Myddfai Community Hall

Friday, December 5th, 2014

Myddfai is a wonderful place, steeped in history and legend and lying on the edge of Y Mynydd Du (the Black Mountain) part of the beautiful Brecon Beacons. There is a legend of the Lady of Llyn-y-Fan Fach and her sons who became the Physicians of Myddfai. I will write more about them in another blog. It is also where Prince Charles has his Welsh home.

A charity was founded in 1964 to run the village hall. Myddfai Ty Talcen Charity has since developed and expanded and encourages community participation in a range of different ways from social and recreational to welfare and educational opportunities.

Craft Shop

A few years ago Myddfai built a new Community Hall and Visitor Centre with a grant from Trusthouse Charitable Foundation and the help of BBC Village SOS ) and a lot of work by a great many local people. Also a wonderful social enterprise the Myddfai Trading Co.  was created which is going strong. The Community Hall has a shop ( supporting many local artists and craft-makers. The new centre also has a wonderful large hall with exposed beams, etc and is a great place for weddings, conferences and community events for people of the Myddfai area and beyond. It is inspiring to see a village rejuvenate itself like this.

I publish books, mostly about Pembrokeshire, but a couple covering different subjects about Wales. I took over the business when my father retired. He ran the business for many years. The books were mostly written by my father, Tony Roberts, and illustrated by my mother, Elizabeth.  A couple were commissioned by them and written by a specialist in their subject. Welsh Herbal Medicine by David Hoffmann and Myths and Legends of Wales retold by Tony Roberts were both books with special relevance to Myddfai. When I took the books to the shop I talked about my wood-turning and they were very interested in my work. So began a successful working relationship which has continued for several years now. I feel privileged to be a part of this enterprise, albeit a very small part.

Myddfai will be having their Christmas Craft Fair on Saturday 6th December and I will have a stall and am looking forward to that.


Ceredigion Craft Makers

Friday, November 28th, 2014

When I first started turning wood I was caring for my partner’s mother who had dementia. This meant that my time was committed so, no craft fairs, craft groups or co-operatives who rent a shop where I would have to be able to donate my time on a regular basis. So all my work was sold through shops and galleries.

image001I am no longer caring for someone so I am now free to sell in whatever way I choose and a couple of months ago I joined Ceredigion Craft Makers. It is a mixed group promoting and selling various quality crafts in different venues within the county throughout the year. Anyone who wants to join has to go through a selection procedure to make sure that the standard of work and therefore the reputation of the whole group remains high.

We have an exhibition in Aberaeron this week. I was stewarding yesterday with Maggie who is as enthusiastic about working with textiles as I am about working with wood. The day flew by. I love feeling someone’s enthusiasm for what they do and Maggie has a wealth of experience. She cards and spins from the fleece and then makes wonderful, individual, knitted scarves, etc. She also sells starter packs for people wanting to learn spinning with a drop spindle which I have heard about but never seen in action before. She is also keen on felting and in fact anything to do with textiles. Her partner, Alan, is a blacksmith and makes a fantastic range of both useful and ornamental items. It was great to be discussing all things craft with someone with experience, passion, knowledge and it made me realise how valuable being part of a group like this will be for me.

Obviously as we lead up to Christmas there are so many different demands on the members so we were a small group. Anyway, who is exhibiting this week is:-

Roni Roberts Artistic Woodcraft. Roni Roberts stand at Ceredigion Craft Makers Fair.
Alan Perry – (Blacksmith)
Crefftau Coeden Gwyn, White Tree Crafts – (Jewellery)
Lampeter Woodturning – (woodturning)
Maggie Anne – (textiles)
Mary Rose Hayfield – (painter and author)
Nantyfelin Pottery – (ceramics)
Hooray4Clay – (ceramics)
Karen Cole – (jewellery)

More about the work of all the above are on the Ceredigion Craft Makers website

Gŵyl Ceiau Teifi / Cardigan Quays Festival.

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Stand at Gwyl Ceiau Teifi

Gŵyl Ceiau Teifi / Cardigan Quays Festival has been held for several years on the banks of the river Teifi in Cardigan on August bank holiday Saturday. This year the organisers wanted to make a special effort to provide a space for local makers. One of the organisers, Nick Newland of said “We would like to celebrate this talent by providing a place where makers can meet and demonstrate to our community and to visitors what a great place Cardigan is for creative careers, and incidentally, where makers can exchange ideas and discuss mutual problems.”

I was very pleased to have a stand at Gŵyl Ceiau Teifi / Cardigan Quays Festival with my woodwork and I took a little lathe to discuss what turning entails.

There was such a range of different makers there. As I couldn’t leave my stand for long I didn’t see and speak to everyone. But I can try to give a feel of the variety and wealth of skills around. Next to me were other woodworkers, one making beautiful rustic furniture and carved bowls and boxes. On the other side were a couple of friends who carved spoons, bowls, boxes and did forestry and tree surgery work. Jonathon Jones, four times Formula One powerboating world champion, (0-60 in under 2 seconds!) had brought in one of the boats his company has designed and constructed. He also brought some beautiful driftwood standard lamps he’d made. There were also restored horse-drawn carriages, an author of books for teenagers, carefully crafted models, model cars (that were drivable!), hand-made harps by Telynau Teifi And if one was peckish home-made pasta. And so many more…

Joe Finch was there with his potter’s wheel which of course the kids loved. And his wife Trudy’s beautiful paintings graced one wall. Susie of had her spinning wheel as well as a selection of her lovely boots which have been keeping my feet warm for decades! I understand there was a basket weaver somewhere outside. I could occasionally hear the blacksmith’s hammer outside and his wife made beautiful handbags. Another stand that was there was cariad glass, stained glass makers who as well as making and repairing stained glass also offer courses.

Judging from the people who spoke to me Gŵyl Ceiau Teifi / Cardigan Quays Festival was a wonderful showcase for both locals and holiday visitors to see how many creative people live round here with such a wide range of skills.