Cardiff National Eisteddfod Crown has been donated by Cardiff University, and the financial prize is presented by Manon Rhys and Jim Parc Nest. The Crown is presented for a free verse poem of no more than 250 lines, titled Olion (Traces). The adjudicators are Christine James, Ifor ap Glyn and Damian Walford Davies.
The Crown was designed and created by Laura Thomas, Neath. Laura has put in more than 400 hours of work to produce a unique Crown that is modern yet respectful of the Eisteddfod’s traditions.
Her inspiration for the design was derived from her signature technique, parquetry, where she inlays wood veneer into sterling silver. The Crown features more than 600 hexagonal inlays, all added by hand.
Laura’s love of working with wood came from her grandfather Jack Owen, who used to make small carved animals from solid wood and plywood. Laura said, “I’ve always really enjoyed working with wood and I’m fascinated with the different grains and contrasting colours. For the Crown, I’ve inlayed five types of precision cut wood veneers by hand into geometrically structured silver and then assembled to create the structure.
“The use of sustainable veneers echoes the ongoing development of sustainable technologies surrounding Cardiff, such as biomass-based power generation, which is something I wanted the Crown to reflect.”
Following a competition led by Cardiff University, Laura was chosen ahead of several high-quality designers. The University was keen to offer its expertise to support Laura in the process of creating the Crown. Parts of the geometrical patterns on the Crown were specially created within the University.
Laura said, “It’s been a pleasure to meet members of staff at the Welsh School of Architecture and the School of Engineering, and especially the School of Chemistry, who have provided me with the unique geometries to include in the design of the Crown.”