Amgueddfa Blog: Ymgysylltu â'r Gymuned

Earlier this year I was presented with the chance of a lifetime, a paid opportunity to develop my professional career and expand my portfolio. I applied for an artist in residency with Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales, to work with their museum volunteers up and down the country, to create a project that would celebrate 10 years of the volunteering program. After a thoroughly exciting interview process, I was asked to join the team.

Fast forward 6 months and my Artist Residency has now reached a close. I’m very happy with the work I have created; it showers the volunteering hub in colour and celebrates the amazing contribution volunteers have given to the museum. It fills me with joy to share my work with such an enthusiastic cohort of volunteers from all walks of life.

I started designing the mural at the same time as touring the country and running creative workshops with volunteers. I had collected a long list of volunteer roles but understanding them in a way that helped me generate genuine visuals required meeting volunteers in person, visiting the sites and experiencing what they do first hand. Over a month or two, I managed to construct flowing imagery to turn into celebratory hanging banners - a design format that stood out during my research.

I created the design by hand, as I feel more comfortable using traditional techniques, then started the daunting task of rendering a digital copy of the work using Adobe Illustrator. Including this step was somewhat of a learning curve for me, but it’s been a valuable experience. Having a digital copy of the design meant that we could create prints for all the museum sites and a printed gift for each of the volunteers. It also sped up the painting process because it allowed me to use a projector.

Using string, pins and painters tape I divided the wall up into segments. Piece by piece I projected and copied details of the design upon the walls rough surface. The wall is made of lime rendering, which it turns out is not a very cooperative surface to paint on. It’s dry, so moisture from the paint is quickly absorbed which increases the amount of paint needed, the stroke count and the time it takes. It’s also rough, which slowly ruins brushes and pens.

Once the design was cartooned upon the wall, I chose to fill in large areas using low-pressure spray paint. This part of the process saved time and had the lucky benefit of creating a smoother plastic wrap over the wall. After filling the space with basic flat shapes I used brushes and pens to add details and definition with regular acrylic paints.

My goal was to create a design that was not only on brief, but functional, aesthetically pleasing and contained other layers of depth hidden below the surface. The hanging banner format is supposed to connote a sense of celebration and heraldry. The colour palette is reminiscent of the dyes used in the tapestries sewn by volunteers for Llys Llewelyn. I wanted the illustration style to be subtly influenced by welsh traditional craft and contain subtle suggestions of embroidery, slip-on cast tiles patchwork etc. I created the typeface used for the quotes contained in the artwork from some of the earliest welsh stone carvings found on a cross near Ogmore.

I’d been looking forward to the painting process since the very beginning, it was long and laborious but oh-so rewarding. Despite the fact that a large percentage of my wardrobe is speckled with a rainbow of vibrant acrylic, I really enjoyed physically crafting something.

I want to say the biggest thank you to everyone in the volunteering & community engagement department - especially Ffion & Haf - for checking in on me and giving me guidance and support, thank you to all the kind staff at St Fagans for making me feel welcome, thank you to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for providing the funding for this amazing opportunity, thank you to my partner Elin for driving me everywhere, but most of all the volunteers who have truly enriched my experience.

The last 6 months have been the best of my life. It has been so rewarding to work in a creative role where I feel valued. I’m going to miss working at Amgueddfa Cymru. 

If you'd like to know more about the project as it was happening you can have a look at Robin's previous blog


August is the most fragrant month here in St. Fagans gardens as we just finished trimming back and harvesting our lavender shrubs. We prune them at this time of the year to remove old flowers and give them a chance to grow new foliage before the Autumn/Winter months.

A well known favourite the lavender has a unique and distinguishable fragrance that is grown for ornamental, aromatic, medicinal and culinary purposes. They are sun loving plants and require a well drained soil.

Lavender is such a versatile plant suiting different garden styles and pleasing the most varied tastes. In St. Fagans you can find hundreds of plants of different species. You will see them in our herb garden, surrounding the fountain in the Dutch Garden, dotted amongst perennials in flower borders, as lavender hedges by the greenhouse and  complimenting the romantic style of the Rosery. A true aromatic heaven!

Lavandula is a genus of 47 known species, here you can find the well known Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’, the beautiful white flowers of the Lavandula x intermedia ‘Edelweiss’ and one of my favourites the Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’. This particular species is a hybrid cross between the Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender) and the Lavandula latifolia (Portuguese lavender). They are larger, more robust and have longer stalks with bluish purple flower heads making them perfect for cut flowers.

Lavender is also a wonderful culinary ingredient. Most varieties can be used in cooking, however the Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’ is more widely used. They taste great in cakes, scones, jams and as a tea. Add 1 tsp. of dried lavender flowers to a cup of water, let it steep for 10 minutes and enjoy! It’s perfect for calming the mind and helping you drift into dreamland.

When harvested most of our flowers are dried in our potting shed and used to create lavender bags, beautiful dried flower arrangements and other products that can be seasonally found in the Museum store. We also use them in our historic buildings as decoration and inside mattresses to repel insects as they would have done years ago.

Amgueddfa Cymru helped direct me to a career in heritage by drawing my attention to the possibility of a career in museums at a “career speed dating” event. I would go on to volunteer with National Museum Cardiff, whilst studying.

Volunteering as part of the museum’s preventive conservation team, we carried out a wide range of tasks from repackaging lichen, to carefully carrying jade, cleaning paintings currently on display all the while talking to the public about the importance of preventive conservation and promoting part of the Museum traditionally shielded from view. It could be just a few people or what seemed like hundreds of school children, every day brought a different experience.

Volunteering brought the reality of the sector and a chance to learn new skills and experiences which were invaluable to my understanding of what museums are and who they are for; fulfilling my personal reasons for volunteering.

The volunteer programme was flexible, reflecting my own needs not just its own. The programme allowed me to develop as I wanted and when it came time to end my time volunteering with Amgueddfa Cymru it was natural. I had succeeded in what I wanted to achieve, and I was supported to continue my development beyond the museum, not expected to stay when it was no longer practical.

I will always remember having the opportunity to be part of the preventive conservation team, I am sure the team will not forget my Elmer the Elephant style shirt, immortalised in many presentation slides and pull up banners (see photos). I now work for the Cynon Valley Museum as a Museum Co-ordinator and advocate for museums through EMP Wales (Emerging Museum Professionals) and FOH. 

Follow me on twitter: @TregaskesW @FoHMuseums @EMPCymru @cynonvalleymus

Move over Alexa, Ada the pianola’s back!

‘Alexa, play me a song by the Beatles! Alexa what about something by One Direction! Alexa, play something classical! Beethoven or Mozart. Alexa, Alexa, Alexa you are the must have gadget of the 21st century - but Alexa you don't always get it right?!

This is where I Ada, the Pianola comes in. Let’s travel back over a hundred years in time from 2019 to 1919 when I was in my heyday and see how I performed. I am, the first truly musical piano-playing device in the world. Listen to my specifications. They are quite impressive if I say so myself. I was designed and first made by Edwin Scott Votey in his workshop in Detroit in 1895. So even one hundred years ago I had already been around for nearly twenty five years.

‘What can you do?’ I hear you ask.

Well I can play any number of tunes you request…. Music hall songs, Christmas carols, nocturnes by Chopin to name but a few, and I make no mistakes! I do need a human to work the pedals and load the music scrolls. My sound is generated by the pianolist's feet, and controlled in pitch by a perforated music roll. When my pedals are pressed, I send air up through holes in a roll of paper to press my keys and hey presto I am in action. Sit back and enjoy my performance. With my help, anyone can make music.

‘So you don’t operate alone? ‘you ask.

Well neither do you Alexa, as far as I can see. You need wi-fi, monthly fees, speakers and human instructors.

I was around throughout the 20th century. But will you still be operating in 2119? Who remembers music cassettes and floppy disks now?

Who can tell? Who knows? But I think I am ageless. I can go on for ever.

Want to check me out for yourself?

If so, you will find me in the Oakdale Workmen’s Institute on the top floor in the grand ballroom. Pop in on a Wednesday morning and my volunteers Cheryl and Marie will show you the works. Before too long you too will be singing my praises.

Ym mis Awst fe groesawon ni deuluoedd o Gymdeithas Tai Taf yn Nhreganna ac Ysgol Gynradd Herbert Thompson yn Nhrelái (SHEP, Rhaglen Gwella’r Gwyliau Haf ‘Bwyd a Hwyl’) i Sain Ffagan i ymuno â ni ar gwrs garddio a choginio newydd i’r teulu, fel rhan o’r rhaglen addysg i deuluoedd sy’n cefnogi cynllun Cyfuno a’n hymrwymiadau o dan Deddf Llesiant Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol. Cafodd y rhaglen ei datblygu a’i chynnal mewn partneriaeth ag adran Ehangu Mynediad Prifysgol Fetropolitan Caerdydd a First Campus. Cafodd y teuluoedd gyfle i fwynhau diwrnod o ddysgu yn ymarferol am dyfu bwyd a’i gynaeafu, cyn coginio pryd maethlon gyda chynnyrch wedi’i hel o erddi Sain Ffagan.

Roedd hon yn fenter newydd i ni, ac wedi gweithio allan sut i osod cegin dros dro yn un o’r stiwdios, a chael gafael ar yr holl gyfarpar, roedden ni’n barod amdani.

Mae gerddi Sain Ffagan yn llawn cynnyrch gwych adeg yma’r flwyddyn – ffrwythau, llysiau a pherlysiau – llawer ohonynt yn fathau treftadaeth arbenigol. Fel arfer, caiff cnydau eu harbed a’r hadau eu cynaeafu er mwyn ailblannu’r flwyddyn wedyn, fel rhan o ymchwil parhaus i gnydau treftadaeth. Fodd bynnag, cafodd y teuluoedd fu’n cymryd rhan gyfle i archwilio’r gerddi gyda Juliet Hodgkiss, Uwch Guradur Gerddi. Bu Juliet yn eu dysgu am dyfu a chynhyrchu bwyd, cyn cynaeafu peth o’r cynnyrch i’w ddefnyddio yn y gegin. Ar ôl hel ffa dringo, bresych, shibwns a pherlysiau, roedd hi’n amser mynd nôl i’r dosbarth.

Yno roedd Dean Way, darlithydd mewn Rheoli Lletygarwch ym Mhrifysgol Metropolitan Caerdydd, wrth law i helpu’r teuluoedd i greu pryd hyfryd gyda’r cynnyrch. Dyma beth goginiodd y grwpiau talentog, gan ddilyn ryseitiau Dean:

Colslo Bresych a Ffenigl

½ fresychen fach wedi’i rhwygo

1 bwlb ffenigl, wedi’i dorri’n chwarteri a’i gratio

1 winwnsyn gwyn, wedi’i dorri’n denau

50g iogwrt

1 llwy fwrdd o finegr gwin gwyn

1 llwy fwrdd o siwgr mân

Halen a phupur


  1. Torrwch y fresychen yn ei hanner, ac yna yn ei chwarter a thynnwch y canol. Yna, gyda chyllell finiog torrwch y fresychen yn stribedi tenau.
  2. Torrwch y bwlb ffenigl yn chwarteri a thynnu’r coesyn – yna gratiwch gyda gratiwr bras.
  3. Pliciwch winwnsyn gwyn a’i dorri’n denau.
  4. Rhowch yr holl lysiau mewn powlen, a’u cymysgu’n dda. Cymysgwch yr iogwrt, y finegr a’r siwgr i’r llysiau, ac ychwanegwch ddigon o bupur du ac ychydig o halen. Gallwch gadw’r colslo wedi’i selio mewn oergell am hyd at ddau/dri diwrnod.
  5. I’w weini gydag wyau wedi’u berwi.


Salsa ffa dringo a thomato

3 coden ffa dringo

1 clof o garlleg, wedi’i dorri’n fân

1 winwnsyn coch canolig, wedi’i dorri’n fân

1 tomato mawr, wedi’i dorri’n fân

Sudd hanner lemon

1 llwy de o goriander ffres wedi’i dorri

½ llwy de o bowdr chilli

3 pinsiad o halen a phupur

½ llwy de o gwmin

4 llwy fwrdd o olew hâd rêp



  1. Pliciwch a thorrwch y ffa dringo’n fach a’u berwi’n sydyn mewn dŵr berwedig am ddau funud. Rhowch nhw mewn powlen o ddŵr oer nes maen nhw wedi oeri.
  2. Gwasgwch un clof garlleg a’i dorri’n fân.
  3. Torrwch un winwnsyn coch yn fach iawn.
  4. Torrwch un tomato mawr yn fân.
  5. Torrwch un lemon yn ei hanner
  6. Torrwch lond llaw o goriander yn fân
  7. Rhowch yr holl lysiau mewn powlen, a’u cymysgu’n dda. Cymysgwch yr HOLL gynhwysion a gwasgwch y sudd allan o hanner lemon mewn i’r gymysgedd.

Ar ôl y sesiwn goginio bu Dean yn rhoi gwybodaeth ddiddorol i’r grwpiau ar fwyta’n iach, gan edrych yn agos ar y braster a’r siwgr sy’n cuddio mewn cymaint o fwyd! Edrychwch ar y labeli golau traffig ar becynnau bwyd sy’n dangos os yw bwyd yn uchel (coch), canolig (oren) neu’n isel (gwyrdd) mewn braster, braster dirlawn, siwgr a halen. (NHS online: reference intakes explained)

Cwrs peilot oedd hwn, ac roedden ni gyd yn falch iawn gyda sut aeth pethau. Roedd y ddau grŵp wedi mwynhau eu hamser yn Sain Ffagan, a chawsom adborth hyfryd. Dyma rai o’r uchafbwyntiau:

“Cwrs gwych, fe wnes i fwynhau’n fawr!” (rhiant)

“Mae’r cwrs yn addysgiadol iawn ac fe wnaethon ni gyd fwynhau.” (plentyn)

“Rwy’n medddwl ei fod yn gwrs da iawn ac yn addysgiadol. Rhywbeth sy’n apelio at oedolion a phlant, ac yn gwneud i blant feddwl am fwyd o oed ifanc iawn.” (rhiant)

“Roedden ni’n cael blasu’r perlysiau wrth eu hel. Roeddwn i’n hoffi’r mint – roedd e’n blasu fel gwm cnoi. Yn yr archfarchnad mae perlysiau wedi eu sychu ac mewn pacedi felly allwch chi ddim arogli na chyffwrdd nhw.” (plentyn)

“Mae’r plant eisiau dechrau tyfu llysiau yng ngardd mam-gu – dwi erioed wedi eu gweld yn bwyta llysiau mor gyflym!” (rhiant)

Pan ofynnon ni iddyn nhw beth oedd eu hoff dri pheth am y cwrs, dyma atebion y teuluoedd:

“Dysgu sut i dorri llysiau, trio bwydydd newydd, coginio gyda mam.” (plentyn)

“Paratoi bwyd ffres gyda fy merch, cael dealltwriaeth well o fwyta’n iach, a chasglu llysiau ffres.”

“Hel llysiau, coginio a deall hanes.” (plentyn)

“Dysgu am fraster a siwgr.” (plentyn)

Nawr ein bod wedi profi’r dyfroedd, rydym yn edrych ymlaen at ddatblygu cyfleoedd pellach haf nesaf. Diolch i’r holl deuluoedd a gymerodd ran, ac i’r partneriaid am helpu i wneud i hyn ddigwydd.