Amgueddfa Blog

The National Wool Museum Exhibition of Hope was launched in April 2020. This was of course during the beginning of the national lockdown and I think it is safe to presume that no one could have predicted how successful it would be!

With support from the Ashley Family Foundation and Community Foundation Wales, the aim was to collect enough 20cm or 8inch rainbow coloured squares in order to weave together a substantial rainbow blanket to be displayed in the National Wool Museum, and then eventually at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea.

The idea of the rainbow colours was of course in accordance with the rainbow image, which during the national lockdown had became an important emblem.  The rainbow symbolised light at the end of the tunnel after a dark and uncertain time. The blanket would therefore hopefully become a symbol of peace, hope, community and spirit.

The project surpassed all expectations and collected in the range of 2,000 rainbow square pieces from all over the country. These squares were knitted, felted, woven or crocheted not only from wool, but from cotton, silk and other wonderful fibres that people had to hand.

 

 

Due to the overwhelming response and the restrictions placed on volunteers in meeting and creating one single blanket, a decision was made to make many blankets instead. As a result, museum staff and volunteers began joining the squares from home!

With now many blankets in the making, the project took off to a new level and purpose! Not only were these blankets going to become works of art, they would also be donated to charities, such as the homeless charity 'Crisis'. The project grew further when the South Wales branch of the 'Crisis' Charity shared the exhibition on their Facebook pages and even going as far as providing people with physical packs of wool and instructions.

The project further snowballed when it was featured in Adult Learners Week 2020, when two videos were released of National Wool Museum Craftsperson Non Mitchell showing how to create a felted and woven square.  Finally, maybe the biggest influence was when the Connect to Kindness Art Project, working alongside the Connect to Kindness Campaign and Carmarthenshire Association of Voluntary Services showcased the project in a collage of photos.

When I visited the exhibition recently, what I found fascinating is how, from humble beginnings, the project took on a life of its own and became more than simply helping create a blanket. Along with being beautiful pieces of art that could be enjoyed on their own merit, the blankets would now also help people in a physical and practical way!

In my opinion, what was lovely was how the exhibition has captured the array of positive feelings it had stirred in the volunteers and museum staff who took part in the project. I’m sure this was a somewhat unexpected or underestimated result of the project!

It was clear from the messages and notes received with the blanket squares, that it had brought many a sense of joy, achievement, comfort and a feeling of purpose. The blanket had brought people a sense of belonging and highlighted the feeling of community and what can be achieved when people "pull together" 

This is perhaps the most interesting factor of the project for me - the stories of those creating the squares. I am delighted that the exhibition is reflecting this by showing "stories of the squares" in a video to go along with the exhibition, which will also be available online.

I had the pleasure of watching the video when I visited the exhibition in Drefach Felindre, and it was amazing to hear of the different stories of those behind the squares. There were stories of the project uniting family and friends along with chapels and schools. The exhibition includes an image of rainbow hands by the children of Ysgol Penyboyr.

The effort which some had gone to was also amazing. A big shout out to Elwyna who knitted 350 squares!  One lady had even naturally dyed her wool in different rainbow colours.

One of the stories I found touching was of a lady who had recently lost her mother and who had left her a stash of yarn, mostly from America. Her mother had taught her to crochet and she felt the project was an amazing way to honour her mother's memory.

Crocheting also helped her deal with the grief during this time as she found it therapeutic and relaxing. Others also spoke of the art of crocheting and making the squares as being a therapeutic and relaxing process.

Another heart warming story was of how someone struggled with her memory and was overjoyed to discover that she remembered how to crochet.

These stories and indeed the whole exhibition being so visually bright and beautiful was very uplifting in what is still a fairly uncertain time.  The words of one volunteer perfectly summed up the meaning of the project for me - although we couldn’t "be together, we could work together".

The exhibition can be seen in the National Wool Museum of Wales until mid January 2022. A walk around the exhibition will also be available online. The Exhibition will move to Swansea’s Waterfront Museum in July 2022 - October 2022.

A lovely informal evening of cocktail making with Rob Jones, founder and editer of 'Blasus' Magazine. 'Blasus' is a bilingual, independent magazine, which aims to explore the stories, people and creativity behind the welsh food scene.

On the menu were the cocktails Cosmopoliton, Gin or Ange Crush and The Gin Fizz. The cocktails included vodka (five) from Penderyn, Blood orange and Rosemary Gin from Treganna Gin and a Welsh Sisters Gin.

I am not a cocktail connoisseur and I was a bit daunted that the cocktails would be complicated to make and that I would need an endless list of equipment and ingredients! This was farther from the truth, in fact the cocktails were easy to make and all I needed equipment wise was a knife, measurer, chopping board and if I didn’t have a cocktail shaker, I could use a flask! All three were in fact delicious and easy to make!

The concentration of the evening was of course on using Welsh produce and speaking directly to those who produced them. It was fabulous to hear about the various processes of distillation, the products themselves and of course about the people behind the products, especially as I do not have a lot of knowledge about the processes of making spirits! In fact, one of the facts I learnt was that all gins must contain juniper berries otherwise the drink can not  be defined as gin by law.

First up was Penderyn Whisky and spirits. Penderyn whisky is of course well known In Wales, but it is also well known all over the world and is available in 45 countries! On its way it has picked up over 70 double Gold/Gold/Masters awards! Such has been the success of their whisky and spirits, a new distillery opened in Llandudno in May 2021 and there are plans for a further distillery to be built in Swansea in 2022! Although it all began with whisky, they also do a fabulous selection of gin, rum, and vodka which was used in The Gin Fizz cocktail.

The succsess of Penderyn Whisky is impressive stuff considering it began with an idea by a group of friends in a pub in Hirwaun!  I suppose the pub is where most great ideas are dreamt up!  Whisky distilling in Wales was a lost art in the 1990's and this group of friends dreamed of creating a pure and precious Welsh whisky. They chose the village of Penderyn for its creation because of the supply of fresh natural spring water there.

We were told that one of the keys to Penderyn's success was the use of a single copper pot which enabled the all female distillery team to create a clean and flavourful spirit at an industry high of 92% ABV. This is very high in comparison to other distilleries who use the three pot lantern system which produces a spirit that comes off at a industry standard of 67% ABV.

At Penderyn, Whisky is aged and charred in the finest bourbon casts to remove any undesirable  chemical compounds and then is married with the water from the Brecon Beacons! A fabulous combination indeed!

Despite its amazing achievements, the Penderyn brand was no overnight success, it took over 12 years for Penderyn whisky to make profit! I guess good things do come to those who wait!

Next up was Mark Flanagan from Treganna Gin. A one man band with his wife helping with the "admin side" in a distillery in the surburban area of Canton, Cardiff where the gin is  distilled in small batches using copper alembic sills.

Mark was an actor and while finding that work was drying up decided in 2018 to embark on a gin making enterprise. He confessed that gin making was far quicker and a far less complicated process than whisky making!

All was going well with the business plan done, equipment bought and a website established. Then disaster struck- the pandemic! Instead of wallowing though, Mark decided to make hand sanitizer for the local community, seeing as he had the equipment to make it! This in turn gave him some positive exposure, which in turn helped him build his successful brand of gin.

Whilst thinking and experimenting with flavours he came up with the delicious combination of blood orange and rosemary gin. He went about to source the best oranges from Sicily, but again disaster struck when a volcano eruped in Sicily! Mark thought that this was the end of his Sicily orange dream! However, the oranges made it over even though his supplier did admit that they did initially "have some ash on them"!

From what began as a home project producing 20 bottles of gin at a time, a change of location and upgrade in equipment has meant that he is now producing 200 bottles in one go and even sells his gin at the St Ffagans National Museum History shop. You can also buy direct from his website with free delivery and free hand delivery in Cardiff! Mark admits that he prefers if you buy from him direct as he gets more profit this way!

 

Finally, Welsh Sisters gin, two sisters (Becky and Tania) originally from Cardiff, now create and sell award winning dry gin in a old draper's shop called Manchester House at the top of the town of New Quay in Ceredigion. Beginning in 2019, they now sell gin all over the world and their gin 'Morwyn' was awarded Best Contemporary Gin at the Welsh Gin Awards 2021.

The sea and the inspiring tales of women in their community is a huge influence and theme in their gin creations leading to gins named 'Morwyn', Portside and The Captain's Wife. Each gin has its own distinctive flavour and a unique story of women and their experiences of the sea.

The gin name 'Morwyn' was inspired by a sea goddess called 'Morwyn' who loved Rhysen a fisherman who dwelt in Ceredigion during ancient times. The gin Portside is in homage to the captain's wife who when pulled into port seeked her other sea sisters and spent time with them on portside. Whilst the gin The Captains wife is in reference to those Welsh woman from New Quay who sailed the world and who were even accomplished enough to take the ships wheel in the eye of a storm.

Their passion of the sea comes of course partly from growing up on the coast and from the experiences of their parents of the sea. Their father was a captain of square-riggs and windjammers in the West Indies. Whilst their mother was a descendant of the Kidwelly "wreckers" who looted ship wrecks.

In fact, such is their passion for the sea, they donate 1% of the sale each of 'Morwyn' and The Captain's Wife gin to the whale and dolphin conservation. Along with producing great gins these two sisters are leaving a wonderful legacy to the future of their beloved ocean.

And just like that it was the end of the session. An enjoyable, informative and relaxed evening with the added bonus of some lovely drinks! Next time you are after some spirits, please consider these Welsh made gems.

Helo Cyfeillion y Gwanwyn,

Rwyf isio rhoi diolch mawr i chi gyd am eich gwaith caled yn plannu eich bylbiau. Wnaethom ni plannu dros 10,000 o fylbiau ar draws y DU! Mi welais o’r llunia chafodd pawb llawer o hwyl yn helpu!

Wnaeth Cofnodion Tywydd cychwyn ar 1 Tachwedd. Mae 'na adnoddau dysgu ar y wefan i helpu paratoi am gymryd cofnodion tywydd. Rwyf wedi atodi hyn rhag ofn bod rhai heb ei gweld eto. Mae’r adnodd hyn yn helpu ymateb cwestiynau pwysig fel pam yw mesur tywydd yn bwysig i’n harbrawf.

Defnyddiwch eich siart tywydd i gofnodi'r glaw a’r tymheredd pob ddiwrnod y ydych yn yr ysgol. Ar ddiwedd yr wythnos, cofnodwch mewn i’r wefan i rannu eich canfyddiadau. Fedrwch hefyd gadael sylwadau a chwestiynau i fi ymateb yn fy blog nesaf!

Plîs gadewch i mi wybod sut ydych yn wneud, a rhannwch luniau trwy Twitter ac e-bost.

Daliwch ati Gyfeillion y Gwanwyn,

Athro’r Ardd

 

Sylwadau a rhannwyd hefo'r wythnos gyntaf o ddata tywydd:

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: This week was frosty and we had some frost in the morning. We’re looking forward to seeing the weather changes.

Oaklands Primary: Hi Professor Plant - it's been a dry but cold week here in Aberaman. Our first frosty day on Monday, lovely sunshine after a very rainy Hallowe'en which washed away all our labels. Luckily, we know which way round our bulbs were planted and we decided as a class that we'd make sure we look after everyone's pots so it doesn't matter that they are not individually named at the moment. Phew! See you next week!

Ysgol Penalltau: Diolch am y bylbiau, ond dim glaw yr wythnos yma!

Pil Primary School: It has been very cold and dry this week.

Darran Park Primary: The weather is a lot colder and drier this week

St Josephs Cathedral Primary: No rain records as rain gauge was lost. We have found this now so will take records from next Monday.

Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant: Roedd y glawiad yn uchel dydd Llun oherwydd fod llawer o law wedi syrthio dros hanner tymor.

Gyda'r cynnydd yn lefelau carbon deuocsid yn yr atmosffer a thymheredd byd-eang, mae taclo newid hinsawdd yn bwysicach nag erioed.

 

Yr wythnos hon cynhelir Cynhadledd Newid Hinsawdd y Cenhedloedd Unedig (COP26) yn Glasgow er mwyn ceisio uno'r byd i ymladd newid hinsawdd, ac dyma ni'n manteisio ar y cyfle i weld sut i greu amgueddeydd mwy gwyrdd.

 

Ym mis Medi 2019 dyma ni'n ymuno ag eraill i ddatgan argyfwng hinsawdd ac ecolegol byd-eang. Dros y 10 mlynedd nesaf a thu hwnt byddwn yn lleihau ein hôl-troed carbon a'n heffaith ar yr amgylchedd.

 

Ein hyfforddiant

Rydym wedi datblygu cwrs hyfforddi ar lythrennedd carbon, wedi ei achredu gan yr Ymddiriedolaeth Garbon. Mae dros 100 o staff bellach yn garbon llythrennog, ac rydym yn edrych ymlaen i ddarparu'r hyfforddiant i weddill ein staff dros y flwyddyn nesaf.

Rydym hefyd wedi derbyn statws Sefydliad Carbon Llythrennog Lefel Efydd am ein hyffroddiant, a byddwn yn cymryd rhan yn y Diwrnod Gweithredu Lythrennedd Carbon cyntaf ar 1 Tachwedd. Fel rhan o'r hyfforddiant, gwnaeth staff addewidion i leihau eu hôl-troed carbon, a recordio fideo byr:

 

Ein Staff

I'n helpu i ddod yn garbon niwtral, rydym wrthi yn recriwtio Cydlynydd Datblygiad Cynaliadwy. Byddant yn llywio ein hymateb i'r argyfwng amgylcheddol drwy ddatblygu ein cynllun gweithredu rheoli carbon a phrojectau lleihau carbon a rheoli tir gwyrdd. Edrychwn ymlaen at rannu mwy gyda chi'n fuan!

 

Ffyrdd o weithio

Ar hyn o bryd mae’r ymgynghorwyr GEP Environmental yn cynnal Adolygiad Carbon ym mhob amgueddfa. Bydd yr adolygiad yn dangos beth yw ein hôl troed carbon presennol, ac yn adnabod cyfleon i leihau ein carbon ym mhob agwedd o'n gwaith. Bydd hefyd yn cyfrannu at nod Llywodraeth Cymru o greu sector cyhoeddus carbon niwtral erbyn 2030.

Arddangosfeydd ac Allestyn
Bydd newid hinsawdd a chynaliadwyedd yn dod yn rhan o'n rhaglenni arddagnosfeydd ac addysg cyhoeddus. Bydd yr arddangosfa mwynau sydd ar y gweill yn edrych ar effaith amgylcheddol gwrthrychau bob dydd fel ffonau symudol.

Ein digwyddiadau
Rydym wastad yn chwilio am ffyrdd o wneud ein gweithagreddau yn fwy cynaliadwy. Byddwn unwaith eto yn cynnal y digwyddiad cynaliadwyedd Olion i sbarduno eraill i weithredu.

 

Ein hymgysylltu

Diolch i 700 o wirfoddolwyr a 100 o bobl ifanc greadigol (Cynhyrchwyr Amgueddfa Cymru) rydym yn hyrwyddo llythrennedd carbon drwy gydweithio â phobl ifanc. Drwy gydweithio â chymunedau gobeithiwn greu Cymru fwy gwyrdd a gwneud yn siŵr fod popeth a wnawn yn llesol i'r amgylchedd.

 

Amlinelliad person aur gyda swigen lleferydd gyda'r testun 'Carbon Literate Organisation Bronze'

What is the Youth Forum?

So what is the youth forum? We have a Youth Forum at each of our Museums across Wales. Young people aged 14-25 are encouraged to be partners in decision making and organising activities. The forums explore the views of young people and will address issues they think are important. At the moment we meet online, but are looking forward to getting back together in real life once restrictions ease.

What do we do?

Amgueddfa Cymru’s Youth Forums have been involved in lots of exhibitions and activities, such as:

  • Kids in Museums Takeover Day and Teen Twitter Takeover Day
  • Writing blogs
  • Writing an alternative interpretation booklet [PDF] for the exhibition Fragile? at National Museum Cardiff (Funded by Colwinston Charitable Trust)
  • Producing a cartoon map, Our Cardiff, to coincide with Treasures on display in National Museum Cardiff with artist Huw Aaron.
  • Building a bread oven at Bryn Eryr, Iron Age farmstead, St Fagans National Museum of History.
  • Delivering and displaying an Ethnic Youth Support Team project, Chips, Curry and Cappuccino (Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund), National Waterfront Museum.

About us

There are currently over 20 of us in the Youth Forum, and we are always looking for new members! Meet a few of our members below to get to know us better:

"Hello and welcome to our blog! My name is Arthur and I have only recently joined the National Museum Wales Youth Forum. As soon as I turned fourteen, I took advantage of the opportunity to become a member, as it combines my love of history and passion for young people’s rights. 

During my first meeting, I discovered that I am, in fact, the youngest member. However, I was engaged in all discussions and felt as though I had been a part of the group forever. Already, I have found out about different routes into museum careers which, I am sure, will prove beneficial in the future. I realise that it can be daunting being one of the younger participants in a 14-25 group, but I would encourage anyone who is intrigued by the past to come along."

Arthur

"Hi, I’m Rosie, I’m currently in Year 13 studying for my A levels. Youth Forum is an amazing opportunity to get involved in unique projects and to learn more about the work of the museum. As well as an opportunity for young people to have a say in the development of the sector, for example, Youth Forum have recently been involved in the development of the forthcoming Amgueddfa Cymru 10-year Strategy"

Rosie

"Hey I’m Kirsten and I study an MSc at Cardiff University! I joined the Youth Forum to deepen my understanding and further my experience with museums but I also love this opportunity to play a part in the representation of young people. I have really enjoyed working with my fellow members to produce exciting content to share with you and I hope you enjoy it!" 

Kirsten

"Hi, I’m Millie and I’m currently studying MA Curating at UWE, Bristol. I joined Youth Forum to gain further insight into museums, exhibitions and participation in the sector. Youth forum has provided invaluable insights into Amgueddfa Cymru - ones which I wouldn’t have been able to experience otherwise. It’s great to see that our voices impact changes at the museum and that we can create meaningful work as one team. Youth forum is a friendly, relaxed environment and I am proud to be a member!"

Millie

"Hi, I’m Meliha and I study history at Warwick University! I have lived in Cardiff all of my life and have been to the Amgueddfa Cymru museums more times than I can remember, so being able to be part of the Youth Forum has been great- I get to input my ideas and have a voice in something that I’ve always admired. Even from university I have been able to get involved with museum projects, so I am excited for us to start sharing what we have all been doing!"

Meliha

"Hi I'm Holly and I have recently submitted my final dissertation for my MA in Classical Studies through the Open University. I joined the Youth Forum at the start of lockdown in March 2020 with a view to learning about the museum and working in the heritage sector through volunteering experience. It has been wonderful to work with like-minded young people to work on projects and discuss history, social issues, heritage, and our community. I look forward to future projects in the coming year. "

Holly

 

What are we going to be doing?

Over the coming months we’ll be sharing updates on projects that we’re working on plus some of our favourite things from the museum.

How to join us

We’re always open to new members, so if you’re aged 14-25 and would like to join us, please email volunteering@museumwales.ac.uk or follow this link Youth Forums (14-25) | National Museum Wales