Amgueddfa Cymru — National Museum Wales


One of the joys of working in the world of contemporary art is the opportunity it presents to hear information directly from the artist.

On Friday we are lucky enough to have such an opportunity from two artists who were commissioned to make works for Fragile? Clare Twomey and Claire Curneen (12/06/2015 at 1.05pm).

Fragile? In Conversation with the Artists, Clare Twomey and Claire Curneen

In preparation for this we have collated sources of information on the two artists:

Clare Twomey

Clare Twomey is a British artist and a research fellow at the University of Westminster who works with clay in large-scale installations, Sculpture and site-specific works. Her work in Fragile? is a version of "Consciousness/Conscience" (

A statement on her University of Westminster Research Fellow profile reads:

"A great deal of my projects my practice can be understood as "post-studio ceramics", my work engages with clay yet often at a critical distance. I have in the past five years negotiated the realms of performance, serial production, and transience, and often involve site-specific installations. I am especially concerned with the affective relations that bind people and things, and how objects can enable a dialogue with the viewer. Clay is my constant medium as it embodies notions of permanence and inheritance, and has a profound connection with the everyday."

Over the past 10 years she has exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate, Crafts Council, Museum of Modern Art Kyoto Japan, the Eden Project, York Museum, Denver Art Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts.

Information sourced (and further available) from the following websites:

Claire Curneen

Claire Curneen is a tutor at Cardiff School of Art and Design. Her work is distinct for its figurative representation which draws us into a world of narrative. She has two works in Fragile? one piece already owned by the museum 'In the Tradition of Smiling Angels' from 2007 (View work in Art Online) and a work commissioned by the Derek Williams Trust called 'Touched'.

A statement on her website reads: " As one of the UK's foremost ceramic artists Curneen draws us into a world of narrative, where the tension between the real and the imagined is played out before us. Her ceramic figures have an imposing presence which tap into our desires, fears and mysteries....These figures bear bold narratives of human experiences and explore themes around death, rebirth and the sublime, which are both subtle and dramatic."

Her work has been exhibited both in Britain (Mission Gallery, Swansea, London and Ruthin Craft Centre to name a few) and internationally in Switzerland, the USA and France.

Information sourced (and further available) from the following websites:

Well last week we posted about the Beehives up on the roof at National Museum Cardiff and how they fared over the winter. Today we have another exert from our Beekeeper’s diary. Has the weaker colony survived? Let’s find out: The weather in late March and early April was fantastic and the strong colony went from strength to strength.

During the next weekly (9th April) inspection we decided to place our first super (a set of shallow frames from which the queen is excluded, used to collect honey) on the strong colony and moved another frame of brood across to the weaker colony. This moving of frames serves two purposes, it helps reinforce the struggling colony whilst limiting the size and growth of the strong colony and thus lessens the risk of having to deal with the colony growing to such an extent that the bees swarm. Every time a frame of brood is removed the frame is replaced with a fresh frame of new foundation (a sheet of patterned wax on which bees build their comb). The rate of productivity is currently so high in the strong colony that a new frame of foundation is being drawn out and prepared for laying within a week!

At the next inspection (16th April) another frame of brood was moved across and the contact feeder in the weaker colony was refilled with more honey. Whilst honey might not be the most cost effective feed the bees certainly like it!

We noticed that the weaker colony certainly had more activity with more bees flying in and out than has been seen recently, hopefully the translocation of brood is working and the colony is growing in strength and numbers.

Whist inspecting the strong colony, a large elongated brood cell called a queen cup was noted- it wasn’t sealed and contained a grub. We removed the cup and grub in order to minimise the chances of a new queen bee hatching and the colony swarming. We inspected the rest of the frames looking particularly closely at the abundance of dome shaped, capped drone (male) cells! There were quite a number of hatched drone bees too, which may be indicative of the colony getting ready to swarm? Hopefully our regular removal of brood should limit the expansion and development of the colony and reduce the risk of having to deal with swarming this year.

Beekeepers use the term drawn-out to describe the process where bees build their honeycomb structures on a base of fresh foundation wax. The bees build up hexagonal honeycomb until the honeycomb cells are 12-15mm deep. This process of building comb outwards from the flat foundation is called drawing-out. The super that we placed on the strong colony is gradually getting filled with honey too.

The bees are gradually filling the fully drawn-out comb in the centre of the super although all the frames have been drawn out to some extent. The super frames that have been partial filled have been moved one or two positions out towards the edge of the super and the more empty frames have been moved inwards to a more central position in order to encourage the bees to work evenly across all the frames within the super.

During this inspection we also installed a third hive on the roof. In this third hive we placed pheromone swarm lures. The idea being that a passing swarm of bees might find and settle in this hive if we’re lucky. The lure hive is essentially a normal hive loaded with foundation filled frames. We have used some of the old, drawn-out frames from our other hives in order to give it a lived in feel and scent (apparently swarms don’t typically settle in new unused hives). If we aren’t successful in catching a wild swarm the hive can be used to home a third colony of bees that we currently have on order with Natures Little Helpers.

29th April inspection – it was a lovely sunny warm day although perhaps in hindsight a little windy for bee keeping inspections. I took the opportunity to take Annette Townsend up onto the roof to see the bees. Not only was it tough to hold the frames of bees still in the breeze, but Annette’s hair and bee keeping suit was being buffeted around so much that she could hardly see a thing! The bees weren’t keen either, there were lots flying around and they were generally grumpy. Annette has blogged her experience, so you can see how she found beekeeping here. Anyway another lesson learned – too much wind makes life tricky – heavy frames of bees and a strong breeze aren’t compatible!  

Bee inspection 6th May, another sunny but slightly breezy day again but not as bad as the previous windy hive inspection. Again the weaker colony wasn’t inspected particularly intensively, we just quickly refilled the feeder with honey and once again transferred a frame of brood and juvenile bees into the hive from the stronger colony. Our efforts certainly seem to be paying off, once again there seemed to be significantly more bees flying in and out of the hive plus at least four of the frames now seemed to be covered in bees! The feeder obviously is still being used by the bees but they also seem to be flying out to find natural sources of food too.

The strong colony seems to have stepped up a gear too! Another two queen cups were removed and several suspect other dome shaped cells were removed just in case! A section of brace comb was cut at the edge of the hive in order to allow all the frames to be removed freely. Brace comb is extra honeycomb that is built between frames, it is perfectly normal for wild bee colonies but for managed hives, brace comb prevents frames being removed. The brood now extends almost to the outside frames and there is a considerable amount of capped honey surrounding the brood. The small honey collecting frames inside the super were moved around once again to ensure an even honey fill. None of the honey filled comb in the super is actually capped (the honey sealed in with a wax cover) yet but you get the impression that within a few weeks another super might need to be added!


Yn ei dyddiadur echddoe, soniodd Kate ei bod yn mynd i fferm y Fedwarian, Rhyduchaf, am y ‘week end’. Yn ddiweddar mae hi hefyd wedi bod yn 'white washio' ei llofft ac yn gwibio o le i le ar ei 'bike'. Ar yr olwg gyntaf, mae geiriau fel hyn yn edrych yn chwithig mewn dyddiadur wedi ei leoli mewn cymuned a chyfnod o'i fath. Ond o gofio cefndir Kate, efallai nad yw hi’n syndod iddi fabwysiadu rhai ymadroddion Saesneg fel rhan o’i iaith bob dydd.

Mae cyfrifiad 1911 yn dangos ei bod yn medru’r ddwy iaith – y Gymraeg a’r Saesneg. Felly hefyd ei mam, Alice Jane Ellis. Er hyn, Cymraeg yn unig oedd iaith ei llys-dad, Ellis Roberts Ellis. Os gofiwch chi, ganwyd Kate yn y Brymbo, ger Wrecsam, ble roedd ei thad – David Williams – yn gweithio yn y diwydiant dur. Fel ei mam, roedd yntau hefyd yn frodor o Gefnddwysarn, ond bu farw mewn damwain yn y gweithle pan roedd hi’n naw mis oed. Yn ddiweddarach, ailbriododd ei mam ac aeth y teulu bach newydd i fyw i Lantisilio yn 1897. Roedd Kate yn bum mlwydd oed ar y pryd, ac yn ddeuddeg pan ddychwelodd y teulu i Feirionnydd. Dyma ei hatgofion o’r cyfnod:

Mi ailbriododd mam a mi athon ni i fyw i Llantisilio i ochor Llangollen wedyn yn de… Sisnigedd iawn o’dd fano. A dw i’n diolch am hynny heddiw hefyd ynde, i mi gael yn nhrwytho yn y Saesneg i fynd drwy’r byd… Doedd dim [Cymraeg] tu allan i’r ty.

Wrth wrando ar lais Kate Rowlands ar y tapiau sain sydd yma yn Sain Ffagan, mae’n rhyfedd meddwl amdani’n siarad Saesneg o gwbl! Yn ôl ei theulu, bu Kate yn gweini yn Lerpwl yn y blynyddoedd cyn 1915 a chafodd flas mawr ar fywyd dinesig. Roedd hi’n canlyn Bob Price Rowlands ar y pryd (ei gwr yn ddiweddarach) a bu yntau hefyd yn gweithio yn nociau Lerpwl am sbel. Mae ei ddyddiadur o'r cyfnod ym meddiant y teulu. Yn ôl bob sôn, mae'r iaith yn troi i'r Saesneg yn fwya' sydyn - dylanwad y ddinas mae'n siwr.

Bydd cyfle eto i ysgrifennu blog ehangach am iaith dyddiadur Kate, ond am y tro mwynhewch eich weekend.

As part of Volunteers’ Week 2015 Amgueddfa Cymru invited the Volunteers, Community Partners and Staff who helped to build Bryn Eryr to a special preview event.

Bryn Eryr is our newly built Iron Age Farmstead which will be open to the public in the near future. Our volunteers and staff have helped with all elements of this build; from mixing clay to make the walls, to making nettle rope, to threshing spelt and even thatching the roof! They have been busy building this farmstead for the last 12 months, in preparation for the thousands of visitors and school children who will come to experience what life might have been like in the Iron Age.  

Our Bryn Eryr celebration was a great chance for everyone to bring family and friends, and even their dogs to see the outcome of all their hard work. Our learning department held activities for everyone to get involved in. There was copper beating, rope making and wool spinning, so everyone learnt a new skill and had fun in the process. This gave us a great chance to trial these activities before Bryn Eryr opens officially.

This marked the end of Amgueddfa Cymru’s Volunteers’ Week celebrations and as a final note we would like to thank everyone who has volunteered with us, either as an individual, in a group or to the 1025 visitors who last summer helped us make nettle rope, without your ongoing support we wouldn’t have achieved this.

We are celebrating our new exhibition Chalkie Davies the NME Years with some great new products.


A 54 page catalogue containing over 40 plates of photographs from Ziggy era Bowie through to the Two Tone movement and Punk and beyond. The book’s introduction is by acclaimed journalist Jon Savage.

Postcard Box

Chalkie Davies has chosen 24 of his photographs for this box of postcards. This set of portraits include subjects as diverse as The Ramones, Dolly Parton, the Sex Pistols and Elton John and span Chalkie’s work during the late 1970s and 1980s.

Design: Barney Bubble Estate


An A1 sized exhibition poster featuring a striking image of Lemmy from Motorhead.

Magnet Sets

Two sets of themed magnets featuring David Byrne and Julian Cope and The Specials and John Lydon.

Camera Jewellery

Whether you used a Kodak Instamatic or a Polaroid Supercolour you’ll love these fun pieces of jewellery from Ladybird Likes.