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Eisteddfod yr Urdd 2024 Chair and Crown unveiled

EISTEDDFOR yr Urdd Maldwyn 2024’s Chair and Crown was unveiled on Wednesday 15th May at a special event in Welshpool’s farmer’s Market.

Siôn Jones from Llanidloes designed and created the Chair, with thanks to sponsors Maldwyn NFU Cymru, and jeweller and silversmith Mari Eluned from Mallwyd created the Crown, sponsored by the Montgomeryshire Branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales.

Siôn is an accomplished carpenter and established a company that specialises in creating handmade kitchens and furniture. His workshop is located on his family farm in Caersws, relatively close to where he lives in Llanidloes.

Siôn said: “Creating the Eisteddfod yr Urdd chair is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and creating the chair for an area that means so much to me and my family, is a privilege. The Urdd is important to Wales and brings people and the language together, and the fact that my chair will take centre stage on the National Eisteddfod stage is something I’m really proud of.”

The Eisteddfod area, which is Siôn’s area, inspired the design for the chair. Within the design, we can see the River Severn, Lake Vyrnwy, harp music, agriculture, the landscape, and the unique characteristics of rural Mid Wales. It also includes a map which has been elaborately carved by a local craftsperson, Chris Gethin, with the Meifod area and the Urdd logo featured on the chair.

As someone who makes his livelihood from “creating wooden boxes for kitchen designs”, getting the opportunity to design a unique piece and experimenting with various shapes was an opportunity to reignite the creative juices, according to Siôn. He’s verry happy with the result, and pleased that he was able to use local oak and ash, which had been drying in his workshop for many years.

“I’ve been keeping this local timber for something special,” Siôn explained. “So, what could be better than using these for the local Eisteddfod chair?”

The Montgomeryshire Branch of the Farmers’ Union of Wales were eager for Mari Eluned from Mallwyd to include an agricultural element in the design of the Crown. As she had been brought up in an agricultural community and lives and works in that community, this tied in perfectly with the style of her work as a jeweller, as her inspiration often comes from nature and rural landscapes.

“My intention was to create a crown with a contemporary feel which conveys the Urdd’s valuable contribution and agricultural communities, such as Maldwyn, and their importance to the future of our culture and language,” Mari explains.

“The crown, made of silver, includes sheafs of corn, the Urdd’s logo crafted from Welsh slate, silver stones from the Dyfi river, the words ‘Mwynder Maldwyn’ and ‘Urdd Gobaith Cymru’ with a golden velvet material to create the cap. As a whole, the crown conveys prosperity, unity and hope.”

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Llio Maddocks, Director of the Arts, Urdd Gobaith Cymru said: “We sincerely hope there will be winners in a fortnight, so these masterpieces, the Chair and Crown, can be enjoyed for years to come. Thanks to the talented craftspeople, the committees and the sponsors for their hard work and support, ensuring that the 2024 Maldwyn Urdd Eisteddfod has unique prizes which reflect the rich culture and history of this beautiful part of Wales.”

Eisteddfod yr Urdd Maldwyn 2024 will be held in Meifod between 27 May and 1 June. The Chairing ceremony will be held on the Thursday and sponsored by the Ivor and Aeres Evans Trust. The Crowning ceremony will be held on the Friday thanks to sponsors, Cardiff University.

The Urdd also thanks the following for sponsoring the festival’s other main Medals and ceremonies:

Monday: the Art, Design and Technology Medal will be given in memory of Elain Hedd, and the ceremony is sponsored by The James Pantyfedwen Foundation.

  • Tuesday: The Drama Medal will be given in memory of Meinir Wyn Jones.
  • Wednesday: The Welsh Learners Medal is given by Powys County Council and the Bobi Jones Medal by Menter Iaith Maldwyn, and the ceremony is sponsored by the National Centre for Learning Welsh.
  • Saturday: The Chief Composer Medal is given by William and Ffion Hague, and the ceremony is sponsored by The James Pantyfedwen Foundation.