David Appleyard
completion date:


David Appleyard's brief was to research the history of Penderyn Square in relation to the Merthyr Rising and the Dic Penderyn story and to engage with local people to develop and test out ideas through temporary interventions. The commission had an extensive programme of consultation and engagement over a period of about 10 months. (

The design of the heart comes from Merthyr's famous iron bridge (now in storage) designed by Watkin George, Principle Engineer at Richard Crawshay's Cyfarthfa Ironworks. Designed in 1799, the parapet features two hearts in the middle of the bridge. The structure is part of the Dic Penderyn story, as eye witnesses claim they saw Dic Penderyn running from the back of the Castle Inn, through the streets, and over the iron bridge towards his home.

Artist's statement:
“The iron heart from the iron bridge provides the perfect metaphor for Merthyr Tydfil. It has a a direct link to the days of the iron masters, it was originally cast in Cyfarthfa Ironworks using iron made in Merthyr Tydfil, it has a personal connection to Dic Penderyn and it has weathered throughout the last 200 years of Merthyr’s history. It is still here. Above all, it should be viewed as a symbol of love and strength, two qualities which for me (a visitor), summarise the feelings I have developed towards this Welsh Valleys town. The angle of the heart is intended to suggest its defiance in being toppled. At various points in history Merthyr Tydfil’s heart could have been broken. This hasn't happened. I hope that the iron heart, leaning against a building in the civic heart of the town will act as a reminder to anyone doubting Merthyr Tydfil’s strength and its ability to re-imagine, re-develop and above all stand tall.”

To help interpret both the sculpture and the Dic Penderyn story, David commissioned the poet Gillian Clarke to write a bi-lingual poem. Set across two large sandstone slabs in front of the sculpture, the poem has been letter-cut by John Neilsen. The poem has three verses in English and concludes with a Welsh englyn:

The Rising

Bearing their Welsh, their hunger, cold,
they trudged the roads from Ceredigion,
Carmarthenshire, the lonely upland farms,
to Merthyr and a dream of gold.

Ironstone miners, puddlers. Their hearts of iron
made their masters rich, Merthyr our biggest town,
twenty-thousand by eighteen thirty one,
that blazing day a working class was born.

They gathered beneath the peaks of Pen-y-Fan,
Corn Ddu, Cribyn, and soldiers shot them down.
Lament injustice, slaughter, the good man
hanged as a warning: Dic Penderyn.

Yn gweithio ym mwyngloddiau’r dwyrain,
ifanc, dewr, Dic Penderyn,
calon gref, calon haearn,
dieuog i’r crocbren.

Kinetic Trees, Canolfan Soar

Martin Smith
completion date:


This commission was part of the Merthyr Tydfil Town Centre Public Art scheme. Theatr Soar is an important asset in the cultural life of the town and is also a centre for the Welsh language in Merthyr. It is highly visible from the car park at the rear which provides a convenient access point, however the High Street entrance is less visible. The view from High Street is screened by shop fronts so that the theatre entrance can only be seen at the end of the passageway. This reduced visibility prompted this commission to make a work of art that brings the theatre's presence firmly into the High Street and gives it greater prominence.

Martin Smith was commissioned to create a dynamic sculptural intervention at the passageway's entrance to the High Street that would announce the theatre's presence, whilst also reflecting that this area of Pontmorlais is a conservation area.

Martin's design of two stylised metal trees forming an arch above the gates, with a lantern in the centre, creates a welcoming and contemporary entrance that also nods to the past. Old photographs of the entrance show that originally there was a metalwork arch above the gate which supported a lantern. One tree branches out over the pavement, ensuring that pedestrians are alerted to the theatre's entrance from much further down the street.

Instead of leaves, the trees are decorated with yellow kinetic elements that spin in the wind. During the design process Martin held workshops at Theatr Soar to create hand held spinning machines with children and adults.

Y Caban - public art commission for Pontio

Atelier van Lieshout
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In early 2014 the process of selecting an artist for this commission began. Pontio (Bangor University's Arts and Innovation Centre) had already been working with lead artist Bedwyr Williams to research and develop ideas for projects and Celfwaith's role was to bring those ideas together to form a series of exciting commission opportunities.

Funded by the Arts Council of Wales, this is the first of three commissions for the new arts development.

The brief required a contemporary response to the concept of the quarrymen's 'caban'.
'Y caban' was a place where quarrymen in the Welsh slate quarries (and mines) met during their lunch break – to sing, debate, and discuss various topics. A caban was a standalone building above ground (or a small chamber within a mine), which had been created by the men.

The workforce was primarily Welsh-speaking, and the caban was the hub of cultural activities. It was a great privilege to be the President of a caban and each caban had a committee. A surviving set of minutes from a caban at the Llechwedd mine at Blaenau Ffestiniog for 1908–10 records discussions on Church Disestablishment, tariff reform and other political topics. Union matters, charitable causes, Sunday sermons, educational topics and current affairs were the most common topics. During the 1904-5 Reformation prayer meetings were held in the caban.

Minor Eisteddfodau were held in the caban of some of the larger galleries during lunch hour, with someone from outside the quarry invited to judge. Competitions were held for soloists, groups, wind instruments, recitals, and poetry and prose writing. Two of the quarry Eisteddfodau even held a Bardic Chair competition, with the awarding ceremony taking place in the caban with all pomp and circumstance.

Many influential preachers and writers started their careers as quarrymen and credit the caban and the older quarrymen as inspiration for their calling. Some became clergy of the Church, and others ministers of Welsh nonconformist chapels. Quarrymen were also poets and writers, writing popular poems, and winning prizes and medals at Eisteddfodau. Their achievements are all the more remarkable considering they started their careers at a very early age some as young as 8 years old and were largely self-taught.

The Project
The historical caban was intended as a conceptual starting point - “something that celebrated the way the workers transformed what was basically a hut into myriad different uses. To perform, to argue, to discuss and to dream.” (Bedwyr Williams) The brief was not to replicate a historical structure, but to create a modern day meeting place where people could informally or formally meet and hold events.

There was a very strong response to the call out for expressions of interest, from artists, artists collaborating with architects, and from innovative architectural practices. From a short-list of five, Atelier Van Lieshout was selected; a studio practice led by Joep Van Lieshout which has an impressive track record of creating original, challenging and yet playful work. He produces objects that balance on the boundary between art, architecture and design, encompassing sculpture and mobile homes, buildings and furniture. This commission is their first permanent, site-specific installation in the UK.

Industry, the relationship between man and machine, and the de-industrialisation of the Western world are recurring themes in the work of Atelier Van Lieshout. The inspiration for this work comes from the industrial history of North Wales, as the historical main supplier of slate, and from the history of Bangor University, founded with money raised by the quarrymen, in order to educate and elevate the workers.

The slate miners toiled the soil, and their hard work provided the wealth that was the foundation of Bangor University. The University, in turn, uncovered the intellectual wealth, the academic capacities of the populace. The irregular shape of Y Caban refers to underground wealth, a golden nugget.

One Coleg Menai student benefited through an internship at the artist's studio in Rotterdam and worked with the team as they started to build the wooden frame of the fibreglass structure.

Y Caban was finally installed in October 2015 and opened to the public in early November and has already had some interesting visitors...

Tactile interpretation model of Blackfriars Friary, Bute Park

Rubin Eynon
completion date:


This project to create a tactile interpretation model of Blackfriars Friary was part of the Bute Park Restoration Project. The Blackfriars Friary site had been recently restored and although it has a fascinating history, it is poorly understood.

The brief was to create a scale model of how the friary would have looked when originally built. The medieval friary was established in the 13th century and home to a Dominican Order of Friars who were known as ‘Blackfriars’ on account of the black cloaks they wore over their white habits. However, the friary was dissolved under the reign of King Henry VIII in the 16th century and became derelict.

Much of the original building material was taken and reused by the local population in the following years so very little remained by the 19th century by which time the site formed part of the private pleasure grounds of Cardiff Castle. The third Marquess of Bute, while in residence at Cardiff Castle, commissioned an archaeological investigation of the area. This unearthed some medieval foundations and the plan of the original friary and its ancillary buildings were inferred.

The Marquess employed his architect William Frame to interpret the remains as a garden feature, which he did in low lying brickwork using different colour bricks to show where original medieval material was found and where its previous position could only be inferred.

Reproduction medieval tiles based on fragments found during the excavations were produced and laid out across the floor of the Church Choir and Nave as part of the Frame scheme.

After the Castle and grounds were handed to the people of Cardiff and taken under the stewardship of Cardiff Council the site fell once again into decline. Being back in the public domain, the site was susceptible to theft and vandalism and much of the brickwork and tiles were lost.

Artist Rubin Eynon was appointed having previous relevant experience at Caerphilly Castle and Caerleon Roman Fortress. Following a site-visit and meetings with Mark Redknap, Head of Collections & Research, Archaeology & Numismatics at National Museum Wales, Rubin prepared a digital design of the model which was agreed to be the most accurate 3D interpretation of the site given the floor plan and comparisons with other friaries of a similar scale and date. Mark Redknap provided invaluable advice on architectural details such as the shape and size of windows and the shape of the bell tower.

A bi-lingual key was also added to the model to identify the functions of the different buildings.

The model was cast in bronze and will weather gradually over time developing a rich, aged patina that will make it look like a relic of the past.

Denbigh Town – Castle Link scheme, Broomhill Lane part 2

Joss Smith, Rebecca Gouldson
completion date:


The objective to achieve greater awareness for visitors to Denbigh Castle and Walls from the town was largely met by the colourful and attractive new fingerpost ( But looking up the lane, there was still more needed to encourage visitors to take this path. The lane turns a sharp right at the top and so the view up from the high street stops at a wall. It was decided that a sculptural feature at this junction would give further reason to explore.

Joss Smith created a large scale relief sculpture and built it into the wall itself, which was dismantled and re-built by a local stone waller. The relief is in the shape of the iris of an eye, filled with flower motifs (including the broom flower) which reference the story of Blodeuwedd from the Mabinogion. She was a woman created by Math and Gwydion from nine types of flowers - broom, meadowsweet, oak blossom, primrose, cockle, bean, nettle, chestnut and hawthorn. Married to Llew Llaw Gyffes, she later fell in love with Gronw Pebyr and betrayed her husband by finding out how he could be killed and arranging his death with Gronw. However, Gwydion, avenged his nephew Llew by changing Blodeuwedd into an owl, the most hated of all birds. Some say that Gwydion pursued the faithless Blodeuwedd through the night sky, and a path of white flowers sprang up in the wake of her passing, which we today know as the Milky Way. Joss makes reference to these parts of the story with two small scale sculptures installed on the wall above the lane, of an owl in flight, and the milky way.

The broom flower wasn't the only theme to be interpreted by the artists. Rebecca Gouldson created seven designs for the utility covers along the lane, each interpreting a different historical fact or person about Denbigh. The utility covers needed to have an overall pattern and texture for safety reasons and she overlaid imagery and text over details of historical maps of the area.

The seven cover designs represent the following subjects:
1. Gwasg Gee and 'Y Gwyddionadur Cymreig'
2. The glove-making industry
3. Denbigh, Ruthin and Corwen Railway, and the opening of the railway from Ruthin to Denbigh on St David's day 1862
4. Kate Roberts 1891 – 1985 author and also a link with Gwasg Gee
5. Isaac Roberts 1829 – 1904, pioneer of astrophotography
6. Denbigh Castle
7. Hugh Middleton 1560 – 1631, goldsmith and self-taught engineer best known for bringing clean water to London in 1613.

The Town Guides in Denbigh now have a route to take visitors full of inspiring artworks to help them tell the story of Denbigh and bring history to life.

The Denbigh Town - Castle link scheme was part of Cadw’s £19 million Heritage Tourism Project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Welsh Government. The project was officially opened on the 28th November 2014.

Bute Park play sculptures

Tom Harvey
completion date:


Bute Park, a Grade I listed historical landscape in Cardiff, underwent a £5.6 million restoration project, supported by a £3.1 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The project restored some important historic features, provided new facilities and helped tell the story of Bute Park. As part of the project, sculptural play features were commissioned to introduce young people to site specific ecological and historical themes and function as part of a discovery play trail through the park.

Bute Park is Cardiff’s premier park, located in the city centre, on the eastern bank of the river Taff and described as one of the largest urban parks in the country. The southern section of the park was laid out by Andrew Pettigrew, a significant gardener and horticulturalist, as part of the pleasure grounds of Cardiff Castle, which were gifted to the people of Cardiff in 1947, along with the Castle. The southern end of the park acts as a setting to the castle with views featuring a foreground of the mature Magnolia collection. The character of the wider park is dominated by the nineteenth century plantings of mature trees supplemented by the development of the Bute Park Arboretum. The former Castle pleasure grounds’ northern boundary was the walled garden, which was used for fruit and vegetable production for the Bute family estate. Further north in the park, are extensive playing fields and woodlands which form a green corridor from the heart of the city centre to its periphery.

Sculptor Tom Harvey was appointed to create five sculptural play features which can be climbed and explored in a variety of ways. All five sculptures are linked to different locations throughout the park, for example the otter and fish sculpture is next to the river, the ‘leaf bridge’ is near the footings of an earlier bridge over the River Taff and the hollowed out log with apple tree carvings is on the orchard lawn near the Education Centre.

There is also a ‘stag beetle’ in Old Man’s Wood, not far from the popular warthog-inspired landscape feature dubbed by some as ‘Pumba’. The final sculpture of a frog and fly, which is near the Summerhouse, was developed as part of a workshop with local school children. This last sculpture was actually carved from a fallen tree stump on site.

Tom said: “I work within the tradition of direct carving without the use of scale model and this process of discovery makes the creation of the sculptures all the more dynamic. Oak and other woods native to Britain are my preferred materials to carve as they are readily available and work better within the environment."

For more information and images visit:

Golwg y Coed public art commission

David Mackie
completion date:


Golwg y Coed is a new housing development on the outskirts of Barry. The site is adjacent to Pencoetre Wood, which is an ancient woodland. The woodland context and natural character of the site was retained through planting of new hedgerows and trees and retaining existing trees where possible.

The development also includes a new playground and the artist David Mackie was commissioned to design the gates to the playground and motifs to add to the railings. He also designed a series of markers along the footpath leading from the main road into the development, which runs along the boundary of the woods.

David worked with several local schools to develop the design, including Ysgol Bro Morgannwg, Cadoxton Primary, Barry Comprehensive, Colcot Primary and St Richard Gwyn RC High School. The theme for the workshops was 'the woodlands and its wildlife' and pupils made drawings, relief work and maquettes. David then translated many of the pupils' work into the roundels on the playground railings, and the bronze relief panels set into the stone markers.

The project was commissioned by Taylor Wimpey plc as part of the Vale of Glamorgan's percent for art policy.

Anglesey Coastal Path Marker

Peter Randall-Page
completion date:


At 125 miles, the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path offers unrivalled opportunities to experience the varied and often spectacular coastal landscapes of the Isle of Anglesey; through wide tidal estuaries, beautiful sandy bays, isolated coves, and tiny villages, following the path allows walkers to experience the wildlife, history and cultural heritage of the area.

The majority of the Coastal Path is within the largest Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in Wales; a landscape designated specifically to protect the distinctive character and natural beauty of the area.

As part of the Coastal Path project, Isle of Anglesey Council commissioned Peter Randall-Page to create a marker for the path located in the shadow of Thomas Telford's Suspension Bridge across the Menai Straits. 'Circumnavigation' is a large natural boulder which has been carved with the outline of the map of Anglesey and this outline is repeated inwards and outwards covering the entire surface of the boulder. With each layer, the coastal outline becomes more and more distorted by the rough and natural shape of the boulder, so that only the original carved outline of Anglesey is the accurate shape.

The carving on the boulder is reminiscent of the ancient prehistoric and Celtic art of Western Britain, and makes a connection with the standing stones and archaeological sites on Anglesey.

Peter Randall-Page has an international reputation through his sculpture drawings and prints. He has undertaken numerous large-scale commissions and exhibited widely. His work is held in public and private collections throughout the world including Japan, South Korea, Australia, USA, Turkey, Eire, Germany and the Netherlands. A selection of his public sculptures can be found in many urban and rural locations throughout the UK including London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol, Oxford and Cambridge and his work is in the permanent collections of the Tate Gallery and the British Museum amongst others.

Commissions include 'Give and Take' in Newcastle which won the 2006 Marsh Award for Public Sculpture, 'Mind's Eye' a large ceramic wall mounted piece for the Department of Psychology at Cardiff University (2006) and a commemorative sculpture for a Mohegan Chief at Southwark Cathedral (2006). Recent projects include ‘Harmonic Solids’, Karlsruhe University, Germany (2013), ‘Metamorfoz’, Eskisehir, Turkey (2011), ‘Ridge and Furrow’, University of Iowa, USA (2011), ‘Walking The Dog’, Dulwich Picture Gallery (2009), a bridge for the garden at Dartington Hall (2011) and a major one-person exhibition in and around the Underground Gallery at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park (June 2009 - April 2010).

Ysbyty Cwm Cynon - internal commissions

Kathy Dalwood, Laura Thomas, Pascal Dubois
completion date:


In October 2010 Celfwaith was appointed by Cwm Taf Health Trust to produce a commissioning plan and to implement public art commissions for the new Ysbyty Cwm Cynon. Building work was underway and we liaised swiftly with the architect to identify potential locations for artworks. Some changes and modifications were possible to the building plan to integrate public art into the fabric of the building and external courtyards. A broad theme of 'bringing the outside in' had been suggested by HLM Architects which we were happy to pursue given the beautiful landscape surrounding the building and the fact that the hospital's footprint echoed the curve of the nearby river Cynon. The building was designed to harness the use of natural daylight with a particular sensitivity to the surrounding landscape, therefore texture, material and the play of natural light were also key considerations when forming the artists' briefs.

Five commissions were identified and implemented, three inside the building and two within external courtyards.

Atrium Wall relief sculpture
Kathy Dalwood was appointed to create a large scale relief mural in the atrium space, framed by a slate clad wall. She consulted with staff from the Aberdare and Mountain Ash hospitals (which would merge to become the new hospital) and researched the area's history. The 15 metre long inverted relief is a playful and intriguing mix of imagery made by direct casting from real life objects and materials.

The motifs relate to:
- architecture - terraced houses, chapels, pubs, bridges on the river Cynon
- music + jazz bands - musical instruments and details from the band costumes
- mining - pit ponies and breathing apparatus
- interior architectural details from the old hospitals
- the cenotaphs in both villages
- ledgers in the old hospitals which recorded donations from patrons and miners towards the running of the hospitals before the National Health Service was established
- medical equipment - various types of scissors, saws and pliers

The work is lit by both natural light from roof windows directly above the work and artificial light placed to create a wash of light over the work.
Kathy also supplied silhouette versions of some of the motifs to be etched onto the glass panels of the staircase and balcony as manifestations.
For more images see

Corridor Wall Woven textile and glass panels
Along the corridor overlooking the main public courtyard are located the Children's ward, Day care unit and Therapy services. Throughout the hospital there is a way-finding system of coloured stripes along the walls, whereby a ward is allocated a colour and you can follow that colour stripe from the beginning of a corridor until you reach the ward. Although this system made it more difficult to integrate artwork on the walls, it was possible to do so as long as the artworks worked with those colours.

Laura Thomas was commissioned to create a series of nine wall panels. They are loosely woven coloured threads suspended and fixed between two panes of glass. Vivid cotton, silk and linen threads which gradate in colour over the nine panels, were laminated in toughened, low iron glass. Each panel measures 85x85cm and Laura worked with Innovative Glass Products to make the panels.

Laura also ran a series of workshops at three primary schools taking small mobile looms with her and teaching the pupils how to weave. She brought with her a variety of colours and textiles and showed the pupils samples of her own work to inspire them.

For more images see

Restaurant Artwork
Pascal Dubois was commissioned to create an artwork for the wall leading to the cafe and restaurant. Inspired by the local landscape he took numerous photographs of trees from a low viewpoint and digitally stitched them together to create 'Llwybr'. The composition gives a sense of looking up from a pathway through the trees, and the meandering shape of the river (on which the building design is based).

The triptych panels are high quality digital prints printed onto diasec, a lightweight aluminium panel with a tough scratch resistant lacquer finish.

Ysbyty Cwm Cynon - external commissions

David Pearl, Walter Jack
completion date:


In October 2010 Celfwaith was appointed by Cwm Taf Health Trust to produce a commissioning plan and to implement public art commissions for the new Ysbyty Cwm Cynon. Building work was underway and we liaised swiftly with the architect to identify potential locations for artworks. Some changes and modifications were possible to the building plan to integrate public art into the fabric of the building and external courtyards. A broad theme of 'bringing the outside in' had been suggested by HLM Architects which we were happy to pursue given the beautiful landscape surrounding the building and the fact that the hospital's footprint echoed the curve of the nearby river Cynon. The building was designed to harness the use of natural daylight with a particular sensitivity to the surrounding landscape, therefore texture, material and the play of natural light were also key considerations when forming the artists' briefs.

Five commissions were identified and implemented, three inside the building and two within external courtyards.

Atrium Lightwell Courtyard commission
David Pearl was appointed through a design competition to create a sculptural intervention within a narrow courtyard acting as a lightwell for the atrium. The public does not have access to this courtyard but can see into it through floor to ceiling glazing. 'Luminous Ladders' are two diagonal constructions of transparent and opaque glass panels held by a stainless steel frame, which reflect and catch the sunlight within the lightwell, creating colourful shadows on the adjacent wall.

For more images see

Public Courtyard Sculptures
For the larger, public courtyard, Walter Jack Studio was appointed to design sculptural features including seating for three circular areas within the main public courtyard. As part of their brief, Walter Jack and his colleagues facilitated workshops at Mountain Ash Comprehensive School with a group of BTEC students. They showed them a model of the courtyard and explained the brief to them. The students then developed their own response to the site, making models and discussing materials, technical feasibility and installation issues with the artists.

The sculptures consist of stainless steel metal tubes gathered tightly together, twisted in an upwards sweep and allowed to open out form a focal point in the central circle, with bamboo planting and oak bench seating softening the other two areas and complementing the central feature.


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