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-In the early seventies, I wasn't a
-member of Adfer, nor was I a hippy.
-But I was determined to live,
-work and raise children...
-..in an area where Welsh
-was spoken as a first language.
-Before completing my Zoology PhD
-thesis at Cardiff University...
-..I married and moved to Tregaron.
-Tregaron was one of Wales'
-most Welsh areas.
-More than 90% of the population
-it was a good decision.
-Welsh is still the natural language
-of every pub, shop and business.
-There's a nice sirloin
-in the fridge.
-Finding a job wasn't easy
-in the area.
-I'd have to make a living
-by my own devices.
-My Welsh husband
-moved here from London.
-He bought the 'Emporium', a former
-clothes shop on Tregaron square.
-We renovated the place, and opened
-a business selling Welsh crafts.
-I enjoyed travelling all over Wales
-visiting various craftsmen.
-I was looking for examples of work
-that was based on something Welsh.
-Something with a Welsh feel.
-I started asking hippies
-who had settled in Wales...
-..to read the Mabinogion
-and Welsh fables.
-This inspired them
-to create individual pieces.
-This drew a favourable reaction.
-Regarding the influx
-of newcomers to Cardiganshire...
-..I felt a sense of duty to convey
-some of our history to them.
-My father, Prof Jac L Williams, was
-from the Llanddewi Aberarth area.
-farmed in the village.
-I loved being on the farm with the
-animals. I remember this clearly...
-..though I was only 3 when they sold
-Caebislan, and retired to Aberaeron.
-Llanddewi's landscape and houses
-haven't changed for centuries.
-The people and way of life haven't
-changed much, either, in my time.
-Llanddewi is a church and parish.
-There isn't a village.
-The church stands alone on top
-of a high hill looking out to sea...
-..high above Aberarth.
-It's a pre-Christian Celtic
-site of significance...
-..like many other ecclesiastical
-sites in Cardiganshire.
-Many of the gravestones
-attest to the maritime tradition...
-..of Cardiganshire coastal villages.
-My mother's background
-was totally different.
-Her family were from Caerphilly,
-and couldn't speak Welsh.
-The historical fortified town...
-..was built around the largest
-castle of the princes of the south.
-Grandfather was a cobbler,
-grandmother a dressmaker.
-Craftsmen, like me.
-I hardly recognise the place today.
-The language was lost
-in one generation.
-Today, Welsh schools
-A way of life
-has changed completely.
-My memories of black-faced miners
-..and women nursing babies in shawls
-seem silly and romantic now.
-The contrasting backgrounds
-gave me the best of both worlds.
-I was privileged to be brought up
-I can't say Welsh or English
-is my second language.
-I've two first languages.
-It isn't just a matter of
-two languages though...
-..rather of two cultures.
-Two ways of thinking.
-My historical awareness
-came from two different directions.
-One had a literary,
-The other was about belonging
-to a country and landscape.
-like other Welsh people...
-..put a great deal of emphasis
-on formal education to get on.
-Both my father and mother
-went to University.
-Dad and Granddad taught me the Welsh
-names of plants and wild animals.
-Mother introduced me
-to the English classics.
-When I was three, we moved
-from Caerphilly to Carmarthen...
-..my parents, me,
-and my little sister, Mair.
-was a lecturer at Trinity College.
-Our home was an old mansion
-which accommodated students.
-My parents were the wardens.
-When I was 9, Dad was appointed Prof
-of Education at UCW Aberystwyth.
-Discharging his duties with
-conviction and an individual mind...
-until his untimely death in 1977.
-We moved to a big house
-in Llanbadarn Fawr.
-It's still my home,
-because my mother lives there.
-My father specialised
-He studied Quebec's
-The name of the house
-was a bit of a joke initially.
-In fact, it was sheer coincidence.
-We didn't name the house!
-A study of
-the 60s would have been interesting.
-I attended the town's Welsh school
-for two years.
-That was quite an eye-opener for me.
-It was a shock to realise English
-was the language of the school yard.
-There was almost a racist prejudice
-against the Welsh language.
-things have changed today.
-The people of Aber
-are prouder of their Welshness.
-I was fortunate that my teacher was
-the Crowned Bard John Roderick Rees.
-He prepared us for the 11+
-as the exam used to be called.
-The standard was very high,
-higher than today's GCSE, I think.
-John Roderick Rees gave me an
-excellent linguistic foundation...
-..in both Welsh and English. I'm
-very grateful to him to this day.
-I moved to Secondary School - the
-same building as Penweddig today.
-Ardwyn, as it was known,
-was Aberystwyth's grammar school.
-Most of the lessons
-were through the medium of English.
-The school had mainly traditional
-..though some subjects were taught
-in Welsh for the first two years.
-That wasn't necessarily a bad thing.
-I was fortunate to be taught
-in an academic environment...
-..by intelligent, gifted teachers.
-This was perhaps the best time of
-my life. I was very happy in school.
-I enjoyed learning all sorts
-of subjects - two in particular.
-I was pulled in two directions,
-between Biology and Art.
-I had the privilege of having
-Hywel Harries as my art teacher.
-He was here for many years. His work
-can still be seen in the school.
-Having to choose between
-the two subjects was very hard.
-At that time, academics
-and teachers, and my parents...
-..thought art college
-was for stupid people.
-The emphasis was on academia.
-I ultimately chose science.
-I continued with my art
-through college years as a hobby.
-My Biology portfolio was more
-a work of art then a science paper!
-I studied Zoology and Bio-Chemistry
-at UCW Bangor.
-Bangor had one of the best Zoology
-departments throughout Britain.
-But I was disappointed.
-The narrow-minded scientists
-had personal agendas.
-They didn't want to know
-about the relevance of other fields.
-We weren't encouraged to think
-or to nurture new ideas.
-the lecturers' own ideas.
-Memorising Biological and
-Bio-Chemical terms was a challenge.
-Whilst I followed a science course,
-most of my friends studied Welsh.
-They introduced me to scholars like
-JG Jones and Bedwyr Lewis Jones.
-I started to take an interest in our
-early literature and folk tradition.
-I participated in the activities
-of the Welsh Language Society.
-I decided to stay in Wales, and
-live through the medium of Welsh.
-After graduating from Bangor...
-..I was invited to study
-for my PhD in Cardiff...
-..through the medium of Welsh.
-No-one else had written
-a Science PhD essay in Welsh.
-This ground-breaking opportunity was
-enough to persuade me to continue.
-But I was beginning to have second
-thoughts about a scientific career.
-By the time I'd finished
-three years of research...
-..I was fed up with science
-because of the need to specialise...
-..narrowing the field
-of study and information.
-My interest was in the wider,
-philosophical aspect of Biology.
-I found the necessity
-to specialise frustrating.
-But more than anything, I realised
-that a scientific career...
-..would mean laboratory work
-in a big city.
-That wasn't what I'd set my mind on.
-And anyway, for too long, my art
-had suffered because of science.
-Tregaron would change
-In the beginning,
-we sold Welsh crafts in Tregaron.
-Soon after opening, I came across
-an exhibition of Celtic treasures.
-Many of these superb works
-struck a chord in someone like me...
-..who had fallen in love
-with Welsh and Irish legends.
-I realised people who speak Celtic
-languages have a unique heritage...
-..and how much the rest
-of the British Isles has missed out.
-Creating within the Celtic tradition
-would be my life from now on.
-Metal was the obvious
-medium to choose.
-I hadn't been involved
-with metals previously.
-I learnt to work with silver
-and gold through reading books...
-..and studying experienced people at
-work. I also experimented on my own.
-I didn't have specialist
-equipment to start...
-..nothing but a saw and files, and
-my parents' Black and Decker drill.
-Owning my own shop allowed me
-to experiment with the market.
-Much to my surprise,
-most of my pieces sold well.
-Things developed with time. I
-didn't want to progress too rapidly.
-The market kept growing.
-I talked to a friend of mine,
-Professor Leopold Corr from Austria.
-Many Celtic discoveries were made
-in Austria at that time.
-He suggested I wrote to a highbrow
-Austrian and German catalogue.
-Leopold helped me
-with the German translation.
-Much to my astonishment, quite
-substantial orders began to arrive.
-To make each one by hand without the
-proper equipment was time-consuming.
-But the money was good, and I
-was paid promptly and regularly.
-It's true to say that the German
-catalogue established my business.
-The money was used to buy better
-equipment, and I could work quicker.
-But in reality, the way I make my
-artefacts and gems hasn't changed.
-I certainly won't ever
-mass-produce them factory-style.
-The pieces are all
-individual and unique.
-When most people
-consider Celtic art...
-..they think about
-Lines weaving through each other
-in complicated, decorative patterns.
-Birds are a common feature
-of Celtic art.
-Birds are a common feature in our
-mythology and oral traditions.
-The starling in Branwen's tale,
-..or birds used as love messengers
-in our songs.
-The dragon, as we know it today,
-doesn't feature in early Celtic art.
-The early dragon was more
-of a water serpent or beaver.
-A strange, other-wordly creature who
-lived in lakes, rivers and wells.
-Spiral patterns are a characteristic
-of early Celtic art.
-Especially the 'Trisgell',
-a spiral pattern of three.
-Three is central to the whole Celtic
-tradition, and is extremely complex.
-It has run through the tradition
-for 3,000 years and more.
-Because I'm known
-as a Welsh goldsmith...
-..there is popular demand,
-especially from overseas...
-..for Welsh symbols
-in gold and silver.
-I often create love spoons from
-gold and silver, rather than wood.
-I also make larger silver spoons -
-the National Eisteddfod series.
-I made my first
-for the Lampeter Eisteddfod.
-Appearing annually, they feature
-each Eisteddfod's logo.
-They've become collectors' items
-over the years.
-These are mainly for Welsh people.
-I never produce more then fifty
-a year, and each is numbered.
-They're quite rare, and will be
-worth keeping for the future.
-I've recently started working with
-bronze. It's a new departure for me.
-the Celts' favourite metal.
-It was what they used most
-in their everyday work.
-I felt this was relevant
-to modern work.
-I wanted to make heavier and larger
-pieces than what I was used to.
-Of course, this is rather expensive
-if you're using solid silver.
-Bronze is much more suitable,
-and cheaper, for this purpose.
-I've been fortunate enough
-to have worked with Welsh gold.
-Welsh gold was mined
-in the 1980s.
-I was one of only three goldsmiths
-allowed access to it at that time.
-I was fortunate to live at a time
-when Welsh gold was mined.
-Welsh gold isn't on sale any more
-to people like me.
-It's not for selfish reasons I hope
-Welsh gold is mined once again.
-It's an important part
-of our heritage.
-The National Trust looks after
-Dolaucothi Gold mines today.
-The mine was worked
-until the late 1930s.
-But the history of Dolaucothi mines
-dates back nearly 3,000 years.
-The Romans arrived
-and began mining for gold.
-But experts have discovered signs of
-earlier mining by Bronze Age Celts.
-It's good that people can appreciate
-an important part of our history.
-But our gold industry shouldn't
-become a mere tourist attraction.
-Tourism is, and always will be, an
-important part of the Welsh economy.
-The popularity of Tregaron
-and mid-Wales with visitors...
-..has been beneficial
-to my business.
-But all businesses
-have to broaden their horizons.
-When I started selling to America,
-I had to correspond.
-This was a painfully slow process.
-The fax speeded up the process.
-Now, we have a full colour
-catalogue on the World Wide Web.
-This has transformed
-a niche market, like mine.
-The possibilities for the future
-are very exciting.
-Every artist is restricted,
-to a certain extent, by the market.
-To make a living, one has to create
-pieces that will sell.
-And since I run my own business,
-the problem is greater.
-It's difficult sometimes...
-..to know where to draw the line
-between what I'd like to create...
-..and what I know will sell -
-what my customers will like.
-I'm not prepared to compromise
-one way or the other.
-I would never make anything
-I thought was ugly and tasteless...
-..just because it would sell.
-But not all pieces are for sale.
-Individuals and establishments
-have commissioned me over the years.
-Pleasing the commissioner as well
-as myself is an enjoyable challenge.
-For the series of Welsh stamps...
-..the Post Office asked me to make
-the Prince of Wales feathers.
-I tried to make them look
-like real bird feathers.
-The Post Office, not me,
-chose the design. I chose the style.
-The brief asked for great detail,
-and the best possible craftsmanship.
-Throughout my youth, I attended the
-ancient church of Llanbadarn Fawr.
-holy stones can be found there.
-Such stones are dated according to
-the carvings upon them.
-Experts are convinced these belong
-to the early Christian Age.
-The shape of the stones
-One is phallic, and masculine.
-The other is obviously feminine.
-Pagan and Christian traditions
-have a great deal in common...
-..more than we are willing
-to acknowledge today.
-I find a certain Celtic spirituality
-in places like Strata Florida Abbey.
-This fascinates and inspires me.
-I'm drawn to the bond
-between humanity and nature.
-The awareness that time,
-and the age of man...
-but the passage of time.
-I know these are obscure things,
-impossible to put a finger on...
-..but this colours the way I think,
-and influences my work.
-No boundaries separate
-two worlds in Celtic tradition.
-There isn't a boundary
-between one art form and another.
-My work is a kind of visual poetry.
-A poet's work
-is full of poetic imagery.
-That makes sense in Welsh,
-In the same way,
-the past is a part of our present.
-If I succeed in conveying part
-of the richness of our tradition...
-..to other people, and to future
-generations, I'm happy in my work.
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