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Arts and gifts in Aberystwyth

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screen-shot-2016-11-17-at-10-31-14ABERYSTWYTH ARTS CENTRE have once again welcomed back the Winter Craft and Gift Fair, providing great inspiration for those who are looking for gifts and for those who are simply interested in seeing what local businesses offer.

The annual extravaganza, with over 80 stalls, opened on Friday (Oct 21) and will be available to browse around until December 23, with a Christmas Food Fair on November 26.

This means that it provides a great opportunity for a unique Christmas shopping trip and it is one that will not be forgotten.

The Winter Craft and Gift Fair has been an annual feature at the Arts Centre for over 30 years and as you walk through the lively Arts Centre, you will be able to discover a wonderful array of crafts and gifts produced by local makers from Ceredigion and Mid Wales.

The fair regularly features work from over 80 makers, predominantly working in Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire with such items including ceramics, textiles, candles, prints, original artwork, photography, cosmetics and jewellery.

It has helped to support many craft makers and producers in the region, and it has also expanded over the years to include Mid Wales-based food and drink producers. In addition, it also includes a range of toys and games for children.

This year, you can find a wide selection of stalls that will grab your attention and to give you a flavour of some of the businesses that are present at the Winter Craft and Gift Fair, The Herald decided to interview a few of the owners.

KUTIS SKINCARE

At the fair, you will find a section dedicated to ‘Kutis Skincare’, a wonderful skincare range that will catch your interest in no time.

Tiffany Villiers, co-founder, discussed with us about the business and their stall at the Craft Fair.

Tiffany said: “We are Kutis Skincare, a start up based in Llandrindod Wells. We chose ‘ku.tIs’ because it is Latin for ‘skin’ and when spelled phonetically makes for our unique branding.

“We hand-make and sell 100% natural skincare products using responsibly sourced ingredients that have been minimally processed to wholesalers and direct to our customers.

“We never use preservatives, parabens or stabilisers, not even the naturally derived ones. We want our customers to have peace of mind when buying and using our products – there’s no ‘green-washing’ at Kutis!”

Tiffany then went on to say: “Myself and my work partner, Kate Powlesland, run the business together from our little workshop at our local Community Gardens in Howey. We love working from Ashfield; it’s a beautiful place and has the facilities for us to move into growing our own plants to process in the future!

“Since we set up a year and a half ago, we have succeeded in being stocked in a total of 12 shops in Powys, Herefordshire and Somerset. We are small but we are growing!

“We chose to stock our full range of Organic Whipped Body Butters, Organic Lip Balms, Cleansing Masks, Organic Serums and Natural Deodorants as well as our Christmas Gift Packs.

“Most of our items are small and make really nice stocking fillers but it’s great to be able to pick up a ready packaged gift, which is why we chose to stock our Little Luxuries and Daily Face Care Gift Packs.

“Our ‘Little Luxuries’ gift boxes each contain a mini-sized version of our range, including our Organic Body Butter, Cleansing Mask, Organic Serum and popular slider tin Lip Balms. It’s a great way to sample a little of everything!”

LACEWING FAIRY COLLECTION

The Herald also spoke to Deryn Wilcox, designer of the ‘Lacewing Fairy Collection’, about the business: “I’ve lived near Llangrannog for many years, and started making textile fairies as a hobby while working as a University Office Administrator. They gradually took over my life when they started selling successfully at craft fairs and in local shops.

“I was even fortunate enough to sell some to Liberty of London several Christmases ago, which was really exciting. I have received many commissions for custom-made fairies as gifts and especially for weddings.

“The inspiration for the original fairy creations was based on the peg dolls of childhood. They are individually handcrafted in fine detail using quality textiles and other materials, including silks, vintage fabrics and laces.

“The arms, legs and heads are wooden, with the hand-painted faces giving each fairy its own personality. They are suitable as gifts for many occasions or as the start of a collection.”

Deryn then went on to explain to The Herald about her items that are currently displayed at Aberystwyth Arts Centre: “Over the years, the fairies have evolved and other smaller items introduced, such as tooth fairies, trios of fairies, bumble fairies, cotton and silk angels, felt dolls and Christmas decorations.

“The display at Aberystwyth Arts Centre shows a good selection of my current products, from large statement pieces to small stocking fillers and decorations.”

We then asked Deryn about how she feels the Craft Fair will help to promote her business.

“This is the fifth consecutive year I have been involved in the Aberystwyth Arts Centre Winter Craft and Gift Fair. I find it is an extremely good outlet, as people are attracted to the Fair from quite a wide area, and the Centre has long opening hours over several weeks leading up to Christmas.

“A number of my commissions have been as a result of first being seen there.”

RHIANNON ROBERTS

If you love art or are after a unique present for a loved one, then ‘Rhiannon Art’ stall is the ideal stop for you at the Winter Craft and Gift Fair, with bold designs and one-off items aimed to put a smile on your face.

The Herald was able to speak to designer Rhiannon Roberts about the business and why people should come along to visit her stall: “I am a full time artist from Ciliau Aeron now living in Cardiff Bay. I’m self taught and have a degree in Psychology, in fact! I have been a full time artist for six years now, ever since graduating in 2010.

“I started off just selling my originals but then slowly thought about different products. I now sell cards, coasters, placemats, prints and much more. I sell them to galleries and gift shops across Wales.

“I also sell them in markets and different stalls such as the Eisteddfods, Cardiff Christmas Market and local events. A big part of my job now is going round schools in Wales painting big murals with the children in my style, showing their local buildings.”

Rhiannon went on to say: “Children love the colour and the quirkiness. I think the style works as it represents me as a person – I try to always have fun and be happy. I enjoy life and hope that I have a colourful personality, just like my paintings.

“I say that I mix fantasy with reality to create a fairytale world. The buildings look realistic and then I bring unique and fun elements in like floating flowers or magical love boats to make it more eye-catching.

“I love being self-employed and working my own hours. Seeing a product or design that I created is a fantastic feeling and I always get a buzz out of it. I’m focusing now on selling more online on my website (www.rhiannonart.co.uk) – all products are on there – and I think that more people shop online now. I do a lot of promoting through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.”

Rhiannon went on to say that the Craft and Gift Fair is an important aspect to promoting the businesses: “I’m based in Cardiff now. However, I still find time to come back to West Wales to see family and sell my products in shops and events. I would say that I spend 50% of my time in Cardiff and 50% in Ciliau Aeron.

“However, I can’t be in two places at once and so by having my work at the Arts Centre for two months, it gives me a base and it gives new people as well as old customers a chance to see my designs.”

Rhiannon concluded by saying: “The Arts Centre gets so many visitors and it’s nice for them to have a souvenir of Aberystwyth to take home with them.”

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Nearly 7,000 in Wales sign up for UK’s biggest ever plastics investigation

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THE BIG PLASTIC COUNT, the UK’s biggest ever investigation into household plastic waste, kicks off today.

Over 140,000 are planning to take part across the country, including schools, Westminster MPs, community groups, businesses, families and individuals. 6,804 people in Wales have signed up, including nine MPs and 80 teachers who will be taking part with their classes.

The Big Plastic Count is a collaboration between Everyday Plastic and Greenpeace UK.

Celebrities including Chris Packham, Joanna Lumley and Bonnie Wright are also taking part.

94 cross-party Westminster MPs, including 9 from Wales, 3,500 school classes from all over the UK and People’s Postcode Lottery have also signed up.

The UK produces more plastic waste per person than any other country except the USA.

In 2018, the country generated 5.2 million tonnes of plastic waste, enough to fill Wembley Stadium six times over.

The UK also exports vast quantities of plastic waste abroad, as highlighted last year by Greenpeace’s Wasteminster viral animation.

The Big Plastic Count will reveal how much plastic packaging waste is leaving UK homes and what happens to it after we throw it away.

This will provide a national snapshot of our plastic waste problem, filling a crucial evidence gap and showing the UK government and supermarkets that they must act to tackle the problem.

Chris Packham said: “The UK is one of the worst plastic polluters in the world. Our broken recycling system doesn’t work so instead of dealing with our plastic waste ourselves, we send vast quantities of it overseas where it’s out of sight and out of mind for us, but destroying nature and harming people elsewhere.”

“The Big Plastic Count is such an exciting project. It will, for the first time, tell ordinary people what happens to their plastic waste after we throw it away, and we hope it will force the government to take action and address the plastic waste crisis.”

Chris Thorne, plastics campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “The biggest ever investigation into the UK’s plastic waste is officially underway.”

“We’re delighted that so many people across Wales have signed up, making clear once again that the public is concerned about their plastic waste, and want to see genuine action from the government to turn the tide on our plastics crisis.”

“That means an immediate end to us dumping our waste on other countries like Turkey, and legally binding targets that actually tackle the plastic problem at source.”

Daniel Webb of Everyday Plastic said: “I decided to count all of my plastic waste for a whole year back in 2017. Doing so helped me to understand my personal plastic footprint, which completely shocked me and drove me to begin campaigning for change. ”

The results from The Big Plastic Count will show us what’s really happening to our plastic waste, at a national scale, and inspire thousands of participants to demand real action to stem the tide of plastic packaging.

“This really is a crucial moment in the struggle against the plastic problem.”

“We hope the results of The Big Plastic Count will persuade the government, supermarkets and big brands to take bold steps to tackle the plastic crisis once and for all, which is extremely exciting, perhaps even revolutionary.”

Every participant will record the different types of plastic packaging waste they throw away, and submit their results. This will generate a national picture of our plastic waste, demonstrating the scale of the problem and putting even more pressure on the government to act.

The unique methodology behind the Big Plastic Count was developed by Everyday Plastic’s founder, Daniel Webb.

He collected every piece of his plastic waste for a year, and worked with a scientific researcher to turn this into a robust methodology which the public can now use to discover what happens to their plastic waste when they throw it away.

Surveying by YouGov for Greenpeace UK found that while over three-quarters (77%) of people in the UK recycle plastic products to reduce their waste, almost as many (75%) don’t know what happens to their plastic recycling after they throw it away.

Greenpeace UK and Everyday Plastic will release the results of the survey as soon as they have been processed. Campaigners hope these results will push the UK government to reduce single-use plastic by 50% by 2025, ban all plastic waste exports and implement a Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for recycling and reuse.

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New Quay RNLI receives donation from holiday park association 

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Mr Paul Lewis presenting a cheque to Roger Couch.

RECENTLY, New Quay RNLI received a kind donation of £342.50 from the Schooner Park Residents Association. 

Mr Paul Lewis came to the lifeboat station to present a cheque to Lifeboat Operations Manager, Roger Couch. 

Mr Couch said, “We would like to thank the Schooner Park Residents Association for their kind donation to New Quay RNLI. The RNLI is a charity and relies on fundraising and donations. Our volunteers provide a 24 hour search and rescue service and are independent of the Coastguard and government. 

“If you would like to donate to New Quay Lifeboat Station, please go to: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/new-quayrnli.” 

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Theatr Felinfach celebrates 50 years!

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Pwdin Reis & Bwca poster

THERE’S big excitement at Theatr Felinfach this year as the theatre celebrates its 50th Birthday in May. Celebrations will continue throughout the year with a variety of activities and events.   

Dwynwen Lloyd Llywelyn, Head of Theatr Felin-fach said: “There are many reasons to celebrate. It’s not just about celebrating the theatre’s anniversary and the incredible collaboration between communities and the theatre, across half a century. It’s also a year of celebrating coming together again after such a length of isolation and being closed. This celebratory year brings opportunities to celebrate and be creative, once again.”

To kick start the celebrations in style there will be a special evening of music in Theatr Felinfach’s 50th Celebration Gig with none other than Pwdin Reis and Bwca on May 13 at 7:30pm. You won’t be able to stay still all night!

It’s hard to believe that four years has passed since Pwdin Reis burst onto the scene like a blast of fresh air and the good news is that the band which includes Betsan Evans, Neil Rosser, Norman Roberts and Rob Gillespie are back gigging after two years. 

If you’re looking for something different and fancy some Welsh rockabilly, why not try a bit of Pwdin Reis!

WEST

Bwca was established in 2017 by Steff Rees from Aberystwyth as a solo music project but after a period of performing on his own he formed a band in October 2018 to develop Bwca to its full potential. The band has grown from strength to strength performing lively and catchy songs in gigs and festivals all over the country from Dolgellau to Bala, and Swansea to Cardiff.

Betsan Evans, main vocalist of the band Pwdin Reis said: “Theatr Felinfach is a special place and I have many memories of attending workshops and watching shows and pantomimes.  Being invited to perform at the theatre’s 50th celebration evening is a big honour and we as a band can’t wait to perform on the night.”

The play ‘West’ will be performed at Theatr Felinfach on May 27 at 7:30pm. ‘West’ will be touring again before it returns to America at the Hollywood Festival in LA. 

Written by Owen Thomas, the award-winning writer of ‘Grav’, ‘Carwyn’ and ‘The Wood. It is directed by Gareth John Bale, the Welsh actor and director whose credits include ‘Grav’ and ‘Nye and Jennie’ and Gwenllian Higginson, best known to Welsh theatre audiences for ‘Gwlad yr Asyn’, ‘Miss Julie’ and ‘Merched Caerdydd’. 

The play explores the lives of two Welsh people who fall in love and decide to leave Wales in order to build a new life in the New World. It details the hardships and adventures they face, focusing primarily on the theme of immigration.

Twm Siôn Cati poster

Looking forward to the summer, Theatr Arad Goch’s summer show ‘Twm Siôn Cati’ by Jeremy Turner will be at Theatr Felinfach in June. If you’re looking for a summer School trip or want to take your family and friends to the theatre, performances are on Monday 27 at 1pm and Tuesday 28 at 10am and 1pm. 

Twm’s story comes alive in a production that takes you on a trip to the dangerous period of the 16th century with songs, sword fighting and laughter. With the National Eisteddfod visiting Tregaron this summer, what better time to hear the story of one of the area’s most iconic characters! Suitable for children aged 7+.

The National Eisteddfod will also be on the doorstep as Ceredigion welcomes the festival between 30 July and 6 August. Theatr Felinfach looks forward to holding various activities and performances during the week.

If you’re aged between 7 – 18 years old, Theatr Felinfach are looking for new members to join the Performing School to create a summer show for the Ceredigion National Eisteddfod. The sessions start on May 5. Get in touch for more information on how to join for free.

For tickets and more information, contact the box office on 01570 470697 or by email: theatrfelinfach@ceredigion.gov.uk

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