An artwork inspired by Stone Age carvings was unveiled at the 30th birthday celebrations of an Anglesey company.
Peninsula Home Improvements commissioned artist Hannah Wardle to create her Lightcatcher design, based on carvings made 4,000 years ago by Neolithic sculptors, for the company’s new showroom at Gaerwen, Anglesey.
Hotly-tipped Welsh songstress Kizzy Crawford, a BBC Horizons performer who’s played at Glastonbury, was on hand to sing Happy Birthday to founders Barrie and Joan Grayson and their son Ken. He is now chief executive of the company, which first began trading 30 years ago in Pwllheli as a spin-off from a boat-building yard.
The event was also organised to celebrate Peninsula’s partnership with Solarlux, the top German manufacturer of glass houses, sliding folding doors and high spec ‘Wintergarden’ conservatories who helped transform the famous Yankee Stadium in New York.
The bespoke light installation by Hannah Wardle was commissioned by Peninsula and supported by A&B Cymru’s CultureStep programme. It explores sustainable light, using material inspired by Anglesey’s Neolithic site Barclodiad y Gawres -Welsh for apronful of the giantess – on a headland at Cable Bay, Llanfaelog.
Hannah said: “There, a complex pattern of spirals, zig-zags, lozenges and chevrons were chipped by Neolithic artists into a stone carefully placed in the site. These patterns are similar to those found at Newgrange in Ireland where on the winter solstice, December 21 – the shortest day of the year – the low winter sun illuminates the passage and various markings positioned in it.
“Although this light catching phenomena doesn’t occur at Barclodiad y Gawres, it did inspire me to think about light catching materials. The patterns occur at a number of linked sites – proving that people were moving about the seas, spreading these ideas.”
Hannah used this as inspiration to make her Lightcatcher artwork from laser-cut pieces of plywood solid hammered brass and lighting points, which hang in the Solarlux glass display units.
Originally from near St Asaph, Hannah, 36, now lives in Bethesda and has her studio in Treborth, Bangor. She trained at Goldsmiths College in London and worked in London before moving back to North Wales.
She was delighted to have the opportunity to work with Peninsula which installs eco-friendly office pods, conservatories and glass balustrades, and carries out range of other home improvements as well as building extensions.
The company has a turnover of £1.7m and employs 25 staff – some of whom have been with Peninsula since the early days.
More jobs are also on the cards at Peninsula thanks to a strong order book and increasing interest in eco-buildings, said Lorraine Grayson, co-director of the Anglesey-based company.
“We wanted to combine our birthday celebrations with our support for Arts and Business Cymru, which is why we invited Kizzy to perform, and commissioned Hannah’s artwork,” explained Lorraine.
“We share the same core values, of nurturing community, creativity, talent and craftsmanship – we support the community in which we operate because that’s our pool of future talent. At Peninsula we take our social responsibility very seriously, and seek to put something back.
“The birthday event was a night to look back and mark the past three decades of achievements. Most recently these include the new factory and showroom at Gaerwen, which opened in 1997, plus our decision to expand and diversify, which led to the founding of our sister company Heritage Hardwood and a partnership with Solarlux last year – they are very much the BMW of the glass-house world.
“We are also proud that several of our staff are still with us, all these years on – it is like a large family.
“We now aim to grow the company for the future, as interest grows in eco-buildings as a home office, music or art studio, gym or garden room thanks to the Grand Designs generation,” added Lorraine, mum to Sonny, eight, and three-year-old Taleisin.
Among the guests at the event was Anglesey AM Rhun ap Iorwerth who congratulated the company on its 30th anniversary, and collaborating with Arts & Business Cymru.
He said: “Peninsula Home Improvements is a well-known successful local business, which continues to go from strength to strength, now branching into the eco-buildings market and hoping to take on more staff as a result.
“I enjoyed listening to the young singing talent Kizzy Crawford and seeing Hannah Wardle’s light installations, as part of the celebrations to mark Peninsula’s close links and support for Arts & Business in their local community.
“Many congratulations to the team on reaching this milestone, and best wishes for the next 30 years!”
Sian Tomos of the Arts Council for Wales praised Peninsula Home Improvements for its support of Welsh culture.
“Ken and Lorraine and the rest of the team at Peninsula Home Improvements are to be congratulated for their continuing support of arts and music in North Wales. It’s important that creativity and talent are nurtured – these are a key part of our Welsh heritage. Businesses can play an important role in sustaining and enhancing our culture for future generations, whilst at the same time reaping tangible benefits of their own.
“Art can easily be incorporated into everyday business life to everyone’s benefit – as Hannah Wardle’s specially-commissioned Lightcatcher artwork at Peninsula’s showroom demonstrates.
“The Arts Council of Wales and BBC Cymru Wales’ Horizons programme, of which Kizzy Crawford is part, is a partnership that gives young and emerging artists new platforms on which to perform to a variety of audiences. The link with business at an event like this is tremendous. We hope other businesses will be inspired by Peninsula’s success.”
Also at the event was one of the firm’s first customers, former Manchester City and Sheffield United player Bill Russell and his wife Cathy, a charity worker, from Dyserth.
Music for the evening was provided by 18-year-old singer-songwriter Kizzy Crawford, who won the Brwydr Y Bandiau at the 2013 National Eisteddfod. Her soul-jazz work, which previously featured in the Six Nations TV campaign, will form the backdrop for the 2015 Visit Wales adverts.
One of the BBC Wales Horizons artist of the year, Kizzy has performed at BBC events and radio sessions including a live session at BBC Maida Vale. Following a tour of Canada, she played a showcase at the House of Commons, Westminster alongside Cerys Matthews. She has also performed with Super Furry Animal’s Gruff Rhys and recorded with Amy Wadge – co-writer with chart-topper Ed Sheeran.
More details about Peninsula at www.peninsulawindows.co.uk