Food Festival Art Project – Blodeuwedd and Owl

An installation for Abergavenny Market Hall at the 2016 Food Festival

Blod and Owl was an inspirational intergenerational art project designed and led by Bettina Reeves, (senior tutor, Theatre Design, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama).  The theme was chosen by Bettina to mark the return of the National Eisteddfod to Abergavenny in 2016. With elements already displayed on the Maes in August, the completed installation was hung in Abergavenny Market Hall for the 2016 Abergavenny Food Festival which took place on 17/18 September 2016.

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The annual Food Festival art installation is realised by a team of dedicated volunteers, many of whom have developed incredible knowledge and skills over the years. People return for the ambition and excitement of Bettina’s design schemes, the pleasure of developing, acquiring and applying skills, for the enjoyment of working in a community of creative people and for the outstanding quality of the shared lunch, conversation and company!



Bettina and Blodeuwedd

TINA REEVESThe story of Blodeuwedd from the Mabinogion is my chosen theme for the Eisteddfod. I have been fascinated by this story of transformation since reading ‘The Owl Service ‘by Alan Garner, many years ago.

Blodeuwedd is the Welsh Goddess of spring created from flowers and the wife of Lleu, son of Arianrhod. She was created by the great magicians Math and Gwydion to be Lleu’s mate, in response to a curse pronounced by his mother that he would never have a wife from any race on the Earth. They fashioned Blodeuwedd from flowers and breathed life into her. She was unhappy with the marriage and She and her lover Gronw Pebyr plotted against him, grieviously wounding the otherwise invulnerable Lleu by tricking him into the only pose in which he could be harmed. Blodeuwedd was punished for this by being transformed into the night-bird, the owl, though she kept her name- in Welsh, blodeuwedd, meaning ‘’Flower-face’’ is a name for the owl.

She represents bright beauty and the bright blooming that must come full circle through death. She is the promise of autumn visible in spring.

Large figures of Blodeuwedd and the owl were suspended in the Monmouthshire Tent during the Eisteddfod.  They will now fly to the Abergavenny Market Hall for the Food Festival, where they will be joined by other owls hunting for their prey. The flowers will be some of the wild flowers found in the story and in the Castle Meadows- Meadowsweet, Buttercups, Dead-nettle- but not the treacherous Giant Hogweed or invasive Himalayan Balsam! As we will be moving into Autumn by September there could be some hips and berries added .


This project was a collaboration between Abergavenny Food Festival and Arts Alive Wales. They have received an investment from A&B Cymru’s CultureStep to strengthen and develop their creative partnership.

Photo credit: Ann Dierikx



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