Tag Archives: Annibyniaeth

Reinventing An Icon: Part 2

1 Aug

roughs

 

I did some research on medieval clothing to try and picture Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd for the flag design I was working on.   Unmarried women wore their hair in elaborate braids but as soon as they married, they adopted a veil-like headdress.

Medieval Clothing

Gwenllian was married at 16 so I tried out a few ideas based on a typical headdress of the early 1100s. It didn’t do it for me. I think the medieval clothing erects a barrier between her and us. Heroes and legends are constantly changed, updated, made relevant for each age and I wanted people here and now in the 21st century to identify with her.

 

veiled

The medieval Gwenllian…. graphite on paper

Norman Invaders

I wanted to know what she would be like if I could go back in time to meet her. I tried to get to know her, what she was like in real life. She was a woman in her mid-30s when she was murdered by the Norman invaders and a mother of 5. She was great Lady of a castle and an educated and gracious diplomat.

Lived as an Outlaw

She fought for her people and her nation and lived as an outlaw. Although she was recognised as a beauty, she wasn’t young; she was a mature, strong woman with a lot of confidence, someone accessible to modern people, someone we would respond to if we saw her on the street – not someone from the distant and unfamiliar past.

Back to the drawing board ……

 

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Gwenllian was suggested by Christine Moore of the YesCymru Bridgend group as the subject of a fourth flag to be carried on the Independence march in Caernarfon on July 27th organised by AUOB Cymru, a non-party political, non-partisan organisation. The flags and banner have been donated by Charles Ashburner of Grŵp Baner Cymru.

 

Grwp Baner Cymru

Photo from Grŵp Baner Cymru

 

And he’s now producing Gwenllian flags….

 

 

Reinventing An Icon: Part 1

31 Jul

A couple of weeks ago, local flagmaker Charles Ashburner sent me an email asking if I’d like to get involved in the creation of a new flag. We had met last year when I was working on a commission for the SkyArts TV channel, creating a new artwork – a new flag for Britain that I called “Here Be Dragons“.

Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd

He asked me to develop an image of the historical Welsh heroine, Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, for the AUOB Cymru (All Under One Banner Wales) march in Caernarfon on July 27th. That wasn’t a lot of time and I nearly said no. But it’s a cause I support so I took a deep breath and said yes and started to research our Welsh warrior princess.

graphite small
Gwenllian in graphite, one of my original sketches

Zena Warrior Princess

So where to start? I found a very interesting little book by Laurel Rockerfeller which gave me the outline of her life but thinking about how to portray her visually was challenging as there are no contemporary drawings and I didn’t want to go down the “Zena Warrior Princess” route (although I love Zena).

Hugh Williams

And although I liked the painting by Hugh Williams from 1909 that’s associated with her, I didn’t want to reproduce that because it has a very Edwardian sensibility and style. I realised that I had to bring her out of the middle ages and rescue her from early 20th century Art Nouveau and bring her bang up to date into the 21st century.

Gwenllian 1
Gwenllian by Hugh Williams 1909

I wondered what she would be like if I could pop into the Tardis with Doctor Who and travel back in time to meet her …… with my pencil and sketchbook …..

….to be continued ….

Scribbling Yes Cymru

30 Jul

Husb and I endured eleven hours on a coach with the smelliest toilets in the universe on Saturday to get to and from the YES Cymru march in Caernarfon. It was amazing! Over 8,000 people crammed into the tiny cobbled streets and little market square, enjoying the party atmosphere and listening to inspiring speakers. It was a great crowd and of course, I had to have a scribble! Our coach from Swansea picked up the Llanelli / Carmarthen posse that included a bunch of lads who rocked the Welsh costume – here’s one of them in a rather fetching mini-skirted version.

Caernarfon 3

And a few faces in the crowd…..
Caernarfon 2

….including Lloyd-George modelling an ANNIBYNIAETH banner!

Caernarfon 1

And I did a quick sketch of Scottish speaker and supporter Hardeep Singh Kohli as he sat and waited for his turn behind the ever-moving flags and legs. He was hilarious and such a fervent supporter of Scottish … and Welsh … independence.

Caernarfon 4

 

I’m still recovering from the travel sickness. But it was worth it.

 

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