Amgueddfa Blog: Tecstiliau

The early 18th century court mantua from Tredegar House is perhaps the most well-known dress in the collection of Amgueddfa Cymru. Donated to the Museum in 1923 by Lord Tredegar, the mantua is currently on show in the Wales is… gallery at St Fagans.

Last year, we commissioned Kate Barlow – a maker and needlework teacher, originally from Mold – to replicate a motif from mantua’s heavily embroidered petticoat. This beautifully crafted tactile piece is now on display alongside the dress in the gallery. Here, Kate explains how she went about replicating the motif, and how she became a professional embroiderer.

Can you tell me how you got into embroidery?

From a very early age, I always loved to draw and paint and make things. My Nan was the kind of lady who could do all kinds of crafty things and she taught me to sew and to do embroidery. I went on to study Theatre Design at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and specialised in costume. I worked for a few years as a freelance costume maker and then joined the wardrobe department at the Welsh National Opera. I stayed with WNO for nearly eight years and loved my job very much, but I missed being creative. I decided to take the plunge and re-train as a professional embroiderer and tutor at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace. After three years of intensive training, I graduated with distinction in 2016 and haven’t looked back since.

How did you go about replicating the motif from the mantua – what were the steps/processes involved?

I chose a motif from the original mantua that would make sense on its own and work well as a stand-alone piece. I then chose threads and wires that replicated the originals as closely as possible, and sourced a teal coloured silk satin as the ground fabric. 

To transfer the motif to the silk, the design was drawn onto tracing paper and tiny holes were pricked along the lines with a needle to create the ‘pricking’. The tracing paper was then pinned to the silk which had been laced into an embroidery frame. Pounce powder made from ground charcoal and cuttlefish bone was rubbed through the holes of the pricking and the paper removed. Excess pounce was blown away and the dotted lines were painted over using watercolour paint, a fine paintbrush and a very steady hand! Once the painted lines are dry the stitching can start. 

Goldwork embroidery has to be worked in a certain order, with any padding being done first. Then the check thread and smooth passing threads are couched down, any loose ends are ‘plunged’ through to the back of the work and stitched down. The cutwork is always stitched last as it is quite fragile. Wire check and smooth purl resemble tiny springs and are made from very fine wires. These can be cut to the right lengths and stitched down in the same way as a bead. The thread used to stitch the goldwork down is always run through beeswax to protect and strengthen it. Goldwork threads, particularly cutwork, can be quite sharp and can damage the sewing thread. The beeswax helps to prevent this.

How long did it take you from start to finish?

From choosing the motif to taking the final stitches, the whole process took over 15 hours. 

Do you have any thoughts on the design and skill level of the embroidery on the mantua?

The mantua is made from silk damask which would have been costly on its own, but the amount of metal thread embroidery would have made it a very expensive purchase when new. The mantua would definitely have made a statement when it was worn, the embroidery would have truly sparkled, especially in candlelight. The embroidery would have been done by an experienced craftsman. Working with metal threads is very different from other embroidery techniques and requires a great deal of skill. 

Do you have a favourite embroidery technique or a favourite period in embroidery history?

I don’t really have a favourite embroidery technique, but I really like the effects that can be created with blackwork. Black threads on white linen can look stunning. I’m bit of a magpie and love anything that sparkles. I like using goldwork techniques with coloured metal threads and wires. I also love the stumpwork that was stitched in the late 1600s and early 1700s. The level of detail, the fineness of the stitching, the figures and motifs are all fascinating. The skill involved can be exceptional, particularly when there was no artificial light to help.

What does embroidery give to you? How does it make you feel?

There are endless possibilities with embroidery. Beautiful things can be created with just a needle and thread. There are so many different techniques, I feel like there is always something new to learn and always room for improvement. I really enjoy recreating historical embroidery. Most of the techniques and tools used in hand embroidery haven’t changed much in hundreds of years and stitching period designs gives a little window into the lives of stitchers past.

Caiff Cadair Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Caerdydd 2018 ei noddi gan Amgueddfa Cymru, i nodi 70 mlynedd ers sefydlu Sain Ffagan Amgueddfa Werin Cymru.

 

Mae Sain Ffagan wedi bod yn hyrwyddo crefftwaith Cymru ers agor ym 1948, ac mae noddi Cadair yr Eisteddfod yn ffordd addas o ddathlu hyn. Chris Williams gafodd y fraint o ddylunio a chreu'r Gadair eleni.

Mae Chris yn gweithio fel cerflunydd ac mae'n aelod o'r Royal British Society of Sculptors. Mae'n byw yn Pentre, ac mae ganddo weithdy ac oriel yn Ynyshir, Rhondda.

Cafodd elfennau o'r gadair eu creu yn Gweithdy, adeilad newydd cynaliadwy yn Sain Ffagan, sy'n dathlu sgiliau gwneuthurwyr ddoe a heddiw - a lle mae cyfle i ymwelwyr o bob oed droi eu llaw at grefftau o bob math. Yno, bu Chris yn arddangos ac yn rhannu'r broses o greu'r gadair gydag ymwelwyr – y tro cyntaf i hyn ddigwydd yn hanes Cadair y Genedlaethol.

Tapiwch ar y cylchoedd isod, wrth i Chris esbonio'r broses o greu cadair eiconig Eisteddfod Caerdydd:

  • O'r Aelwyd i'r Orsedd

    Cadair Eisteddfod 2018 trwy lygad y saer

  • Yr Ysbrydoliaeth

    Mae cadair Eisteddfod 2018 wedi'i ysbrydoli gan gadeiriau ffon Cymreig, fel hon yn Ffermdy Cilewent, Sain Ffagan

  • Dathlu Crefft Cymru

    Dewiswyd y garthen hon am ei phatrwm manwl - a ddaeth yn briff nodwedd y gadair

  • Y deunydd crai - pren llwyfen ac onnen - yn cyrraedd y gweithdy yn Pentre

  • Dyluniwyd y gadair fel model cywir ar Rhino 3D. Galluogodd hyn i mi fesur yn fanwl er mwyn creu jigiau a thempledi ar gyfer y breichiau a'r coesau

  • Mae sedd a chefn y gadair o'r un goeden lwyfen. Rhaid oedd sandio'r pren er mwyn datgelu'r graen - a gweld a oedd nam ar y pren sydd angen ei ystyried

  • Fe wnes i'r gwaith siapio yn Gweithdy, oriel grefft newydd Sain Ffagan. Roedd yn braf gallu rhannu'r broses o greu'r gadair gyda'r cyhoedd

  • Addurnwyd y cefn a'r sedd yn defnyddio laser Co2 - mawr yw'r diolch i gyngor Caerffili am gael defnyddio'r engrafwr! Ysbrydolwyd y patrwm cain gan garthen a wehyddwyd ym Melin Esgair Moel yn 1960. Mae'r felin (a'r garthen) 'nawr yn Sain Ffagan.

  • Roedd clampio'r pren ar gyfer yr uniad yn broses gymhleth, a roedd angen nifer o glampiau hir i reoli'r pwysau

  • Cafodd y testun hefyd ei engrafu â laser. Gwnaed hyn ar ddarn fflat o onnen, a gafodd ei lamineiddio i'r fraich gyda nifer fawr o glampiau

  • Gludo'r coesau yn eu lle

  • Bron â gorffen... Morteisio'r cefn yn ei le

  • Troi'r breichiau o gwmpas y cefn i greu uniad unigryw, a'i ludo yn ei le. Caiff y coesau bychain eu hychwanegu, a'u gosod gyda lletemau

  • A dyma hi yn ei holl ogoniant - cadair Eisteddfod 2018. Pob lwc i'r holl gystadleuwyr!

The Museums Association Conference of 1948 was held at National Museum Cardiff over five days, running from July 12th to the 16th. All conference meetings were held in the Reardon Smith Lecture Theatre, while an area within the Zoology Department was used as Association Office, Writing Room and Smoke Room.

We know the majority of host duties would have been carried out by Frederick J. North, who was Keeper of Geology and Archibald H. Lee, Museum Secretary, because they are listed on the programme as Honorary Local Secretaries. It is most likely we have them to thank for the ephemera held in the Library, including copies of the programme, associate and staff badges, reception invites, day trip tickets and the official group photograph, taken on the steps of the Museum.

The first day of the conference began with registration, followed by a Council meeting and visit to Cardiff Castle and a reception at the South Wales Institute of Engineers in the evening. The programme states this event as requiring Morning dress code which, during this time period would be a three piece suit for the men, and smart day dresses for the women, or general smart clothing suitable for formal social events.

The second day began with official welcomes by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Alderman R. G. Robinson, and the President of the National Museum Wales, Sir Leonard Twiston-Davies. This was followed by a number of papers read by delegates [all fully listed in the programme], gathering for the official conference photograph, and a Civic Reception at City Hall, hosted by the Lord Mayor [with refreshments, music and dancing].

1948 was the year that St Fagans National Museum of History was first opened to the public as the St Fagans Folk Museum and to mark this, a visit was arranged for the afternoon of day three. St Fagans Castle, gardens, and grounds had been given to the National Museum Wales by the Earl of Plymouth in 1946 and over the next two years extensive work had been carried out to make it suitable to open to the public. According to the 1950 St Fagans guide book, in the Castle, new central heating, electric lighting, and fire appliances had to be installed along with a tickets office, refreshment room and public amenities. By 1948 our delegates would have had access to the Castle and its newly refurbished historic interiors such as the kitchen with two 16th century fireplaces, the Hall furnished in 17th century style, 17th and 18th century bedrooms and the early 19th century Library. They would also have enjoyed walking the gardens which included a mulberry grove, herb and rose gardens, vinery, fishponds, and flower-house interspersed with bronze sculptures by Sir William Goscombe John. Onsite also were a traditional wood-turner and a basket-maker, creating and selling their wares. The handbook also describes a delightful sounding small tea room with curtains made at the Holywell Textile Mills and watercolour paintings by Sir Frank Brangwyn. However, according to a Western Mail clipping, this didn’t open to the public until some weeks later on August 24th. Presumably a room within the Castle itself was used for the delegates’ buffet tea to which they were treated after being greeted by the Curator of St Fagans, Dr Iorwerth Peate.

Interestingly the programme provides times of the train service that ran from Cardiff Central Station to St Fagans. Sadly, the station at St Fagans is no longer there, the service being withdrawn in 1962, although a signal box and level crossing on the line remain.

The Annual General Meeting, Council Meeting and Federation of Officers Meeting  were all held on the next day along with more papers, including one by Mr Duncan Guthrie [of the Arts Council], on the upcoming “Festival of Britain, 1951”. There was also an evening reception in the Museum hosted by the President, and the then Director [Sir Cyril Fox], with refreshments and music by the City of Cardiff High School for Girls Orchestra. The programme states evening dress if possible for this event so it’s a shame we don’t hold any photographs of what would have been a sea of tuxedos and evening gowns.

The final day consisted of further papers in the morning followed by escape and fresh air with visits to the Newport Corporation Museum and the Legionary Museum and Roman Amphitheatre at Caerleon during the afternoon.

The September 1948 issue of Museums Journal contains a full report on the conference, with detailed examination of all papers presented and the discussions they generated. It also lists the delegates including those from overseas. The report concludes with thanks to the National Museum Cardiff for the welcome and hospitality accorded to the 240 delegates, with special mention to North and Lee [who would certainly have earned their salaries over those five days!].

Forget Raindrops on roses, you can keep your whiskers on kittens…

With such varied collections that we have in the museum I can’t help noticing some fabulous objects.

Thanks to players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we have had funding so we can enhance records and add images for you to view in Collections Online, soon you’ll be able to search the museum catalogue and discover your own favourite things.

These are a few of my favourites:

Image in chalk pastel on paper of Welsh rugby player scoring a try against the All Blacks

The Try that Beat the All Blacks by Frank Gillett (1874 – 1927)

What a fabulous picture this is! (I may be a little biased). This picture shows the first ever test match between the Wales and New Zealand rugby teams in 1905. Wales won 3 – 0 (a try was only worth 3 points in those days rather than 5 points as it is now).

Seated figurine of a mouse holding a disc

Roman copper alloy figurine of a mouse

This lovely little mouse (only 3cm high) was found in Loughor, or Leucarum as the Romans knew it. Is it nibbling some cheese, or has it found a biscuit somewhere?

Locomotive painted bright yellow and black

Electric locomotive

It might look like something from Thunderbirds, but this is an electric locomotive used in Glamorgan Haematite Iron Ore Mine (Llanharry Iron Ore Mine) from the 1960s. These locomotives replaced the use of horses for haulage in the mine.

Section of blue damask fabric with intricate silver thread embroidery.

Manylyn o'r brodwaith arian ar y gŵn. 

This shows detail of a dress from the 1720s. This is a very grand court dress (known as a mantua) which would have been worn for presentation at court by Lady Rachel Morgan the wife of Sir William Morgan of Tredegar House. Just look at the incredibly detailed embroidered silver thread on silk damask. The best thing about it I think, is that it was altered during the 19th century by one of Lady Rachel’s descendants, probably to wear as fancy dress! The dress will be on display in the new galleries at St Fagans National Museum of History in the autumn of 2018.

Jug with a cut out trellis-like design of circles and lozenges at the top, with a ring around neck from which protrude three bulbous spouts.

Puzzle jug made by the Cambrian Pottery c. 1800

What’s the puzzle about this puzzle jug? Try and pour from it, and you’ll end up with beer all over the place. To find out how these were made, and importantly, how you’d use it, check out this video by the V&A museum.

If you want to see more of the collections you can explore online or come and visit one of our museums. Not all of our items are on display, so before you make a special trip to see something specific, check that it’s on display first.

People's Postcode Lottery Logo

Artist 'dwi, ac ar hyn o bryd dwi'n astudio gradd MA mewn dylunio a chrefft cyfoes. Fe ymwelais i â’r casgliad Molysga ar ôl darllen blog am strwythr mewnol cregyn ar wefan yr amgueddfa. Mi wnes gysylltiad rhwng strwythurau mewnol cregyn a sut y mae printwyr 3D yn gweithio ac yn creu siapiau. Ar y blog roedd rhif cyswllt ar gyfer Curadur Molysga, felly mi gysylltais â Harriet Wood, heb wybod beth i’w ddisgwyl.

Ffotograff o groestoriad o argraffiad 3D, sy'n dangod y strwythr mewnol
Strwythr mewnol argraffiad 3D © Matthew Day 2017

Pan esboniais fy ngwaith yn gyda prosthetau wrth Harriet, a’r cysylltiadau rhwng strwythr cregyn ac argraffu 3D, mi wahoddodd fi i ymweld â’r casgliadau, ac i fy nghyflwyno i’r person sy’n gyfrifol am sganio ac argraffu 3D yn yr amgueddfa.

Mynd 'tu ôl i'r llen'

Fuaswn i fyth wedi gallu dychmygu ymweliad gystal. Fe gwrddais â Harriet wrth ddesg wybodaeth yr amgueddfa ac yna mynd ‘tu ôl i’r llen’, ble cedwir y casgliad. Roedd cerdded trwy’r amgueddfa i gyrraedd yr ardal ‘cefn tŷ’ yn braf a modern. Roedd yn f’atgoffa o bapur academaidd y darllenais cyn ymweld, o The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum: ‘How Digital Artist Engagement Can Function as and Open Innovation Model to Facilitate Audience Encounters with Museum Collections’ gan Sarah Younan a Haitham Eid. 

ffotograff yn dangos cwpwrdd mawr llawn droriau sbesimen
Rhai o'r archifau yn Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd © Matthew Day 2017

Mae gan ‘cefn tŷ’ yr amgueddfa naws arbennig – dyw’r cyhoedd ddim yn cael mentro yma heb drefnu o flaen llaw. Roedd yn fraint cael cerdded trwy stafelloedd yn llawn cregyn ‘mae pobl wedi eu casglu, ac wedi’u gwerthfawrogi am eu harddwch, dros y blynyddoedd. Beth oedd yn fwya diddorol imi oedd pa mor berffaith oedd y toriadau yn y cregyn. Roedd yn cregyn wedi’u torri yn edrych fel taw dyma oedd eu ffurf naturiol – roedd pob toriad yn gain iawn ac yn gweddu i siâp y gragen. Dyma beth oeddwn i eisiau ei weld.

Ffotograff du a gwyn yn dangos amrywiaeth o dafelli cregyn
Tafellau o gregyn yn Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd © Matthew Day 2017

Doedd gen i ddim geiriau i fynegi fy hun pan welais i’r casgliad yma o gregyn – yn enwedig gweld y darn o’r gragen na fyddwn ni’n cael ei weld fel arfer. Rodd yn gyffrous gweld y strwythr mewnol, am ei fod yn ychwanegu gwerth asthetig i’r cregyn. Roedden nhw’n fy atgoffa o waith cerflunio Barbara Hepworth, artist dwi’n ei hedmygu yn fawr.

Ffotograff du a gwyn yn dangos cragen siâp côn wedi'i dorri i ddangos strwythr troellog y gragen
© Matthew Day 2017

Rydym ni’n gweld cregyn ar y traeth drwy’r amser, a mae’n nhw’n fy nghyfareddu – yn enwedig cregyn wedi torri ble gellir gweld y tu fewn i’r gragen. Mae hwnnw fel arfer yn doriad amherffaith, yn wahanol iawn i’r toriadau bwriadol yn y casgliad, sydd wedi’u gwneud yn bwrpasol i ddangos ini beth sydd ar y tu fewn. Caf fy atynnu at ffurfiau naturiol sydd wedi eu siapio gan berson.  

Sganio 3D: Celf a Gwyddoniaeth

Cyn archwilio’r cregyn fy hyn, cynigiodd Harriet i fynd â fi i lawr i weld Jim Turner, a dyna ble buom ni’n trafod am rhan helaeth fy ymweliad, am fod ei waith mor ddiddorol.

Mae Jim yn gweithio mewn labordy sy’n defnyddio proses ffotograffig o’r enw ‘Stacio-z’ (neu EDF, ‘extended depth of field’), sy’n cael ei ddefnyddio yn aml mewn ffotograffeg facro a ffoto-microscopeg.

Ar hyn o bryd, mae'n creu archif o wrthrychau wedi’u sganio mewn 3D ar gyfer gwefan yr amgueddfa, ble all bobol ryngweithio gyda’r sganiau yn defnyddio cyfarpar VR – gan greu profiad hollol newydd i’r amgueddfa.

Gallais ddeall yn syth beth oedd Jim yn ei wneud o fy mhrofiad i. Esboniodd y broses a roedd nifer o elfennau technegol tebyg. Roedd yn bleser cael siarad gyda rhywun sy’n defnyddio sganio 3D mewn ffordd wahanol imi. Mae Jim yn defnyddio sganio 3D mewn ffordd dwi wedi ei weld mewn papurau academaidd. Er nad yw’n gwneud gwaith creadigol gyda’r cregyn, mae e dal yn rhoi gwrthrychau mewn cyd-destun newydd, ble all pobl ryngweithio â nhw yn defnyddio technoleg ddigidol fel cyfarpar VR neu ar y we trwy sketchfab.

'Fel bod ar y traeth...'

Pan ddes i ‘nôl at y casgliad molysga, mi ges i amser i ymchwilio’r casgliad ar fy liwt fy hun a doedd dim pwysau arna i i frysio – felly ces gyfle i edrych yn graff ac archwilio’r cregyn. Roedd fel bod ar draeth a chael oriau i archwilio’r holl wrthrychau naturiol.

Ffotograff du a gwyn yn dangos cragen siâp côn wedi'i dorri i ddangos strwythr troellog y gragen
© Matthew Day 2017

Cafodd yr ymweliad effaith wych ar fy mhrosiect MA – a mawr yw’r diolch i Harriet a Jim am eu hamser. Trwy’r ymweliad, fe fagais hyder i gysylltu ag amgueddfeydd eraill, fel Amgueddfa Feddygol Worcester, ‘ble bues i’n gweithio gyda soced prosthetig o’u casgliad. Mi sganiais y soced, ac wedi fy ysbrydoli gan gasgliad molysga Harriet, mi greais gyfres o socedi prosthetic cerfluniol, wedi’u hysbrydoli gan strwythurau mewnol cregyn, oedd yn darlunio croestoriadau rhai o’r cregyn mwya atyniadol yn y casgliad.

'Cerflun ynddo'i hun': fy nghasgliad o gerflunwaith brosthetig

Ffotograffau cyfochrog yn dangos hosan brosthetic a thafell gragen. Mae'r hosan brosthetig wedi'i chynllunio i gynrychioli siâp mewnol y gragen
Prototeip cysyniadol o hosan brosthetig wedi'i ysbrydoli gan y casgliadau molysga yn Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd © Matthew Day 2017

ffotograff yn dangos hosan brosthetig gerfluniadol ddu gydag addurn melyn
Prototeip o hosan brosthetig gerfluniadol wedi'i ysbrydoli gan gasgliad Molysga Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd © Matthew Day 2017
ffotograff yn dangos hosan brosthetig gerfluniadol lwyd gydag addurn melyn
Hosan brosthetig wedi'i hargraffu mewn 3D a'i llifo, wedi'i ysbrydoli gan y casgliadau Molysga yn Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd © Matthew Day 2017

ffotograff yn dangos hosan brosthetig gerfluniadol gydag addurn mawr siâp cragen gron
Hosan brosthetic wedi'i hargraffu mewn 3D a'i lifo, wedi'i ysbrydoli gan gasgliad Molysga Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd © Matthew Day 2017

 

Be’ Nesa?

Mae fy ngwrs MA nawr ar ei anterth, a dwi’n edrych ymlaen at ddechrau’r prif fodiwl dros yr haf.

Ar gyfer y rhan olaf o’r cwrs, hoffwn i gymryd yr hyn dw i wedi ei archwilio a’i ymchwilio hyd yn hyn, a’i ddefnyddio i greu darn prosthetig a allai fod yn rywbeth all rhywun ei wisgo, ond sydd yn gerflun ynddo'i hun – a mae’r gwaith yn mynd yn dda.

darlun 3D o gynllun ar gyfer cynllun coes brosthetig, gydag addurniadau wedi'u hysbrydoli gan strwythr mewnol cregyn
Darlun cysyniadol o goes brosthetig gerfluniadol, wedi'i ysbrydoli gan gasgliad Molysga Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd © Matthew Day 2017

Hoffwn i greu rhywbeth wirioneddol syfrdanol yn defnyddio argraffu 3D, gan ymgorffori asthetig wedi’i ysbrydoli gan y casgliad cregyn a’i uno gyda’r cerflunwaith prosthetig a welwch yma ar y blog.

Gallwch weld mwy o fy ngwaith ar fy ngwefan: Matthew Day Sculpture