Absent but not Forgotten

8 October // Hydref – 16 November // Tachwedd 2018

Something Strange in The Neighbourhood

Absent But Not Forgotten is an ongoing, experimental art project formed in 2010 by west Wales artists, Kathryn Campbell Dodd and Jacob Whittaker.  

“Our work explores and alludes to ideas of the paranormal, ghost hunting and the propensity to search for supernatural explanations to unexpected and unexplained phenomena. We are also interested in the associations, clichés and influences of TV and films on these issues.

As we head into the Halloween season, this new work for Oriel Blodau Bach proposes a series of seemingly simple questions to viewers to provoke thoughts about concepts of death, the afterlife and the nature of ghosts and our belief (or not) in them.  

Through a series of posters the viewer is asked to consider the idea of ‘ghosts’, and how they exist in their personal belief systems.”

You are invited to tweet your responses and tag @ABNF13

Absent but not Forgotten


Jacob Whittaker


10 July // Gorffennaf – 25 August // Awst 2017

Bragu Blodeuwedd
A film about transformation

Gorse ~~ Meadowsweet ~~ Oak ~~ Broom


This short experimental work uses the flowers from the story of Blodeuwedd and follows their transformations through fermentation processes, evoking the spirit of Blodeuwedd through chemistry, colour and sound.

The work looks at brewing as a creative act, the recipe and process become a ritual, a conjouring.

Gorse, Oak and Meadowsweet wines blended in equal parts, add 3 drops of Broom infused spirit and place in a jar with a barn owl pellet.

The final infusion continues to change as the wines oxidise and the pellet breaks down.

Perhaps she is alive.

Ac yna y kymeryssant wy blodeu y deri, a blodeu y banadyl, a blodeu yr erwein, ac o’r rei hynny, asswynaw yr un uorwyn deccaf a thelediwaf a welas dyn eiroet. Acybedydyaw o’r bedyd a wneynt yna, a dodi Blodeued arnei.

Williams, Ivor, ed., Pedeir Keinc y Mabinogi, (Cardiff, University of Wales, 1951)

Jacob Whittaker

Bragu Blodeuwedd : Cerddoriaeth//music:

The soundtrack in the Bragu Blodeuwedd video was composed and performed by Deuair (Elsa Davies and Ceri Owen-Jones):

Description of Blodeuwedd from Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch (c.1350, Parcrhydderch, Llangeitho) was entwined with chosen contemporaneous melodies (c.1320-80, Tyddewi diocese) whose words venerate female love and show honour with flower symbolism.

These words and tunes were included in an antiphonal made during the same period as the compiling of Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch, intended for specific use in the Welsh liturgical calendar.

An arrangement of choral voices was transferred to Crwth, Telyn Wrachod, and Telyn Efydd, traditional instruments of poetic art in Wales with pre-Christian lineage.

The score was composed from these influences by playing with the shifting rhythms and tones of Jacob’s sound recordings of the brewing process and to his film images.

‘[…] blodeu y deri, a blodeu y banadyl a blodeu yr erwein.’
Flowers of Broom and Gorse. Mae telyn efydd yn canu ‘Sicut Lilium Inter Spinas’.

‘[…] nit oed gyueir arnei hi ny bei yn llawn oe garyat ef.’
Meadowsweet. Mae crwth yn canu ‘O Certe Precipuus Marie Magdalene Amor’.

‘Keisswn nineu ui a thi oc an hut an lledrith hudaw gwreic idaw ynteu or blodeu.’
Oak, strength and fuel. Mae telyn wrachod yn canu ‘Kaniad Yr Efail’, alaw o’r crynhoad cerddoriaeth canoloesol Cymreig.

Forged with magic and illusion, ‘Blodeuwedd’ appears while crwth enchants ‘Felix Maria Familiam Custodi’, ‘[…] hitheu a gymerth diruawr lywenyd yndi.’

Elsa Davies and Ceri Owen-Jones

Bragu Blodeuwedd was originally commissioned for Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival 2017.

Making Flower Wines

Alongside our current exhibition Bragu Blodeuwedd at Oriel Blodau Bach, artist Jacob Whittaker has given us his recipe for making flower wine.

2017-02-23 20.02.39
1Kg sugar
1 lemon
½ cup of strong cold black tea
All purpose wine yeast
1tsp yeast nutrient

Pick all the flowers off the stalks as much as possible, the green parts are generally bitter or unpleasant tasting!

Put them in a clean, sterilised fermenting bucket with the sugar and the juice of a lemon.

Add cold water, 6 pints for a gallon, yeast and nutrient, stir well until all the sugar has dissolved. Cover loosely with a lid or towel and leave in a warm place.

Stir daily for 4 or 5 days, it should be fermenting vigorously by day 3.

On day 4 or 5 strain into a demijohn (top up with water or white grape juice if needed), fit an airlock and leave to ferment, it usually takes about 4-6 weeks.

Syphon wine off the sediment into another demijohn and move to a cooler place to clear.

All flower wines are drinkable very soon after making, although they will keep for years they don’t generally improve much after a month.

A word of caution:
Always ensure you have identified your flowers correctly, never make wine from anything you are uncertain of. Broom is a toxic plant and the flowers should be used with caution.

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