For a new sequence on The Clearing to celebrate the publication of The Long Field, the author Pamela Petro invited eight writers, poets and artists to contribute pieces exploring hiraeth and hwyl, Welsh ideas, but rooted deeply in us all. Marged Pendrell’s contribution to The Clearing suggestively fuses together sensations of hiraeth and hwyl by using the natural minerals of Snowdonia to create a flotilla of small boats.
‘Living on the North West edge of Wales,’ she writes, ‘I stand on Moelwyn Mountain…and feel as if I can stride into…the Irish Sea. My work as an artist is a constant “hiraeth” for the sense of the sacred within the homeland and it inspires an exploration of my elemental connections with this land. This work, Neighbours/ Cymdogion, is an example of the “hwyl” I feel within this process of connection.’
Marged used the natural minerals of Snowdonia—copper ore, iron ore, and ochre—along with sand, shells, and marine organisms from the coastlines of Wales and Ireland, to fashion a flotilla of small ships. ‘These simple, fragile boats,’ she writes, ‘are sacred vessels to honour the physicality of the land, the history, and the precarious journey into the future.’ They emerge from the land to suggest the sea, yet they’d dissolve if you tried to sail them. Ideal emblems of how fragile our sense of connection to place can be, yet simultaneously of the joy we experience in seeking it.
Marged Pendrell is a visual artist based in North Wales. Much of her recent work takes cues from the constant voyages, historic and prehistoric, between Caergybi (Holyhead) in Wales and the Irish coast.
Find out more about Marged’s earlier work Ports, Past and Present here.
The Long Field by Pamela Petro is out now.