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Page last updated at 19:39 GMT, Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Swansea artist puts giant blanket on the Black Mountain
Image shows Swansea Met artist Ann Jordan with the blanket sitting  on top of the Black Mountain
Swansea Met artist Ann Jordan with the eight kilo blanket on top of the Black Mountain

A giant blanket is to be carried up a Welsh mountain and placed in a Bronze Age funeral cairn as part of an art installation.

It has taken Swansea art and design student Ann Jordan more than a year to create the piece, called 'cwtch'.

A total of 12 miles of yarn, hand-spun from the fleeces of local Black Mountain sheep, was used.

That distance is symbolic of a 12-mile coffin trail on the Black Mountain between Ystradgynlais and Llanddeusant.

Ann Jordan, who also took part in The Fourth Plinth art project in Trafalgar Square, said: "This route is one that goes back to the beginning of the 19th century. We had things like the Rebecca Riots, distant landlords, and falling sheep prices.

Each stitch is part of a network and it is reliant on the next stitch and the yarn is a metaphor for the journey of our lives
Artist Ann Jordan

Each stitch is part of a network and it is reliant on the next stitch and the yarn is a metaphor for the journey of our lives

"Many farmers left and went to work in quarries and the coalmines - a lot of them were killed.

"They brought their bodies back along this route. There would be a service at the top of the mountain and then they would hand them over to their families."

The blanket will be blessed during a Mothering Sunday service at St Simon and St Jude's Church, Llanddeusant.

The congregation will then be invited to fold and help lift it onto the back of Judith Harvey who is a warden with the Brecon Beacons Park Authority.

She will then carry the eight-kilo artwork up the mountain.

The idea is to leave the blanket in a cairn for a month. During that time there will be an accompanying exhibition at the Black Mountain Centre in Brynaman which opens on March 25 and a film show in the Brecon Beacons Park Authority Visitors Mountain Centre at Libanus.

Living statue

Ann, a former midwife who is currently studying towards an MA in Fine Art at Swansea Metropolitan University, said that she based her design on a baby's shawl, and knitted it on circular needles.

"I did the central circle, but toward the end, I had to do it in portions - it took me an hour to do one row!

"It also has a spiral pattern so it represents the self, and how we build networks and communities. Each stitch is part of a network and it is reliant on the next stitch and the yarn is a metaphor for the journey of our lives."

"I had some help from the Tawe Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers with making the yarn - in fact they are the people who taught me to spin."

"And I don't take anything into that environment that hasn't come from there," she said. "The whole project has just grown, but it's been a fantastic experience."

"When I did The Fourth Plinth project, I was a 'living statue'.

"Then I got into a cocoon, slowly pretending to knit myself into it, lying down on the plinth and then slowly emerged from it to become a new person - it was a little bit autobiographical.

"I was a midwife and now I'm an artist - it's never too late to change yourself!"

The Brecon Beacons Park Authority gave the artist a grant from its Sustainable Development Fund towards the 'cwtch' project and she has also had co-operation from CADW, Dyfed Archaeological Trust, and the Countryside Council for Wales.




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