Mining for Design Ideas

What do you get when you mix contemporary design with ancient heritage? This is exactly what local Social Enterprise “Culture Action Llandudno” are hoping to find out during August. They are bringing Merel Bekking ,a contemporary product designer to Llandudno to rediscover the fascinating heritage of the Bronze Age Copper Mines on the Great Orme.
Merel, who is originally from the Netherlands, says:
“During August I will investigate the use of malachite, the precious mineral found in the Great Orme Mine and copper, the metal that can be made from it. With these materials and together with the local community I will create contemporary objects. There will be lots of interactive activities and demonstrations, as well as a copper jewellery making masterclass on the 25th August.
With this project, I intend to raise awareness of the incredible heritage you have in Llandudno.”

She will be based up at the Copper mines and at a pop-up museum that Culture Action Llandudno is creating in the Victoria Shopping Centre. Nick Jowett, at the Great Orme Copper mines says:

“The mines are an important part of the beginning of Llandudno which is built on an ancient industrial past. We know that copper from the Orme has gone to Brittany, Holland, Denmark and Sweden, where a horde of axes, which are 3,550 year old, was recently found. The mine was a hub of mining and trade across Europe.”

Merel will also spend some time at the mine working side by side with Dave Chapman from ‘Ancient Arts’ who will demonstrate ancient copper smelting techniques to visitors on the 18th August.

Dave says:
“The Great Orme Mines were the biggest and most important copper mines in mainland Britain. Our ancestors used limited materials to create elegant and clever solutions for manufacturing and mining and they did this brilliantly. I am looking forward to demonstrating how a Bronze age furnace would have worked.”

More information on this project is available online at Details on the copper smelting demonstrations at the Great Orme Mine, the copper jewellery making masterclass and drop-in workshops at the Victoria Centre ‘Pop-up’ Museum will be added as ‘events’ on the CALL website, booking for certain events is essential

The project is part of Culture Action Llandudno’s Ideas : People: Places programme , which sees them working with local regional , national and international artists and makers . Sabine Cockrill from the Social Enterprise says:
“We are commissioning a series of artists to develop residencies about Llandudno, its people, buildings, streets, and heritage. They will be working with us over the course of the next 9 months , investigating the town, talking to our visitors and communities and working with them to develop a picture of the past, the “here and now” and what the future for the town could hold. We feel Llandudno’s fascinating heritage should absolutely be at the forefront of that.”

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