The Giant Red Eisteddfod

12 August 2017

How many photos and selfies have been taken in front of the iconic ‘Eisteddfod’ letters on the Maes in Bodedern during the week? 

But how many of us know the story behind the big red word?

Tony Thomas, the Eisteddfod’s Technical Officer was responsible for creating the giant letters in the festival’s workshop in Llanybydder, Carmarthenshire over the 2013 winter months.  The word first appeared on the Maes in Carmarthenshire in 2014, and the installation has been on the Maes every year since then.

Tony is also responsible for the word ‘Croeso’ on the roundabout between the A55 and Bodedern, and this was also created in the workshop over the winter.  But the most interesting thing about both installations is that they were created using materials recycled over the years – a perfect example of something which has become very popular over recent years – ‘upcycling’.

He says, “The stand underneath the letters comes from steel from the old Arts and Crafts Pavilion of the 1980s before Y Lle Celf, and the steel on top of the letters has been taken from the old Literary Pavilion which has been kept in storage since the late 80s.  It’s important to try and use old materials when we can – there’s no point in buying new things when we have plenty of high-quality recyclable materials in Llanybydder.

“Together, the letters in the words ‘Croeso’ and ‘Eisteddfod’ can create a combination of 1,200 word – they don’t all make perfect sense but they’re still words!”

Tony has been working for the Eisteddfod for thirty years, and says that things have changed a lot during this period, “When I started with the Eisteddfod, we didn’t have a workshop.  We would finish one project and move straight on to the next Maes.  This has changed a lot over the years and we now reach the Maes in June and are off-site during September.  So we have more time to be creative and think of new things to put on the Maes the following year.

“Seeing people taking photos in front of the word ‘Eisteddfod’ and the fact that it’s now part of the Pavilion set fills me with tremendous pride.  The letters seem to have taken the place of the Pink Pavilion by now, and I love seeing people getting excited when they seem them and wanting to take photos of something I’ve created.  That’s the best feeling!”




Tony Thomas, who built the iconic installation Some of the 2017 Hogia'r Maes