Jonathan Anderson

Jonathan Anderson

7 March // Mawrth – 16 April // Ebrill 2016


Artist Jonathan Anderson has made a new piece of work in his ‘Coal Dust Mandala’ series for Oriel Blodau Bach.

Using found materials and coal dust, these deceptively simple objects comment on environmental themes and thoughts about our current use of fossil fuels whilst simultaneously contemplating archetypal ideas about our spiritual condition.

“Mandalas and coal might equally be seen as power generators: one in the realm of the spirit and psyche, the other in the realm of human industry and technology. In our secular age a coal dust mandala might mediate a human desire for wholeness and reintegration in the continuum of the universe.”

Joy Sleeman
Senior lecturer in History and Theory of Art at the Slade School of Fine Art
‘Coal Dust Mandala’ catalogue, Oriel Myrddin Gallery 2012




Jonathan Anderson is a Swansea based artist who has been working in South Wales since graduating from Swansea Metropolitan University in 2007. He has kindly let us show a piece of his work in Oriel Blodau Bach in the midst of his busy schedule of exhibitions all over the country.

Although his work is contemporary, in his practice Anderson is quite a traditional artist. Unlike so many artists these days, working in several different fields and coming back to their practice, Anderson has a strict work ethic and is daily to be found in his studio in Swansea. Here, amongst the Buddha heads and coal dust, it is clear that this strict regime sees him, each day, contemplating the small clutch of symbols which have become synonymous with his work: the simple outline of a house with no windows or doors, the Buddha heads, the pylon totems, light bulbs, clocks and circles.

The motifs in Anderson’s work are somewhat like the cold dust mandala which is on show here at the gallery. The idea of a mandala is that by focusing and meditating for a long time on the concentric shapes of the image one can attain a higher plain of enlightenment. Within Anderson’s practice these certain shapes and symbols become mandalas – not just studied and contemplated and meditated upon but lived with for many years. The depth of the artist’s contemplation of these shapes and symbols is clear in the work he creates – you can feel it.

Every element of each piece is simple but carefully selected to bring an idea in to focus. Even the materials used: coal dust and concrete, link the work to the industrial history of the area in which it is made and the future of the planet. The repetitive symbols of houses and clocks and pylons bring in to sharp relief the beauty and the horror of modern mass production and where it is taking us.

In Anderson’s work the viewer is offered a new, old way of seeing. The small palette of symbols and the smaller palette of materials: coal dust, concrete, board, narrows down the noise of the world to a single point of focus. The work takes the idea of a religious icon and transplants it in to the modern world asking the viewer to contemplate the house, the clock, the coal dust: the trappings of our busy world and be still for a moment.



Kirsten Hinks

April 2016

Jonathan Anderson

Jacob Whittaker

Jacob Whittaker

5 November // Tachwedd – 12 December // Rhagfyr 2015

Cymanfa Ganu1_edited-3

Sound and video artist, Jacob Whittaker is based in Cardigan, west Wales and has undertaken many projects which utilise his vast collection of vinyl records. As a founding member of the Gwrando sonic art collective he created the Capeli project with sound artist, Lou Laurens over a six year period. The project visited chapels throughout west Wales performing and recording sound and visual explorations and encounters.

The piece he has made for Oriel Blodau Bach makes reference to minister and musician Ieuan Gwyllt who set up the periodic music journal ‘Blodau Cerdd (Flowers of Music)’ in 1852 with three friends which gave instruction on hymns and hymn tunes.


Oriel Blodau Bach’s Second exhibition has been created for the space by Cardigan based visual and sound artist Jacob Whittaker. Whittaker has been working with sound as part of his practice since graduating from West Wales School of the Arts in 2003. A large part of his practice is centered around his vast collection of vinyl records, within which he has a particular interest in rare and unusual Welsh recordings such as those made by local groups or choirs.

Whittaker’s piece for Oriel Blodau Bach draws on this interest, presenting a collection of record covers relating to the work of the 19th century Calvinistic Methodist Minister and musician John Roberts or Ieuan Gwyllt (John the Wild). John Roberts was involved with teaching hymns and leading choirs and played an important role in Welsh cultural history.

Whittaker has also spent many years working with chapels in the west Wales area. As part of sound collective, Gwrando with artist and singer Lou Laurens he created sonic works within chapels. Part of that project involved exploring the decline of Chapels and the fight to keep hold of local traditions and communal spaces in the face of a modern world and an apathetic congregation.

The Cymanfa Ganu is also a traditional cultural practice in Wales that is under threat, while village schools and chapels close, our communities become ever more sparse and disparate. With no facilities in their villages people are forced to travel to towns or bigger villages to attend schools, shops, festivals and even pubs leaving these sparse traditions some of the very few things left to bring communities together.

Whittaker’s piece uses record covers from a recording of a 1969 Cymanfa Ganu to explore some of these ideas. The two thick rows of Welsh dragons adorning the gallery are almost a little shocking when they first hove in to view. The striking, repeated image evokes thoughts of nationalism and identity but really it is a piece about localism and community.

The viewer is asked to question where these ideas meet and who arbitrarily designates the lines between them. The small, local communities where we spend most of our time and which are our homes are being steadily eroded by the need to make things bigger, more connected and more universal. We are becoming a global community but is it at the cost of the physical places where people live out their lives?

The interplay of nationalism, localism and globalism are caught up for each of us with our sense of identity and that makes it a difficult subject to broach. These ideas come from the place where the impersonal and the personal touch and it is a difficult line to walk. I think Whittaker’s piece is thought provoking but not dogmatic; placing it here in the heart of a small Welsh village, the kind of place you might have driven through a hundred times but never stopped or noticed, is a way of making strong connections in unusual cultural spaces. It asks the viewer to stop and consider what is happening to the hearts of our villages, our communities and our culture and which loses are worthwhile sacrifices for a more connected, more global world and which of them are too high a toll.

Kirsten Hinks

December 2016

Jacob Whittaker: Blodau Gwyllt

“Starting with an idea of using vinyl record covers with floral imagery the work evolved through a conversation with Elsa Davies about ‘Blodeugerdd’, the Welsh word for an anthology of poems or music.

Thinking on this and searching for ‘Blodau Cerdd’ led to the hymns of John Roberts a.k.a ‘Ieuan Gwyllt’ (literally ‘John the Wild’), an important figure in Welsh music and religious culture.”

ROBERTS , JOHN ( Ieuan Gwyllt ; 1822 – 1877 ), Calvinistic Methodist minister, and musician ; b. 27 Dec. 1822 at Tanrhiwfelen , a house just outside Aberystwyth , the son of Evan and Elizabeth Roberts , who moved in 1823 to Ty’n-y-ffordd , Pen-llwyn , and, in 1829 , to Pistyll-gwyn , Melindwr . The father was a precentor , the mother was also a good vocalist . He attended Lewis Edwards ‘s school at Pen-llwyn for some years. When quite young he composed a poem to which he signed his name ‘ Ieuan Gwyllt Gelltydd Melindwr ’; henceforward he became known as ‘ Ieuan Gwyllt .’ He became a clerk to Messrs. Griffith and Roberts , druggists , Aberystwyth , but after two years started to teach in Skinner Street school . This latter post he relinquished after a few months in order to go to the Borough Road Training College , London , where he stayed nine months. On his return to Aberystwyth ( 1845 ) he opened a British school which, however, he left after nine months to become clerk to Messrs. Hughes and Roberts , solicitors ; he stayed in that post for nearly seven years. In 1852 he became assistant editor of Yr Amserau , a Liverpool Welsh newspaper of which William Rees ( Gwilym Hiraethog ) (q.v.) was editor ; this connection was maintained until 1858 . On 15 June 1856 he preached his first sermon — at Runcorn . In 1858 he went to Aberdare to edit Y Gwladgarwr , and, the next year, he m. Jane Richards , Aberystwyth .

Ieuan Gwyllt began to compose music when he was quite young; a hymn-tune by him, ‘ Hafilah ,’ was published in Nov. 1839 in Yr Athraw . In 1852 he published Blodau Cerdd which contained lessons in music together with hymn-tunes which, like ‘ Hafilah ,’ were imitations of the poorer kind of English hymn-tunes. It was after he went to Liverpool ( 1852 ) that he came to recognize what was characteristic of true ecclesiastical hymn-tunes, and it was then that he began to start on his real life-work — the collection and selection of the best tunes for use by his countrymen . After labouring for six years he was able to produce ( April 1859 ) Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol , with the publication of which there began a new era of Welsh congregational singing. To the original work he added an atodiad (supplement), and, in 1870, an ychwanegiad (appendix). He arranged and harmonized a large number of hymn-tunes and psalms and himself composed some two dozen including the very famous tune ‘ Moab .’ At this time he was travelling much throughout Wales to lecture on congregational music . In 1859 he and Thomas Levi (q.v.) , Aberystwyth , issued the first number of Telyn y Plant , the name of which was changed in 1861 to Trysorfa y Plant ; Ieuan Gwyllt was responsible for the hymn-tunes. In 1859 he was asked to become minister of Pant-tywyll Calvinistic Methodist church , Merthyr Tydfil ; he was ordained on 7 Aug. 1861 at the Newcastle Emlyn Association . In March 1861 he issued the first number of Y Cerddor Cymreig , a periodical which he continued to edit and publish on his own responsibility for four years, i.e. until Hughes and Son , Wrexham , took it over ( 1865 ); Ieuan Gwyllt continued as editor until 1873 . He founded the Gwent and Morgannwg musical festival in 1854 , Gŵyl Eryri in 1866 , and Gŵyl Ardudwy in 1868 . He began to study the Tonic Sol-fa system in 1863 , producing a sol-fa edition of his Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol the next year. He founded Cerddor y Tonic Solffa in 1869 and edited it until 1874 . In 1865 he became minister of Capel Coch Calvinistic Methodist church , Llanberis, Caerns. , where he remained until he retired to Y Fron , Llanfaglan , near Caernarvon , in 1869 . He was secretary of the committee which prepared Llyfr Emynau y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , 1869 . He edited Y Goleuad , from July 1871 until Oct. 1872 . In 1874 he issued Sŵn y Jiwbili , an arrangement in Welsh of Sankey and Moody hymns and tunes. Throughout the years he was well known as music adjudicator and as conductor of singing-festivals ; he was also a frequent contributor to Y Traethodydd and Yr Oenig . He d. 14 May 1877 and was buried in Caeathro cemetery, near Caernarvon .


  • E. Jones , Ieuan Gwyllt ei fywyd, ei lafur, ei athrylith, ei nodweddion, a’i ddylanwad ar Gymru , Holywell, 1881 ;
  • Owen , Traethawd ar fywyd ac athrylith y Parchedig John Roberts (Ieuan Gwyllt) , Pwllheli, 1879 ;
  • Y Cerddor , 1892 and Jan.-May 1909.

Author: Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Old Colwyn

Text from the NLW The Dictionary of Welsh Biography

Blodau Gwyllt

“Gan ddechrau gyda syniad o ddefnyddio recordiau finyl â delweddau blodeuog, esblygodd y waith drwy sgwrs gyda Elsa Davies am ‘Blodeugerdd’, gair Cymraeg am casgliad o gerddi neu gerddoriaeth.

Meddwl ar hyn, a chwilio am ‘Blodau Cerdd’ arweiniodd at emynau John Roberts aka ‘Ieuan Gwyllt’, ffigwr pwysig mewn cerddoriaeth Gymreig a diwylliant crefyddol.”

ROBERTS , JOHN (‘ Ieuan Gwyllt ’; 1822 – 1877 ), cerddor ; g. 27 Rhagfyr 1822 yn Tanrhiwfelen ger Aberystwyth , mab Evan ac Elizabeth Roberts . Yn 1823 symudodd y teulu i fyw i Ty’nyffordd , Penllwyn , Aberystwyth , ac yn 1829 i Pistyllgwyn yn nyffryn Melindwr . Yr oedd ei dad yn ddechreuwr canu a’i fam yn gantores lled dda. Cafodd addysg am rai blynyddoedd yn ysgol Lewis Edwards [q.v.] , Penllwyn . Yn ieuanc cyfansoddodd farddoniaeth , a rhoddodd yn ffugenw wrthi ‘ Ieuan Gwyllt Gelltydd Melindwr ,’ ac wedi hyn galwyd ef yn ‘ Ieuan Gwyllt ’ tra bu byw. Yn 1842 cafodd le yn glerc gyda Griffith a Roberts , fferyllwyr , Aberystwyth , a bu yn eu gwasanaeth am ddwy flynedd. Yn 1844 penodwyd ef yn athro ysgol Skinner Street , ond ymhen ychydig fisoedd aeth i Goleg Normal Borough Road , Llundain , am naw mis. Dychwelodd yn ôl yn 1845 ac agorodd Ysgol Frutanaidd yn Aberystwyth . Ymhen naw mis rhoddodd yr ysgol i fyny ac aeth yn glerc at Hughes a Roberts , cyfreithwyr , a bu yno am saith mlynedd. Yn 1852 penodwyd ef yn is-olygydd Yr Amserau i gynorthwyo ‘ Hiraethog ,’ a pharhaodd ei gysylltiad â’r papur hyd 1858 . Yn 1856 dechreuodd bregethu , gan draddodi ei bregeth gyntaf ar 15 Mehefin yn Runcorn . Yn 1858 symudodd i Aberdâr i olygu Y Gwladgarwr . Yn 1859 priododd Jane Richards , Aberystwyth .


Dechreuodd gyfansoddi yn ieuanc, a cheir tôn yn Yr Athraw , Tachwedd 1839 o’r enw ‘ Hafilah ,’ 8.7.3. Yn 1852 dug allan Blodau Cerdd , yn cynnwys gwersi cerddorol a thonau. Wedi mynd i Lerpwl yn 1852 daeth i adnabod y wir arddull mewn cerddoriaeth eglwysig, a dechreuodd ar waith mawr ei fywyd o gasglu a dethol y tonau gorau at wasanaeth ei genedl . Ar ôl llafurio am chwe blynedd dug allan ( Ebrill 1859 ) Llyfr Tonau Cynulleidfaol , a chyda’r llyfr hwn cychwynnwyd cyfnod newydd yng nghaniadaeth grefyddol Cymru . Cyhoeddodd Atodiad ac, yn 1870 , Ychwanegiad , i’r Llyfr Tonau . Trefnodd a chynganeddodd nifer mawr o’r tonau , a chyfansoddodd ddau ddwsin o donau a salm-donau sydd mewn ymarferiad gan yr holl enwadau crefyddol; ystyrir ei dôn ‘ Moab ’ yn un o donau gorau’r byd. Teithiodd i bob rhan o Gymru i ddarlithio ar ganiadaeth grefyddol . Yn 1859 cyhoeddwyd y rhifyn cyntaf o Telyn y Plant dan olygiaeth Thomas Levi [q.v.] a ‘ Ieuan Gwyllt ’; yn 1861 newidiwyd ei enw i Trysorfa y Plant a golygai ‘ Ieuan Gwyllt ’ y tonau. Yn 1859 derbyniodd alwad i fugeilio eglwys Pant-tywyll , Merthyr , ac ordeiniwyd ef yn weinidog yng nghymdeithasfa Castellnewydd , 7 Awst 1861 . Ym mis Mawrth 1861 dug allan y rhifyn cyntaf o Y Cerddor Cymraeg , ac am bedair blynedd golygodd a chyhoeddodd ef ar ei gyfrifoldeb ei hunan. Yn 1865 ymgymerodd Hughes a’i Fab , Wrecsam , â’i gyhoeddi, ond parhaodd ‘ Ieuan Gwyllt ’ i’w olygu hyd 1873 . Yn ychwanegol at yr ysgrifau ar gerddoriaeth, rhoddid darn o gerddoriaeth glasurol gyda geiriau Cymraeg o drefniant ‘ Ieuan Gwyllt .’ Ef a sefydlodd ŵyl gerddorol Gwent a Morgannwg , 1854 ; gŵyl Eryri , 1866 ; a gŵyl Ardudwy , 1868 . Dechreuodd astudio nodiant y Tonic Sol-ffa yn 1863 , a dug allan ei Lyfr Tonau yn y nodiant hwnnw yn 1864 . Cychwynnodd Cerddor y Tonic Solffa yn 1869 , a golygodd y cylchgrawn hyd 1874 . Derbyniodd alwad i fugeilio Capel Coch ( Methodistiaid Calfinaidd ), Llanberis , yn 1865 , a gwasnaethodd yno hyd ei ymneilltuad i’r Fron , Llanfaglan , ger Caernarfon , yn 1869 . Ef oedd ysgrifennydd pwyllgor Llyfr Emynau y Methodistiaid Calfinaidd , 1869 . Bu’n olygydd Y Goleuad o Orffennaf 1871 hyd Hydref 1872 , ac yn 1874 dug allan Sŵn y Jiwbili , sef trefniant o emynau a thonau Sankey a Moody yn Gymraeg . Yr oedd yn enwog fel beirniad ac arweinydd cymanfaoedd canu . Bu f. 14 Mai 1877 a chladdwyd ef ym mynwent Caeathro ger Caernarfon .


  • E. Jones , Ieuan Gwyllt ei fywyd, ei lafur, ei athrylith, ei nodweddion, a’i ddylanwad ar Gymru , Treffynnon, 1881 ;
  • Owen ac ‘Alaw Ddu,’ Traethawd ar fywyd ac athrylith y Parchedig John Roberts (Ieuan Gwyllt) , Pwllheli, 1879 ;
  • Y Cerddor , Hydref 1892 , a Ionawr, Chwefror, Mawrth, Ebrill, a Mai 1909.

Awdur: Robert David Griffith, M.A., (1877-1958), Hen Golwyn

Testun o’r Y Bywgraffiadur Cymreig LLGC



Kathryn Campbell Dodd


Kathryn Campbell Dodd

19 September // Medi – 5 November // Tachwedd 2015

West Wales based artist Kathryn Campbell Dodd has created a new installation piece for Oriel Blodau Bach’s first ever exhibition.  Still Life with Flowers is a site responsive art work exploring the ‘blodau’ or ‘flowers’ of the gallery’s name.  The piece references the tradition of still life painting which still looms large in European cultural history.

Oriel Blodau Bach is a brand new gallery space which has been set up here in New Inn. We are delighted to have locally based artist Kathryn Campbell Dodd taking on the first solo exhibition at OBB.

Kathryn Campbell Dodd was raised in Carshalton in south London where she attended Epsom School of Art and Design and Roehampton Institute training in fine art and lettering. It was after moving to west Wales in 1995 that she really began her practice as a visual artist. After spending many years establishing a career as a successful and well-regarded painter Campbell Dodd took a u turn in her career switching her focus to video and installation art and she has not looked back since.

In recent years Campbell Dodd’s practice has moved away from the subjects of her earlier works in paint and often looks towards the domestic for inspiration. She is interested in the seen and the unseen and often uses covering or wrapping objects as a way of exploring their purpose and meaning.

The 2013 project Untitled saw the artist laboriously wrapping toast racks in white fabric. The objects once wrapped were placed together on a light box to create an eerie city of what seemed like tents or buildings. As the project moved to different galleries and events it grew with the final showing at Colony Cardigan 13 composed of at least thirty or so pieces forming a sprawling townscape of works.

Campbell Dodd’s work for Oriel Blodau Bach continues this practice of wrapping and covering objects. The piece is very much a site responsive work taking its inspiration from the village of New Inn where the gallery is set. There is a long tradition of the use of the word ‘blodau’ meaning blossom or flowers in welsh and Campbell Dodd has incorporated this in to her piece.

An array of small vases are covered and wrapped in flower-patterned fabric and placed on flower-patterned shelves in front of a flower-patterned background. The visual noise of the piece disrupts the eye asking the viewer to question the way we regard everyday objects and the meaning and cultural position of floral depictions in contemporary art. Have we reached a point where the flower is a kind of short hand symbol for a certain cultural idea or is the magnificence of nature still the ultimate muse?

Kathryn Campbell Dodd