The local schools have broken up really early this year, giving us parents more than a week to fill. The problem is, how to entertain over-excited kids without spending a fortune. I’ve already mentioned the Artes Mundi Christmas holiday art family activities in my recent post 10 free or inexpensive family-friendly Christmas activities in and around Cardiff. We headed along yesterday as part of our role as blogger ambassadors for the National Museum Cardiff and St Fagans National History Museum.
The free workshops have been running between 10am and 4pm, and continue tomorrow, Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd December, and then Wednesday 28th-Saturday 31st.
Taking place on an open floor space in the Artes Mundi exhibition on the museum’s fifth floor, it’s a really informal environment with families able to drop in as they please.
The crafts are inspired by some of the art works in the Artes Mundi exhibition. One of the most significant contemporary arts prizes in the world, Artes Mundi is held every two years. The Wales-based international competition sees its winner awarded £40,000, making it the largest arts prize in the UK. The shortlisted works are currently on display at both National Museum Cardiff and Chapter Arts Centre – you can read our previous review for more information.
We were invited to make pop-up Christmas cards and decorate paper plates with Christmas-themed food.
The pop-up cards are inspired by n Tyrrau Mawr, or Big Towers, by Bedwyr Williams. In his work, the Welsh artist imagines a city being built on the slopes of Cadair Idris, the mountain near Dolgellau. The cards echo his idea of building layers upon layers.
Little Miss E, age 7, and Little Man O, age 5, really enjoyed this activity. The exhibition staff guided them through the various steps necessary to create their cards and pictures, assisting where necessary but generally letting the children explore their creativity.
The food plates are inspired by Amy Franceschini’s Futurefarmers. Her Seed Exchange depicts a group called Futurefarmers as they partake in “an act of reverse migration”, taking rare and unusual seeds that made their way to Europe back to the Middle East, by boat, meeting other farmers and artisan bread-makers and exchanging seeds.
Miss E drew a great Christmas pudding. Toddler Boy I, 2¾, created a plate of what looked spaghetti (AKA toddler scribbles) while Little Man attempted a Christmas dinner, but gave up half way through, so this photo shows one the museum staff had made earlier.
We spent around an hour taking part in the Christmas crafts activities, and then another hour or so exploring other areas of the museum. The dinosaurs are always a big favourite, and they also loved the big Christmas tree in the main foyer of the museum.
We arrived in town early so parking wasn’t a problem. It was also lovely and quiet in the museum, and a great escape from the busyness outside.
Artes Mundi Christmas holiday art activities continue to run between 10am and 4pm on Thursday 22nd and Friday 23rd December, and then Wednesday 28th-Saturday 31st December.