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
Storytellers from Wales, Scotland and Ireland have teamed up to broadcast a series of online events that celebrate the Celtic calendar of festivities through stories, songs and traditions from their homelands.
The third event in the series, Spring Awakening, will be broadcast on Monday, February 1 from 8pm to 9.30pm and celebrates the arrival of spring, the Goddess and Saint Brigid and the feminine life, death, life cycle. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/137632589781
The storytellers are Kama Roberts, who works for the Willow Globe theatre near Llandrindod Wells, Maria Gillen from Ireland and Shona Cowie from Scotland.
Kama explained that she had been collaborating with Maria and Shona Cowie to broadcast online storytelling evenings since the Celtic new year, Samhain.
“We have also been building a collaboration between Kerry Writers Museum and Community Arts Rhayader and District (CARAD) and hope that, beyond this pandemic, this relationship will develop into live events and festivals in each of our home countries,” she said.
“The events have had really brilliant feedback and a regular and loyal audience. The next storytelling evening will have nature and nurture as its theme.”
As St Brigid's Day in Ireland is an important event, Maria will be the host and has a surprise special guest up her sleeve. Nuala Hayes, Irish actress and chair of Storytellers of Ireland, will also be sharing a Brigid blessing translated from ancient Gaelic.
At the end of the evening, the storytellers open the floor to the online audience to share a story or a song. Anyone wishing to get involved is asked to email email@example.com.
The National Eisteddfod has announced that they are postponing the Ceredigion National Eisteddfod for a year.
The decision was taken by the organisation's Management Board following a number of discussions with the Welsh Government and Public Health Wales. Ceredigion County Council supports the National Eisteddfod's decision to postpone the Ceredigion Eisteddfod for another year until 2022.
Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn, Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member with responsibility for the Welsh Language, said, “We support the Eisteddfod on their difficult decision to postpone the Eisteddfod for another year. It will be strange not to work towards and attend the Eisteddfod on the first week of August this year again. However, everyone's health and safety is the main priority. Organizing or preparing to compete and attend the Eisteddfod is a big task. With all the planning that needs to be done, it is not practically possible to carry them out this year. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Ceredigion when it is safe to do so.”
We thank the Eisteddfod and all the volunteers for their work so far. We look forward to welcoming everyone to Ceredigion in 2022.
For practical information regarding postponing this year’s Eisteddfod, go to the Eisteddfod’s website, www.eisteddfod.wales.
A partnership between Ceredigion Museum and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales has attracted £1,000 funding to display fragments of a unique Roman glass vessel found at Abermagwr Romano-British villa.
The villa at Abermagwr, near Aberystwyth was discovered during aerial photography in 2006 and excavated by Dr Jeffrey L. Davies and Dr Toby Driver between 2010 and 2015 in a volunteer-led community project.
It remains the only known Roman villa in the county and the most remote Roman villa in Wales. The finds have been researched over time and the best have been put on public display at Ceredigion Museum in Aberystwyth.
The finds include parts of Ceredigion’s earliest known slate roof, just one of the innovations discovered at the villa. The most recent Roman finds handed to the museum are the cut glass fragments.
A grant from the Association for Roman Archaeology (ARA) will fund a bespoke mount, made by a museum specialist, to enable the delicate glass fragments to take pride of place in the museum’s archaeology gallery.
Roman cut glass is rare; only one cut glass beaker is on permanent display in the British Museum and the design on the Abermagwr vessel is unparalleled in Roman Britain.
Professor Jennifer Price was struck by the rarity and quality of the glass vessel describing it as ‘of outstandingly high quality….[which] must have been an extraordinary item of luxury. Its quality is vastly superior to the rest of the glass vessels found at the villa’.
Prof. Barry Burnham, of University Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, said “Its discovery so far west in Wales is all the more significant because it is vastly superior to the general range of glass material found anywhere in Wales.
“This raises interesting questions about how it came to be here, who owned it and what it signifies in terms of social status and economic links.”
Carrie Canham, Ceredigion Museum curator, said: “When I was at school, we were taught that the Roman’s didn’t have a significant presence in West Wales, but local excavation results have overturned that assumption.
“This extraordinary object shows that the villa at Abermagwr was the home of comparatively wealthy Romans enjoying the good things in life. I’m extremely grateful to the ARA for the funding that will enable visitors to the museum to see it displayed to its best advantage.”
Councillor Catherine Hughes, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Porth Ceredigion, Early Intervention, Well-being Hubs and Culture, said: “It is a delight to hear the history of the rare Roman cut glass here in Ceredigion.
“Thanks to Carrie and the team at Ceredigion Museum and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales for their work, and the Association for Roman Archaeology. We look forward to the day when we can see the pieces in all their glory.”
The Covid-19 pandemic is delaying the work to make the mount until later in 2021. The glass fragments are too delicate to courier to the craftsperson making the mount, so he will have to come to Aberystwyth and set up a temporary workshop at the museum. The fragments will then go straight on display.
>>Click here for more information about Ceredigion Museum on the Visit Mid Wales website
Abermagwr Roman cut glass and the Abermagwr reconstruction
A new ‘Gardening for Nature’ day takes visitors on a journey to explore ways of helping nature in even the smallest of outdoor spaces. Top tips from CAT’s expert gardeners will help you learn new tips and techniques while you enjoy a day in CAT’s beautiful gardens.
The new ‘Nature Detectives’ family day is the perfect bookable experience for nature-loving families. Visitors will explore everything from camera traps and bug hunts to tips and tricks to bring a variety of bird species into your garden at home.
On-site accommodation, a vegetarian café, free parking for cars or coaches and acres of woodlands and organic gardens provide the ideal setting. Keep an eye out for more day-out experiences being added throughout 2021!
CAT’s head of Eco Centre, John Challen, said: “We hope that these new experience days will give nature lovers something special to look forward to – the chance to find out more about the amazing wildlife of Mid Wales and discover new ways to help nature thrive, all while enjoying a memorable day out.”
COVID safety measures are in place throughout the centre and experiences are designed to ensure participants’ safety. Full refunds are available should legal restrictions prevent people from attending a booked experience.
Find out more by visiting www.cat.org.uk/days-out . For bespoke events for groups of any type, contact the CAT team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Nature Detectives’ family day is one of the new visitor experiences at CAT.
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