LleCHI Artwork – Promoting Gwynedd's slate heritage

Date: 26/07/2019

1 -  Disgyblion Ysgol Y Felinheli

2 - Disgyblion Ysgol Maenofferen

Pupils from Ysgol Y Felinheli, Ysgol Maenofferen and Ysgol Eifion Wyn in Gwynedd have recently worked with artist Eleri Jones and staff of Gwynedd Council’s Archive Service to prepare striking and creative artwork on the theme of slate.

Year 5 and 6 pupils had the opportunity to learn more about the historical and cultural importance of the quarrying landscape in north-west Wales and the proposed World Heritage Site nomination. A quiz was had and an interesting talk about the slate industry and its significance in their area by the Schools Archive Service.

The pupils were then given the opportunity to transfer this information into a visual and creative format with the help of the artist Eleri Jones. The pupils had a great time creating pieces of artwork that convey the history and heritage of the slate industry in an effective and striking way. Old photographs and documents from the Archives were used to provide inspiration for the creation of printing plates, which were printed on paper, fabric and on banners.

Councillor Gareth Thomas, Gwynedd Council's Cabinet Member for Economic Development said: “Schemes such as the LleCHI Project are extremely important in giving young people in Gwynedd the opportunity to learn more about their heritage and to get the sense of ownership over that heritage. It is also great to see the young people of the county having the opportunity to play an important and active role in the World Heritage Site nomination for the slate landscape of north-west Wales.

“We know the historical and cultural importance of the quarries here in north Wales, and securing a World Heritage Site designation would give a huge boost to the continuing efforts to regenerate the slate communities of Gwynedd.”

Each school began the artwork by using coloured ink and chalk to create the slate colour associated with their area. For example, the colour blue for Blaenau Ffestiniog and green/blue/purple for the Llanberis area. Pupils from Ysgol Eifion Wyn, Porthmadog painted boats, Ysgol Maenofferen pupils painted wagons and houses whilst pupils from Ysgol Y Felinheli painted slate fences.

The handwriting on the artwork includes personal stories about the pupils' family connection with the slate industry, extracts of shanty songs, poetry and literature which include ‘Cwymp yn y Chwarel’ by Sian Lewis and ‘Bwli y Bradwr’ by Brenda Wyn Jones.

This artwork will be displayed in the Caernarfon and Dolgellau archives over the Summer holidays until the end of September.

In addition, in a joint scheme with the National Slate Museum, a group of LleCHI Ambassadors for Secondary schools have been recruited; an opportunity to bring together the young people of the Welsh Slate areas, and through a series of workshops, visits and events train and develop them to become Young Ambassadors for the World Heritage Application.

The aim is to equip our young people to become LleCHI Young Ambassadors. The scheme is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and works across Gwynedd's quarrying communities to try and empower, re-connect and regenerate those communities through heritage and to complement the wider work of developing a nomination to seek World Heritage Site status for the slate landscape of north-west Wales.

For more information about the World Heritage Site nomination for the slate landscape of north west-Wales, visit www.llechi.cymru or email llechi@gwynedd.llyw.cymru

Images: 1. Ysgol Y Felinheli Pupils 

              2. Ysgol Maenofferen Pupils