Rocks of Ages from Anglesey on Show at National Eisteddfod

An exhibition featuring stones from Anglesey that pre-date dinosaurs by 250 million years will form the centrepiece of a unique display.

The boulders from the earliest period of the Earth’s history have been collected by the talented artist, Manon Awst, and will be unveiled in the arts pavilion, Y Lle Celf, on the Maes at the National Eisteddfod in Bodedern.

The activities associated with the project entitled Troelli (to spin), are being sponsored by Anglesey-based Peninsula Home Improvements and will feature Pre-Cambrian rocks that are 550-560 million years old.

They include Pillow Lavas, created when erupting lava chilled quickly against the water, with the blobs of lava expanding like a balloon to form the shapes that exist today.

An event, also supported by Peninsula Home Improvements, at this year’s National Eisteddfod which will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of world-renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, whose mother was Welsh.

Manon’s display includes a garden featuring six sculptures created from rocks she found while scouring Anglesey with scientists and geologists to look for boulders that represented the varied geology of the island.

The garden will also feature plants native to Anglesey, with Manon aiming to highlight the diverse landscapes of the island.

“Anglesey is an incredible place with landscapes from coastal to agricultural and post-industrial,” said Manon, from Pencarnisiog, on Anglesey, who studied architecture at the University of Cambridge and worked and exhibited in Berlin. “There is an ongoing debate about the future of the island in relation to energy and if it should be renewable or nuclear and I was keen to tap into that.

“I was honoured to be asked to create the display, as well as curate an activity programme in the visual arts section of the National Eisteddfod. It is a research project that aims to really engage people visiting the festival by getting them involved in such activities as an archaeology workshop and trench digging.

“I am really grateful to Peninsula Home Improvements for supporting my work. It’s terrific because it enables me to work in collaboration with partners like geologists and scientists.”

The National Eisteddfod, which runs from 4-12 August, will feature an event, also sponsored by Peninsula Home Improvements, called ‘Frank Lloyd Wright – Tu Hwnt i’r UDA (beyond the USA)’ when the relevance of the American architect’s ideas to architecture in Wales today will be discussed.

Wright, whose works include the Guggenheim Museum in New York, believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment – a philosophy that struck a chord with Ken Grayson, chief executive of Peninsula Home Improvements.

“There is a synergy with our work and that of Frank Lloyd Wright,” he said. “Many of Wright’s philosophies and ways of working are in line with ours and because the National Eisteddfod has a strong architecture theme this year, it seemed a perfect fit for us to support. The festival is also on our doorstep so it’s the perfect marriage.”

The award-winning company which employs 23 full-time staff and has a turnover of more than £2 million a year, is well known for its support of arts, culture and sport in North Wales.

“We like to give something back to the communities in which we work and it is something our staff are also passionate about,” continued Ken. “Welsh culture is all around us and is really thriving and we are delighted to play our part in helping it to flourish.”

Robyn Tomos, Visual Arts Officer at the National Eisteddfod, said, “We are delighted with the support of Peninsula Home Improvements, who already have a track record in sponsoring the arts, and look forward to discussing other possibilities with the company in the future.  Securing support like this enables us to be more ambitious in our approach to the festival and to organise additional events and activities which we know will appeal to Eisteddfod visitors.”

Peninsula, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, first began trading in Pwllheli as a spin-off from a boat-building yard and initially specialised in uPVC windows and conservatories.

They’re now looking to expand across the border into lucrative new markets in Cheshire where they are hoping to open a new showroom. More jobs are on the cards thanks to a strong order book and increasing interest in the range of high end products.

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