover’s shirt with a golden beetle to drub the dirt”. I wonder what a beetle would be now? Maybe something similar to the washboard? And what did they do without soap?

Salt was used to get stains out.

There have been several types of soap over the years. There was Carbolic soap, Lifebuoy soap, Puritan, and they didn’t have washing powder. So you had a block of hard soap.

 

 

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During the summer holidays 6 young people took part in an intensive two-day art workshop with artist Daniel Trivedy to attempt their second level of Arts Award: Explore.  The exhibition ‘A New Niche for Nature’ was the starting point for range of art activities all of which explore the themes of the exhibition which explores the fragile relationship of plants at the river’s edge and creatively imagines solutions to preserve the health of the river Towy. Inspired by the idea of river filters they created animated gifs imagining biospheres floating in the river! They also played games, interviewed gallery staff, made lino blocks and printed a big group artwork, created and recorded a soundscape and…. presented their work to an audience!  

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