THE BRO ABERFFRAW TAPESTRY PROJECT 2017 -2019
OUTLINE PROPOSAL FOR A NEW COMMUNITY PROJECT
Funded by The Community Foundation in Wales –
SPIRIT OF FOURTEEN FOR THE BRO ABERFFRAW WARD ON ANGLESEY.
My initial idea was to complete a project similar to the Fishguard, Bath Pump room and Bayeux Tapestries, which are in fact embroideries depicting historical events.
(These displays attract large numbers of tourists who visit the towns especially. They also sell booklets and postcards, so there are further possibilities and the legacy could create a far wider audience than we anticipate as well as boosting tourism for Anglesey as a whole.)
The aim would be to incorporate research into the famous Historical and Natural aspects of the historical Bro Aberffraw Ward area of Anglesey and depict these as a Tapestry utilising Hand or Machine Embroidery and Fabric collage, worked by local people and mounted in a wooden frame.
A suitable site for displaying the final piece of work could be in the entrance to the proposed new school in Newborough, The Pritchard Jones Institute.or Bodorgan Community Centre.
The subjects could include people and places with links to, for example:
- Llys Aberffraw, which was the seat of Royal Prince Llewellyn, ruler of the ancient Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd and its links to the court at Llys Rosyr in Newborough.
- Cadwaladr, a King of Gwynedd who is buried in Llangadwaladr Churchyard and where there is a stainedglass window portrait of his grandfather King Cadfan.
- Malltraeth has the Church of Crist y Brenin which was an early schoolroom and Malltraeth was the former home of the renowned wildlife artist C F Tunnicliffe.
- Thomas Telford was the consultant engineer for the Malltraeth Cob, where there is now a National Nature / Bird Reserve.
- Llanddwyn Island and the story of Saint Dwynwen.
- Newborough warren Nature Reserve; Llys Rhosyr - the court of the Royal Princes of Gwynedd - unique in North Wales and more laterly, home of the philanthropist Sir John Pritchard Jones.
- References to the traditional ancient craft of Marram Grass weaving.
- The Victorian journalist John Owen Jones of Dwyran.
- The Church in Llangaffo has a group of carved stones, which are said to be one of the most significant collections in Wales.
- St Cwyfans Church – a grade11 listed medieval Church known as ‘’The Church in the Sea’’ or Cribinau.
- St Bueno’s Church, Trefdraeth, is a notable medieval 13th century Parish Church.
- St Bueno’s Church, Aberffraw, of 7th century origins, is a rare Anglesey example of a double-knaved Church with an unusually fine 12th century Romanesque arch.
- The design for the original Landrover was in1947 by Maurice Wilkes on his farm near Newborough in conjunction with his brother, Spencer who was the Managing director of Rover.
A group of interested people with local historical knowledge could get together to decide on the most suitable inclusions.
Photographs and drawings could be done to back up the information, e.g. from stone or wood carvings and stained-glass windows as well as old postcards and local photographs by participants.
There are many people in the area with interest and skills relating to textile crafts - particularly a number of more senior residents and this project would also include those not able or inclined to follow more outdoor pursuits.
Copies of the finished project could be publicly displayed in Community halls, schools, surgeries and local tourist venues throughout the area.
- As a professional Artist and Tutor I was pleased to collate the information, drawings and photographic records, into a working design and to oversee the whole project. (The Bath Pump Room Tapestry was designed and worked by Audrey Walker who was previously my tutor at Goldsmiths College of Art, London, where I graduated with a degree in Fine Art & Textiles in 1975.)
- Having applied through Bodorgan W.I. we were successful in being awarded a grant from the ‘Spirit of Fourteen’ to enable us to cover costs of venue hire for workshops, materials and framing.
- The project gained interest from people in eight of the main villages in the area set out by the funding body and a group of local residents met regularly in Bodorgan Community Centre and also had a few meetings in Tan Lan Craft Centre.
- Having drawn and enlarged the map we proceeded to gather pictures and information relevant to the area and individuals decided which sections they would like to work on.
- Workshops were held to teach skills in freestyle machine embroidery and a number of ladies completed images with hand stitched embroidery of different styles and applique.
- We met in my studio during Anglesey Arts Forum Open Studio’s event during Easter 2018 and set about painting the background cloth which measured approx. four metres square!
- Backgrounds of individual images were either painted of worked as fabric collage with embroidered details. Inevitably there are some aspects of the area we could not include, particularly faces of historical figures, but we had to decide on overall scale and detail which unfortunately made some things impossible to depict.
- The pieces were assembled as a whole and I completed the enormous job of stitching all the individual images to the background!
- Having completed the project, we had the work professionally photographed and printed approx. a quarter of the original size. These prints are placed in the Community meeting places throughout the Bro Aberffraw Area for locals and visitors alike to appreciate the rich and diverse natural and social history of our area as well as showing current interesting local information.
- As the Bodorgan Community Centre is in a transition stage regarding refurbishment, the Tapestry is now housed in Ysgol Saint Dwynwen, Newborough, where it will be an educational reference for the students.
An information booklet is being compiled to complement the images depicted on the tapestry and limited copies will be available from some venues where the prints are displayed.
It has been an extremely worthwhile and rewarding project for everyone involved.
Christine Garbutt. (Mrs.)