Wall-hanging Stories

The stories behind the Barry Arts Festival Wall-hanging

Earlier this year, when we at Canolfan Porthceri Centre were planning the festival, sorting out dates, booking performers, we were also aware that we needed to involve the community in a couple of events to tie in with the festival.

So, as one of these, what better than a commemorative piece of art to work on in the months before the festival, then showcase during the festival in July/August.

And so the idea of a wall-hanging was born. I was lucky enough to be put in contact with Gill Davies, a quilting tutor from Palmerston Community Learning Centre and together we planned the size of each piece and the dates by which it should be submitted. Soon after Easter, I became inundated with enquiries about the project, and in all, I delivered 51 instruction packs to help people get started. Gill and I began to believe we may get more than just a handful – we’d already decided if we got 9 squares back then at least we could make a square, 3 x 3.

When the closing date came, we were overwhelmed: 37 beautiful pieces of art from the women and girls of Barry. We had invited male participation too, but sadly….

With the help of Julia Hopkins, Gill and I set about planning layout and construction of the wall-hanging. Well, they did the fine work, and I cut, pinned and measured! On our last session we were joined by Sheila Davies, and as you can see, we finished this amazing project.

But behind every contribution is a story, so read on and learn a little about the women and girls (youngest – 12, oldest – 100) who have worked this piece of magic.

Pat Temple-Murray
Canolfan Porthceri Centre
August 2012

Artist:   Catrin Davies

Age group/Oedran:   41-50

Title of square/teitl y sgwar :  “Y Môr”


Yn y Barri mae’r môr yn gefndir barhaus sy’n newid o ddydd i ddydd. Mae ei liwiau’n amrywio’n gyson ac adlewyrchyr hyn yn y sgwâr clytwaith.

The sea with all its shades and hues is a constant but ever-changing backdrop to this town of Barry

Artist:   June Donovan


Age group:  81 – 100

Titles of squares:  Roman Fort;  Barry Railway Company;  Geest bananas;


Barry = Home to me
Geest Co. were very generous to me when I was running a raffle!

June is a member of St Francis Quilters, Barry

Artist:   Sheila R. Davies

Age:  77

Title of square:  Thompson Street Footbridge – leading to Waterfront


Arriving in Barry as a teenager in 1949 was very exciting, new friends, new surroundings, new activities. Now all these years later with children and grandchildren, not quite so exciting but interesting with all the changes that have come about, some of benefit to us inhabitants and some detrimental!

Hopefully the future for young people will once again become as exciting as it was for me all those years ago.

Sheila is a member of St Francis Quilters, Barry.

Artist:   Lowri Hopkins

Age:  13

Title of square:  Lighthouse


I did a light house because it is the logo of Barry Island Primary School. I went there from the age of 3 to 11.

I made this square with my Grandma. It’s the first time I’ve done anything like this.

Artist:   Julie Binding

Age group:  61 – 70

Title of square:  Barry Island Donkey


I was born and brought up in Barry, moved away for 10 years when we got married, but was pleased to return in 1970.

Barry is a friendly town with beautiful scenery and is perfectly placed between mountains and sea with easy access to Cardiff and West Wales.

Artist:   Lois Heddgain

Age:  37

Title of square:  ….Aeroplanes…


A sunny day in the garden, wondering where the aeroplanes are going and where they have come from.

Artist:   Sally Paulakis

Age group:   31 – 40

Title of square:  Bryn Hafren


The square above represents where I went to school and where I now work.

We have completed the following squares as a form project with my Year 7 class (7SP) as it represents their last school year and their first year in comprehensive school. A daunting time but one they have all enjoyed.

The girls, all at Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School, made their squares in their lunch hour!

Artists:  Paige Norris-Howe & Demi-Leigh Marks

Age:  12

Title of square:  Barry Island

Barry is the place where I was born and where I lived all my life.

Artists:   Emily Owen & Natasja Gill

Age:  12

Title of square:  Lighthouse and blackbirds in the sky

Our square is to do with what you associate with Barry Island.

Artist:   Monique Sotomi-Lewis

Age:  12:

I did my wall-hanging this way because it reminded me of Barry Island and people enjoying themselves.


Artists:   Camille Danielsen and Megan Hewitson

Age:  12

Title of square:  Porthkerry: Past, Present and Future

We have both always lived here, we both go to school here and we always walk our dogs in the park.

Artists:   Carys Slack & Samiya Nur

Age:  12

Title of square:  Night and Day on Barry Island


Barry is a beautiful place and we can go and play together.
We both go to school here in Barry. One of us lives in Barry.

Artist:   Margaret Smith

Age group:  61 – 70

Title of square:  Palmerston Community Learning Centre

Margaret left no comments, but we would like to thank Palmerston for allowing us to use their space to assemble the wall-hanging – and for being so keen to display it after the festival is over!

Artist:   Beryl Schuster

Age group:  61 – 70

Title of square:  Barry Beaches


I was born and brought up in Barry although I lived elsewhere for 25 years. My family ties and connections with Barry have always been, and still remain, strong.

“I love to be beside the sea.”

Artist:   Julia Gracey-Cox

Age:  76

Title of square:  Storage Tanks – Barry Island


1962 – 1968  Lived at Rhoose. Husband with Cambrian Airways.

1963  Daughter born in Cardiff, registered in Barry

2001 – 2007  Returned to live in Barry. Husband member of
Pastfinders. Men’s Forum, Barry Historical Society, Steam
Preservation Society, Photographic Society.
Myself: member of BARUC Art Group; exhibited at Barry
Show, Penarth etc.

2012 – Again moved to Barry from Eire. Took up membership of BARUC Art Group, also Flower Club and Age Concern.

Artist:   Ann Watkins

Age:  77

Title of square:  Porthkerry Park & The Viaduct


I was born in Northern England in 1935. I came to live in Wales in 1952 and worked in Barry whilst living in Penarth.

I married in 1961 and have lived in Barry since then, so am pleased to live here and to fondly call it my ‘Home Town’.

Artist:   Julia Hopkins

Age group:  61 – 70

Title of square:  Barry Ladies Choir


Barry Ladies Choir was formed in the 1930s and is still going strong today.

We are a group of like-minded ladies from Barry and the Vale who enjoy coming together to make music. Our repertoire is diverse and includes pop, songs from shows, classical, traditional and old time favourites.

More can be found on our website at: www.barryladieschoir.btck.co.uk

Artist:   Gill Davies

Age group:  61 – 70

Title of square:  Seagull at 8.00am at Barry Island


Lived in Barry for 50 years. Have seen many changes during these years. In the past year, have been looking after our granddaughter and one of our excursions is to go to the beach between 8am and 9am before it gets busy.

This is a picture denoting what we saw one early morning and is a memory of many years ago when we used to come to Barry Island on day trips (we were always early).

(Gill also made this beautiful piece showing the logo of the first Barry Arts Festival 2012.)

Artist:   Becci Holmes

Age:  25

Title of square:  Barry Island – Summer Days


I’ve lived in Barry all my life and have always been inspired by the sea. The beach is a relaxing place and my piece is based on summer days at Barry Island when we used to get hot weather.

We’d spend all day down there, my Mum, Stepdad, 2 brothers and 2 sisters, riding the waves in our huge blow-up boat.

(Becci is the freelance artist who designed the festival mural, painted by children and adults from Barry)

Artist:   Mair Phillips

Age group/Oedran:  71 – 80

Title of square/teitl y sgwar:

Y Tabernacle, Eglwys Annibynnol Gymraeg Y Barri

Tabernacle, Barry Welsh Congregational Chapel


Saif y Tabernacl, Eglwys Annibynnol Gymraeg ar Sgwâr y Brenin, yn y Barri. Heddiw dyma’r unig addoldy yn y dref sydd yn cynnal gwasnaethau ar y Sul a chymdeithasau wythnosol trwy gyfrwng y Gymraeg dan weinidogaeth Y Parch. Kevin Davies B Th.

TABERNACLE, Welsh Congregational Chapel is situated on King’s Square, Barry. Today, this is the only place of worship where Sunday services and weekly meetings are conducted in Welsh under the ministry of the Rev. Kevin Davies B.Th.

Artist:   Meirwen Kingsley

Age group/Oedran:  41 – 50

Title of square/teitl y sgwar:  Fy Barri / My Barry


Symudodd y teulu i’r Barri yn 2004 a dyma sydd wedi bod yn bwysig iawn i ni ymgartrefu yma a chreu cymuned, ffrindiau a chymodigion fel petai ni wedi bod yma erioed:
1) CAPEL Y TABERNACL – lle cartrefol sy’n f’atgoffa o fy mhlentyndod yn Dinbych a’r traddodiad Capel fanno – yn falch iawn o fod yn aelod o’r Tabernacl.
2) YSGOL SANT BARUC – mae fy mhlant wrth eu bodd yma, lle gwych i ddysgu, tyfu a pharatoi ar gyfer eu cyfnod nesaf yn eu bywyd addysgol.
3) PUKKA POTENTIAL – ymunodd fy merched pan oeddent yn 6 oed ac wedi gwneud sawl sioe llwyddiannus dros y 6 mlynedd diwethaf, cyfle da i berfformio a magu hyder – maent dal i fod yn aeoldau brwdfrydig.
4) YNYS Y BARRI- lle gwell ar ddiwrnod a haf…a gaeaf?  Bwcwd a rhaw, hufen iâ a chips ar y ffordd adre, bywyd braf!
5)  EISTEDDFOD GENEDLAETHOL Y FRO 2012 – Yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol yw gŵyl flaenaf Cymru ac fe’i chynhelir yn flynyddol – dyma binacl calendr ddiwylliannol Cymru. Roedd yn y Barri ddiwethaf ym 1968 ac eleni mae nôl yn y Fro.
6) MORSBAGS – ailgylchu, mae criw ohonom ar draws y byd yn gwneud bagiau allan o hen lenni er mwyn lleihau ar y defnydd o fagiau plastig, ac yna’n eu rhoi nhw am ddim i bobl. Rwyf wedi gwneud dros 400 ohonynt hyd yma ac wedi eu dosbarthu yn yr ardal. Beth am rhoi cynnig ar wneud un?

In 2004 the family moved to Barry, settled into the community and made friends, as if we’d always lived here.

1. TABERNACLE – we became members of the congregation soon after moving – a place where I feel very at home and proud to be a member.
2. YSGOL SANT BARUC – my children enjoy here, they have grown and been educated and nurtured in a great environment ready for their next stage of education.
3. PUKKA POTENTIAL – members since they were 6 years old, the girls have performed in many a successful show and their confidence has grown, which has been a pleasure to see.
4. BARRY ISLAND – where better on a summer’s day…or winter. A bucket and spade, ice cream and chips on the way home, ahh..the good life!
5. VALE OF GLAMORGAN NATIONAL EISTEDDFOD – the National Eisteddfod is Wales’ leading festival which is held annually and is the pinnacle of the Welsh cultural calendar. It was held in Barry in 1968 and this year it is back in the Vale. The Proclamation Ceremony was held at Gladstone Gardens last year.
6. MORSBAGS – recycling, there’s a crew of people across the world making bags from old curtains to be given away for free in order to reduce the use of plastic bags. I have made and given away over 400 of them so far in the area. Why not have a go yourself!

Artist:   Susan Williams

Age:  52

Title of square:  Rusting Giants


I remember the rusting trains scattered about the Docks for many years. I also remember the donkeys and I miss the massive amount of swans that used to be on the lake.

I remember summers down the Knap Lido where the water was Really Really COLD and I discovered Caramac for the first time (it’s a choc bar).

Artist:   Kath Williams

Age group:  49

Title of square:  Swans salute Barry!


Born in Barry, consider myself a “Barry Girl”.  It’s my home town and it holds fond memories. Always enjoy seeing the swans on the lake and always look forward to seeing the Knap and pebble beach. Lots of changes in Barry – not all good – but always great to come home.

Artists:   Melanie and all the people at ValePlus

Age group: 18 – 60

Title of square:  Our Front Door!


This is the 10th anniversary of ValePlus which we chose to set up in Barry rather than anywhere else in the Vale.

We wanted to be in a socially inclusive area where we could be part of the community. This is very much the case in High Street where we love the mixture of shops, businesses and homes.

There aren’t many places that have amazing countryside and coastline so close by, which is why we love Barry.


Artists:   Melanie and all the people at ValePlus

Age group: 18 – 60

Title of square:  Geest Boat at Barry Docks


This is a group piece of art to represent the Geest boats at Barry Docks.

Many of the people involved have family connections with the Geest crest boats at Barry docks, and memories of the banana boats.


Artist:   Michele Van Duval

Age group:  41 – 50

Title of square:  Open Spaces in Barry


Barry has spaces galore!

Sea, beaches, pebbles, stunning views, wonderful farmland.

Artist:   Ann Townson

Age group:  71 – 80

Title of square:  Old Pilot Boat, Barry Harbour



Artist:   Zena Mabbs

Age:  73

Title of square:  Our ‘Lost’ Lido


The long summers spent in the pool, watching all the children jumping off the high board, the smell of the fresh Knap breeze; just memories now.

But, on wet days the spirit of the Lido re-emerges defiantly!

Artist:   Gill Caddy


Age group:  51 – 60

Titles of squares:   Seagull and ‘Wish you were here!’  (hope it looks like a postcard!


Visits to Barry as a child…  Lived in Barry for nearly 35 years.

Artist:   Monika Jones

Age:  64

Title of square:  The Seal of the Barry Railway Company


Barry has been my home for the greater part of my life. I did an art project in the Railway Graveyard in my late teens as part of a thesis and the last chapter was devoted to the Barry Railway Company.

I hand drew the image of the seal of the Company and so I decided to use this as the basis of my square – I am sure no one else will do something similar and the Railway Company had a great bearing on the growth and wealth of Barry from its coal export.

I like Barry – despite its faults – it is a good place to live and has many interesting environs for folk to enjoy.

Artist:   Chris Alexander

Age:  65

Title of square:  A Day at Barry Island


Barry Island means a home by the sea.


Artist:   Kathy Williams

Age group:  61 – 70

Title of square:  Seascape


I have lived in the area for 45 years now and it is my home.

Home is a very precious place.

(handspinner and weaver)

Artist:   Pat Temple-Murray


Age:  65

Titles of squares:   Canolfan Porthceri Centre Logo and The Pumphouse, Barry


Over two years ago in 2010, a number of people formed themselves into a group intent on starting up an Arts Centre in Barry – Canolfan Porthceri Centre. I only moved to Barry in 2003 and after retiring in 2009 I leapt at getting involved. Our Team is now 5 people and a treasurer, and in addition to staging events over the last two years, we are also the organisers of this first Barry Arts Festival 2012.

We have been searching for premises as a base for Canolfan Porthceri, and I have this little dream that maybe, one day, we’ll find ourselves in the Pumphouse…..

Artist:   Lilian Spierling

Age:  100

Title of square:  Sun, Sea and Sailing…


The crochet work in this piece was made by Lilian a few years ago and she asked if it could be incorporated into a square for this wall-hanging.

Born in 1911, Lilian lived in Barry all her life. She and her husband adopted two boys at the end of the war and they grew up in Barry too.

The family were keen members of the Yacht Club and thought nothing of making sails in their home. Lilian also did a lot of dressmaking, tapestries and crochet.

Lilian has unfortunately lost her sight now, but wanted to be part of this project. She remains positive and enjoys all the help she gets from everybody.

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