Made in Llandysul

Made in Llandysul

Today I read an article “Made in Ebbw Vale”, written after the announcement that the Welsh Government would not financially back the Circuit of Wales and the writer is saying that this decision is very bad for the Ebbw Vale economy so maybe Ebbw Vale should make artisan things for themselves.


Cariad Glass, Llandysul

I like this idea and maybe we should be looking at this in Llandysul.  We already have some amazing artisan makers in our community for example artisan glass work, harps, waffles and cheese.

But the basic things such as clothes, shoes, tools, cooking pots, cutlery, they are made elsewhere, mostly the other side of the world.

I believe that it is unsustainable to ship the most basic thing such as a cooking pot from the other side of the planet.  We need to start manufacturing again, even on the most small, basic, local level so that at best we keep our current lifestyles and, at worst, we survive as climate changes and not in our favour.

we need to learn practical skills, how to make things and how to fix things

To do this, we need to learn practical skills, how to make things and how to fix things.  Not everyone is a practical person but some of us will be very good at making and fixing and they will be the ones who will become the manufacturers of our community and we need them.  As a community will need to be able to look after ourselves.  There will always be a need to buy in some goods but we should be able to manufacture the most basic of things.  It’s pathetic that we can’t and that we don’t try.

Frank Lloyd Wright – The Welsh Connection

Last Wednesday, 9th April was the anniversary of the death of Frank Lloyd Wright, the eminent American architect.  I had a phone call from the BBC last week asking what we knew about Frank Lloyd Wright’s other Anna Lloyd Jones.  Sadly, not much, although after an email and a chance meeting at Theatr Mwldan I got to know a lot more from Eileen Curry.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s mother was Anna Lloyd Jones, and she and her family lived in Blaenralltddu, a mile or so from Rhydowen.  When she was 5 the family emigrated to the States, leaving from the port of Cardigan in 1844.

House name "Blaenralltddu"

Anna’s family were members of the Unitarian Chapel at Llwynrhydowen and her father Richard was a Unitarian lay preacher and by all accounts a real bible thumper.  He was also a renowned hatter who is said to have got his customers to stand on his hats to test their strength!

It is likely that because of the faith of the family and their liberal politics that they upset the local landowner at Alltyrodyn Mansion.   It seems the final straw came when he ran his hounds through their garden.

Richard, Mary and their seven children left Wales and initially settled in Utica, before moving to Milwaukee in Wisconsin and then on to the village of Spring Green, Wisconsin.  What an incredibly hard decision to make.

Anna Lloyd Jones became a school teacher in America and she met William Carey Wright, a musician and itinerant preacher.  They married in 1866.  Frank was born a year later.  He was christened Frank Lincoln Wright, but changed it to Frank Lloyd Wright (in honour of his mother’s family) when his father walked out of the marriage in 1885.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Welsh roots ran through his architectural work.  The house he built for himself in Wisconsin is called Taliesin (after the 6th Century Welsh  bard and poet).  Later in life he built a second home in Arizona called Taliesin West.

Many of the modernist homes he built still had a hearth as a centrepiece – just as the traditional Cardiganshire cottages would have had.

So all this was passed onto Carwyn Jones at BBC Wales Today, but he still needed someone to say it to camera…10 seconds of fame coming up then!  Luckily there’s also a real architectural expert.



Christmas Art Exhibition

From the 3rd – 17th December the Pwerdy – Powerhouse* is holding an art exhibition for local artists: Graham Lewis, Lynda Guy, Chris Chalk, Charlotte Davies , Victoria Malcom, Cara Bendon and also work by the art group- `Drawing from the self` who have been studying art at Pwerdy this year.

It’s a really interesting collection with different ideas and techniques, colours and images. I spent yesterday, a cold, but sunny Monday afternoon, invigilating. I didn’t really expect anyone to come in but they did. They were all just passing, either walking or driving by and had seen the sign outside. Most had never been in the Pwerdy and so not only did they see the exhibition, they got a tour too.  They seemed to enjoy the art, not sure about the tour.

It’s definitely worth a visit.

*Pwerdy – Powerhouse, Community and Arts Centre, Chapel Street, Pont Tyweli, Sir Gaerfyrddin / Carmarthenshire, SA44 4AH

Christmas Crafts in Llandysul

Street Organ at Llandysul Christmas Fair

Street Organ at Llandysul Christmas Fair

It was the Llandysul Christmas Fair last Friday afternoon and evening.  A bit different from previous years as there was no WG funding.  The organisation of the whole event had been taken on by members of the Business Club.  Gold stars and top marks to Karen, Hilary and Andrea and not doubt countless others who volunteered their time and energy.  Some of the shops were open and there was a lovely street organic playing in the street.  The street is quite dark, even with the Christmas lights on, so it was all very atmospheric.   I had a lovely welcome from Daphne Jones Collections, as well as glass of mulled wine!  The Spiritualist Centre was very busy and I entered a raffle, guess the weight of the cake and guess the name of the teddy bear.  Haven’t heard anything from them so I guess that I didn’t win.

Tysul Hall, Llandysul Christmas Fair 2011

Tysul Hall, Llandysul Christmas Fair 2011

I couldn’t come until after work so I didn’t have time to visit anymore shops as I wanted to visit Tysul Hall and see the stalls there.  What a great atmosphere there was in the hall, and I was sad to learn that I’d missed the Scout’s show.  There were Owls in the hall, not shopping but on display from Pant Glas World of Nature!  Lots of craft stalls, including Diane Mathais, Cariad Glass, the Llandysul Country Market and many others plus John, who I’ll name the Slateman, until I recall the name of his business, but his slate tablewear is fab as many of my friends will find out on the 25th Dec.  There were lots of people to talk to and I did not get around everyone before the stalls started to close up, which was a shame but can’t be helped as I was late arriving and it was home time.
There’s a Christmas Craft Fair in the Pwerdy-Powerhouse this Saturday as well as the first day of their Christmas Art Exhibition.  I’ll be invigilating at the exhibition next Monday afternoon (5th), so please come along and admire (buy) the art by many local artists: Graham Lewis, Lynda Guy, Chris Chalk, Charlotte Davies, Victoria Malcom, Cara Bendon and the art group “Drawing from the Self”.  I’m looking forward to that.