Tonight (13 June), both the Conwy County National Eisteddfod’s Crown and Chair are presented to the festival’s Executive Committee, at a special ceremony in Oriel Ffin y Parc, Llanrwst.
This year's Eisteddfod Crown, sponsored by the housing association, Grŵp Cynefin, has been designed and created by contemporary jeweler Angela Evans from Caernarfon. The creation of a Crown has always been a dream for Angela, and this year she had the chance to realise her dream by creating a beautiful and delicate Crown.
The Crown is presented for a sequence of poems not in cynghanedd, of no more than 250 lines, on the subject of Cilfachau (inlets). The prize money is donated by John Arthur and Margaret Glyn Jones and the family, Llanrwst.
There are three key elements to the Crown’s design, with three layers of metal outlines creating an exciting and modern image linked to the basic principles of Grŵp Cynefin.
Shapes of stylish houses form the first tier, but they are, of course, more than houses. These are home to the people and families of the area. Angela says, “Our culture is maintained through our communities: in these homes our people, our language and our culture thrive. This is the basis of the Crown, the tallest and strongest part. ”
There are triangles in the second tier, a shape with natural strength, representing the roofs of houses, supporting structures against lateral pressures, and representing the sustainability of the area. And to crown each pinnacle is a copper ball, one of the obvious features of Angela's work as a professional jeweller. This copper originated from the old Great Orme copper mines in Llandudno, and a 2cm cube of pure bright copper was presented to the Eisteddfod for use in the Crown’s construction.
The third tier is the county of Conwy, the rural valley and the densely populated coast. The glow that flows through the mountains down the valley and into the sea through the River Conwy is water: it brings its nutrition as an essential container to create a thriving community, environment and landscape, and to ensure a strong habitat for man and animal. Therefore, the flow of water seen in the last layer, is a smooth soft arch to convey the movement of the flow. Along its length, there are droplets of bright water created from a blue - colored topas stone as it simulates the colours of the Grŵp Cynefin brand itself.
The Gorsedd of Bards’ Nod Cyfrin, its unique mark, is on the front of the Crown, under the main shape of the roof of the house, which is set to protect it. And at the bottom of the Crown, the words Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Sir Conwy 2019 have been inscribed.
The Eisteddfod Chair will also be presented to the Executive Committee on Monday.
This year's Chair is presented for a poem or collection of poems in cynghanedd, of no more than 250 lines, entitled Gorwelion (Horizons). The adjudicators are Myrddin ap Dafydd, Llion Jones and Ieuan Wyn.
The Chair is sponsored by the Caernarfonshire and Denbighshire Branches of the Farmers Union of Wales, and the financial prize is donated in memory of poet Gwynfor ab Ifor by his family.
Gwenan Jones, a young woman from the Eisteddfod area, is responsible for designing and creating the Chair. She says, “It has been such an honour to design and create a Chair for the National Eisteddfod especially with the festival being held locally. I appreciate the opportunity and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“The River Conwy and the county’s industries have inspired the design. The river is the backbone of the county, flowing from its source at Llyn Conwy on the Migneint Mountain to the estuary in Conwy, and it is seen running down the two shepherd’s sticks that form the side of the Chair. The shape of the stick reflects the county’s agricultural background and the river flows brown to reflect the peatland of the area.”
At the top of both front legs, a slate bed was laid from Cwm Penmachno Quarry, framed by embedded layers of copper. The writing and date are also set in copper.
“I thought it was important to use different materials from the Conwy County area, so local slate and copper are prominent, as there is a historic copper quarry at the Great Orme, Llandudno. The copper is also visible on the Nod Cyfrin on the back panel of the Chair.
“In addition, the town of Llanrwst is visually important, and the town bridge, with its contrast of circular and angular shapes inspired the design of the two front legs. I have also created a statue of the bridge on the back panel of the Chair: it has a white finish to reflect the techniques of lime construction and old cement. Then, three coloured veins run from the back of the chair, aiming for three arches of the bridge and extending into the horizon. By following the coloured veins, which represent the language, up the Chair, we have a sense of searching for the horizon, which is a reflection of the written text of this year’s Chair.”
Gwenan used a contemporary clear resin technique to create to create the seat, with two bits of oak with raw sides reflecting the banks of the River Conwy. Between the two pieces of wood, she has clustered stones from the river, from the source to the waterfront, representing the whole county. Fish are locked in the resin, symbolising river and country life.
The Chair was hand-made by Gwenan at her workplace in Maerdy, Corwen.
Speaking as he accepted bothe the Crown and the Chair on behalf of the local committee, Trystan Lewis said, "It is a great pleasure to be here tonight to accept the Crown and the Chair on behalf of this year's Eisteddfod.
The ceremonies are two of the week's highlights and we sincerely hope that there will be two worthy winners in a few weeks' time. Our thanks to Angela Evans for her beautiful work on the Crown and to Grwp Cynefin and John Arthur and Margaret Glyn Jones for their generosity.
"We also thank Gwenan Jones for her work on the Chair and the Caernarfonshire and Denbighshire of the Farmers Union of Wales and the family of Gwynfor ab Ifor for their donations. I thank you on behalf of the Committee, the Eisteddfod and the County of Conwy.
The Crowning Ceremony takes place at 16:30 on Monday 5 August and the Chairing Ceremony takes place at 16:30 on Friday 9 August.