The current pandemic that has swept the country has tested every one of us, in one way or another, including students from Coleg Menai whose academic year came to an abrupt end in the middle of March.
Despite the unsettling circumstances, one student decided that she wanted to use her talents to help in whatever way she could. Artist Tesni Calennig from Garndolbenmaen - who was following the WJEC Art Foundation course at Parc Menai until the lockdown - teamed up with friend and singer / songwriter Casi Wyn to design and make some beautiful 'Hope' rings, inspired by a poem written by Casi called "Modrwy Gobaith."
The shape of the ring is predominantly Celtic, but also represents the breeze ("awel") mentioned in the poem, and the artists specifically chose to use a feldspar mineral called Labradorite with which to make the pieces. Fittingly, this amazing material has a flash of blue running through it, which the girls thought would be ideal to represent the NHS. It is also known as a stone of transformation, and considered a useful companion through change, imparting strength and perseverance to the wearer.
The rings proved so popular that they sold out as soon as they appeared on the website. A percentage of the profits made through the sale of these rings went directly to Ysbyty Gwynedd's charity, Awyr Las.
The poem was written by Casi Wyn and a copy was included with every ring bought. I worked with her to design a ring that suited the poem; a breeze is mentioned in the poem and many of Casi's songs are Celtic, so this was the basis of the patterned, adjustable band. I'm thrilled that they proved so popular, and that we could show our gratitude to the NHS in this way.
Lecturer Owein Prendergast said,
The crisis that we find ourselves in has certainly sparked much creativity within our students, not least Tesni. The very idea of a 'hope' ring, reflecting the love we have for our invaluable NHS whilst also raising funds for their charity is perfect. Add to that the use of a material that is purported to give the wearer strength through uncertain times, and it just shows how carefully these artists have considered every tiny detail of their creation. Exceptional!
For more information on all our Art and Design courses, please visit www.gllm.ac.uk/art