Patagonia Tapestries Created by Care Home Residents

Beautiful tapestries depicting life in Wales and Patagonia are going on permanent display at a Wrexham care home.

Pendine park residents unveil their work which they helped produce with textile artist Cefyn Burgess, which included a model boat, The Mimosa, and fabric designs which are to be displayed on the Pendine Park walls. Pendine staff Elaine Lee, Sarah Edwards, James Wallice, Chris Jones and Nicky Clarke unveil the tapestries to residents.

Residents of Pendine Park’s care homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon produced the wall hangings after working on a project about Patagonia with Ruthin-based textile artist Cefyn Burgess.

The exhibition at the Bryn Bella care home in Wrexham also features a model of the Mimosa, the clipper that carried the first Welsh settlers to Patagonia just over 150 years ago.

The project reached the final of the prestigious Arts and Business Cymru Awards.

According to Pendine Park’s artist-in-residence, Sarah Edwards, the works of art were a labour of love for many of the residents.

She said: “The completed wall hangings have been on display at Storiel, the former Gwynedd Museum and Art Gallery, in Bangor.

“Now the tapestries have been returned to us, after being on show in Bangor, they are going on permanent display within Bryn Bella Care Home.

“It’s important as residents invested a great deal of time and effort in producing what are fantastic and amazing pieces of art in their own right.”

She added: “They began by making mono prints alongside textile artist Cefyn Burgess.

“They then produced coloured prints then moved onto fabric. Each section of fabric print was then stitched together to make the wall hangings.

“Everyone played a part and used sewing machines to produce their individual section. I’m very proud, as are our residents, of what we achieved.

“They worked so hard and well together and helped each other. We saw a real community spirit develop as the work progressed.

“The wall hangings will now bring a lot of enjoyment and pleasure to residents, staff and visitors for many years to come.”

“The model of the Mimosa took many weeks of painstaking work to produce. It is decorated with the names of the Welsh passengers that were on board when the Mimosa sailed from Liverpool in May 1865.

“We used paper Papier-mâché and cardboard while the sails are made from fabric. Penybryn Care Home residents Tony Ithell and Michael Blakely did a huge amount of work on the Mimosa model although everyone played some part.

“Like the wall hangings the model will now go on permanent display within the Bryn Bella Care Home.

“It’s an important part of the Pendine Park ethos that we use the arts to enrich the lives of people across the generations. Our enrichment programme involves art in all its forms including music, poetry, storytelling and painting.

“The arts are embedded in all our staff training programmes to ensure that enrichment is a part of daily life for everybody here.

“As part of the Patagonia project residents explored the music of Patagonia and the first Welsh settlers through our links with the Hallé orchestra.”

Penybryn Care Home resident Tony Ithell e really enjoyed working on the model of the Mimosa.

Tony, a stroke victim, said: “It was fantastic. I did a lot of work on the model with Michael Blakeley. It took a couple of months to take shape. Sarah Edwards, the artist, helped make the sails.

“I’m not sure it would sail on the River Mersey but we are very proud of what we have made.”

Fellow stroke victim and Penybryn care home resident Michael Blakely said: “I’m very proud of the model. It took a long while and a lot of work to make it. We worked really hard.

“I wanted to work on the model rather than the tapestries, Tony and me enjoyed working together on the model. I like it that all the names of the passengers are written on the model.”

Bryn Bella residents Christine Jones and Tracey Wilde both worked on the wall hangings.

Christine said: “I loved it and they look amazing. We haven’t seen the completed tapestries until now. We all did our bit and they were then stitched together.

“I quite liked using the sewing machine, we all had a go. I just think they look amazing and it’s something we can be really proud of.”

Tracey added: “It’s nice to see the finished thing. I enjoyed using the sewing machine too. The whole thing was a lot of work but very interesting. They will look good on the walls now and it’s nice we did it together, all of us.”

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