A successful micro distillery near Machynlleth was the toast of Wales at the 2021 World Gin Awards.
Dyfi Distillery, based at Corris Craft Centre, a hub for thriving independent craft producers near Machynlleth, triumphed in all three categories it entered, winning ‘Best in Country’ awards.
The multi-award winning distillery’s Dyfi Original was named Best Welsh Dry Gin, while Pollination Gin scooped Best Welsh Contemporary Gin and Navigation Gin was named the Best Welsh Matured Gin.
In the sister competition, Icons of Gin, Dyfi Distillery was shortlisted for the worldwide award of Craft Producer of the Year.
“We’re a bit bowled over,” said Danny Cameron, who co-founded the distillery with his brother Pete more than five years ago. “Given what thriving and high quality gin producers we have across Wales just now, it’s a remarkable result.”
One of the UK’s most prestigious craft gin producers, the distillery operates from within the Dyfi UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, and is, unusually for a distillery of its size, frequently open to passing visitors.
Pollination Gin, winner of the Best Welsh Contemporary Gin award.
Remember Me includes Andrew’s eclectic mix of objects, many collected from his travels, and has a distinctly Welsh theme, representing nature and his interpretation of humanity’s treatment of the planet.
The cross features a resin casting of the Green Man’s face at its centre, surrounded by bronze painted leaves mounted on a blue and green mirrored sun base.
A rising blue sun tops the pieces and the shaft of the cross is decorated with pieces of varnished mulberry wood taken from a fallen 400-year-old tree in the Archdeaconry garden in St Davids Cathedral Close, home to the Rev Sophie Whitmarsh.
The tree pieces have red mirror discs embedded, representing the bleeding of nature and various stones gifted to Andrew from countries around the world - from all four Home Nations to as far afield as Russia, Australia, India, Thailand and Morocco.
Remember Me includes three statues of people holding planet earth in their hands, a metallic plaque of the Welsh Dragon, a sculpture of St David, a pair of hands which flash with red light and a white dove made in Andrew’s signature style of mosaic pieces of mirror, glass and resin.
“This sculptural cross project comes with a message to everyone to ‘Be Aware’, as it deals with human’s disregard for their home planet – Earth,” explained Andrew. “I call it a Living Organism of the Planet and it was inspired by my visit to St Davids.”
As soon as travel restrictions allow, the cross will be transported to St Davids to be displayed at the cathedral. The Very Rev Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, Dean of St Davids, said: “In giving Andrew the mulberry wood, we had no idea it would return here, and yet what could be more apt than a cross?
“Its glorious design presents us with, dare I say, a provocative as well as often all too necessary invitation to look at the cross with fresh eyes. It drives home the twin realities that the sins Jesus bore there include humanity’s maltreatment of our planet, and the redemption he won embraces all of creation.”
This project came about due to a connection between Andrew Logan and Sophie Whitmarsh, who met many years ago at an exhibition at Roche Court in Salisbury. They bumped into each other again in St Davids last summer where Sophie is now curate and minor canon at the cathedral.
She is delighted to be involved in this venture. “It was such a wonderful surprise to see Andrew exploring the cathedral grounds and a pleasure to be able to show him the beautiful architecture and the history of this remarkable site in which people have worshipped since the sixth century,” she said.
“Andrew has drawn inspiration from so many aspects of St David and having the cross here for a time will add to the already world renowned cultural, historical and spiritual significance of St Davids Cathedral and city. ”
The sculpture itself will hopefully be installed ready for viewing at the Cathedral this summer.
Andrew Logan with the sculptural cross, Remember Me, that he has created for St Davids Cathedral.
Detailed work on the cross.
'A Search for a Contemporary Figure IV' by Tomos Sparnon and 'I Use(d) to Hurt Myself' by Jasmine Sheckleford are powerful pieces from the new annual exhibition at MOMA.
Launched last November, the exhibition was curated by Mari Elin Jones and Lloyd Roderick and showcases the work of artists under the age of 30 working in Wales.
Tomos Sparnon’s mixed media on canvas explores what it is to be human, reflecting on the conflict between what is visible and invisible, while Jasmine Sheckleford's work, which uses a cyanotype on paper, looks at themes relating to mental health, identity and family.
Pedr ap Llwyd, the library’s chief executive and librarian, said: “We are constantly growing and developing our collections and this work has continued during the pandemic.
“We are delighted to be adding these exciting and valuable works to the National Art Collection, ensuring that our collections are as contemporary as possible. It is vitally important that the library’s collections continually evolve in order to reflect a current and dynamic Wales and its diverse individuals. What better way to do so that than by supporting young artists.”
Emily Bartlett, MOMA’s managing director, said: “We are delighted that the National Library of Wales shares our vision for supporting and recognising the valuable work being created by young artists in Wales, as indeed we are now that these two exciting and remarkable works will become part of the National Art Collection.
“We look forward to working with colleagues at the national library to further develop this partnership, and its support for young Welsh artists, in future years.”
Morfudd Bevan, the library’s art curator, said: “This ground-breaking exhibition provides essential support for young Welsh artists at the outset of their careers. We are therefore extremely proud to be able to support the exhibition and the artists by annually purchasing works of art from the show into the library’s National Art Collection.”
>> Click here for more information about the National Library of Wales
>> Click here for more information about the Museum of Modern Art, Wales (MOMA)
“We are currently working towards reopening as soon as we are able and our plans naturally depend on the coronavirus situation,” said the railway’s marketing manager Oliver Edwards.
“Our volunteers and staff are giving a lot of thought to how we operate responsibly – our experience in 2020 gave us fantastic learning and great visitor feedback which reflected the preparatory efforts of our team.”
The railway will shortly be launching a new website which will feature a wide range of experiences planned on the line for 2021. Highlights of the season are expected to include the return of the 1902-built original locomotive ‘The Earl’ following a major overhaul at the Vale of Rheidol Railway, first-class rides featuring the line’s Sierra Leone Railways Independence Carriage, vintage train days and a host of further events.
Everyone at the railway is closely monitoring the lockdown situation and Government advice – trains will only begin running when it is considered safe to do so. Services will be announced on the website, www.wllr.org.uk, and the railway’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/WelshpoolSteamRailway.
James comes to the Llanfair line from the National Tramway Museum at Crich, Derbyshire, where he was facilities and infrastructure manager. He was unanimously selected from more than 100 applicants for the W&LLR post.
The railway’s interview panel was impressed by his management of an overwhelmingly volunteer workforce at Crich, during which he successfully delivered several major projects, and his extensive experience gained across the heritage and tourism sector.
“Over the coming months, I am looking forward to getting to grips with the challenges of the general manager role, meeting the team and leading the organisation forward to future opportunities,” said James.
"I was impressed with the team's careful Covid-safe operations in 2020 - we'll just have to do the same in 2021 to make sure everyone is safe, comfortable and can enjoy their time at the railway.”
James started at Llanfair on February 1, beginning a handover period with Charles who will step down on March 31. After six years in post, Charles insists he won’t be disappearing – he is a qualified fireman on the challenging line and intends to make regular return visits to “shovel some coal on steam engines.”
James Brett (front) will be taking over as Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway’s general manager from Charles Spencer who is retiring.
Photo: Andrew Charman/W&LLR
February marks LGBTQ+ History month and Ceredigion Museum has been working with local organisation Aberration to unveil and record fascinating and untold stories of Aberystwyth.
These stories form part of the museum’s ‘It Happened in Aber’ project, which will allow people to listen to the untold stories that have shaped Aberystwyth.
This project was made possible thanks to the ’15-minute heritage’ funding, a partnership between The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service.
Carrie Canham, museum curator, said: “For too long the LGBTQ+ community has been marginalised, or even completely concealed, in history. Ceredigion Museum is keen to share the stories that have lurked in the shadows, to celebrate the diversity and rich LGBTQ+ heritage of Aberystwyth with pride.”
The LGBTQ+ stories researched and recorded with by Jane Hoy, of Aberration, include historic and modern-day characters from the town, including famous academics, poets, mariners, dancers and a spy!
“We are delighted to be working so closely with Ceredigion Museum contributing to ‘queering up’ the museum with lively local stories and events,” said Jane.
Aberystwyth has certainly played its part in developing the LGBTQ+ community in West Wales and Sarah and Rosie, founders of Aberystwyth’s ‘Wrecked’ nightclub for women, have documented their fond memories of their venue in the town: “It became a fun and safe haven for lesbians who travelled there from all corners of the county”.
Ceredigion Museum staff and volunteers will be continuing to document stories linked to the LGBTQ+ community, as well as stories linked to specific locations in the town, until April.
From May onwards, The ‘It Happened in Aber’ stories will be available to enjoy in podcast format on the museum’s website as well as forming a digital walking tour of the town, allowing people to listen and enjoy the stories whilst walking around the locations in Aberystwyth.
Councillor Catherine Hughes said: "It's fantastic that Ceredigion Museum is providing us with an opportunity to enjoy the history and the important contribution of the LGBTQ+ community in Aberystwyth. This is such an important project to document our local heritage. We look forward to listening to all the stories."
If you can’t wait until the summer, join this years’ virtual Aberration - Between the Lines event on Friday, February 26 from 7pm, when the ladies of ‘Wrecked’ will be sharing some of their stories.
For further information or to share your untold story, contact Sarah Morton, Ceredigion Museum’s sustainability officer, at Sarah.Morton@ceredigion.gov.uk.
The leading provider of apprenticeships in the hospitality industry in Wales is supporting a charity that provides financial relief to alleviate poverty for people who work or have worked in UK hospitality.
Cambrian Training, which has its headquarters in Welshpool and offices in Llanelli, Builth Wells, Holyhead and Colwyn Bay, has become a corporate member of Hospitality Action, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact the sector.
The company plans to hold events, when it’s safe to do so, to raise money for and to promote awareness of the charity’s work.
“We think that supporting Hospitality Action is the right thing to do in these very challenging times for the industry,” said Arwyn Watkins, OBE, Cambrian Training’s managing director and president of the Culinary Association of Wales.
“Members of our own hospitality team have first-hand experience through working with apprentices that there is a pressing need for us to do everything that we can to support colleagues in the industry.
“There are significant things, such as organising gourmet dinners and other events, that we can do across Wales to raise money for Hospitality Action when the pandemic ends.
“As the largest provider of apprenticeships in the hospitality industry in Wales, Cambrian Training wants to be a leader and we will be encouraging our apprentices to get involved.”
Giuliana Vittiglio, Hospitality Action’s fundraising and marketing manager, said: “Since the pandemic struck, we’ve helped countless hospitality families put food on the table, pay their bills and care for their children.
“The outbreak of Covid-19 has seen a consistent demand for our services and we’re especially grateful to Cambrian Training Company for reaching out to lend a helping hand.”
Hospitality Action offers counselling, advice and signposting to people facing mental health challenges or dealing with illness, bereavement, debt or addiction. It also runs an outreach programme to keep loneliness at bay for hospitality retirees.
When the first national lockdown began last March, Hospitality Action helped many thousands of hospitality households in financial crisis. Just as in March, today millions of hospitality workers can’t go to work and many thousands have lost their jobs for good.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the charity has worked tirelessly to help as many people as possible by providing emergency grants to keep food on the table, to assist vulnerable industry retirees access local support and by providing mental health resources for those who have struggled during the crisis.
To learn more about the charity visit: www.hospitalityaction.org.uk
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