The Western Mail
10th August, 1933
League of Nations Symbol In Wood
By GARETH JONES
Welsh craftsman is never a craftsman only. He is sometimes craftsman and poet, sometimes craftsman and singer,
sometimes craftsman and preacher, Mr. Evan Rees, cooper, of Allt-y-Blaca, is
craftsman and philosopher.
years ago, when Gladstone was a name to be. conjured with, when Queen Victoria
dominated over Buckingham Palace, when Aberystwyth College was a proud new toy
of the Welsh people, and when footballers played in breeches, Even Rees became a
cooper and learned his craft with John Rees, Maeallan. Now, fifty years on, he can look back on a life in which he has produced
many beautiful things, and he can be happy in that his tradition will be
worthily carried on by his son, David Morgan Rees.
us visit them both, remembering that it is a rare occasion, for coopers are
nowadays as scarce as Stradivarus violins or first editions of Shakespeare.
In The Workshop
enter the workshop and see a wealth of skilful products. A magnificently made oak churn, spick and span, planed as smooth as
glass, stands, as aristocratically, as an old Victorian lady. Just near are butter tubs for butter factories which before long, will
leave the Teify countryside for the streets of Merthyr. Butter clappers, scotch hands, wooden spoons, exquisitely carved out of
apple or sycamore, all point to the craftsmanship of the Reeses.
of his philosophy? Evan Bees is
busy brushing, with a brush of goose feathers, the dust off a strange ornament
and he comes up to us - a real Cardiganshire personality, with his stubby white
beard, corduroy trousers, his clogs, and his homespun cloth made in Maesyfelin,
Llanwenog - and shows us a remarkable piece of work. It is an ornament - a cross upon a wooden square bases formed out of 120
separate pieces of wood.
maker explains in Welsh: “Each corner of the square represents the four
corners of the world; each piece of wood stands for a country, and each of those
knobs stands for a tribe. You will
notice that those pieces are united by one Mock of wood which run all round.
That represents the unity which should exist, as in the League of
Nations. You will see the cross on
top. That is to show that the only
true unity comes through Christianity.”
of an Accident
work is the result of an accident, in which Evan Rees broke his leg and in his
forced leisure he set himself to construct it.
work, I believe by the son, is a big glass-washer with two storeys. Glasses are put on the top shelf, in which there are holes, and the water
drips down to the tub below. And it
is all made out of one piece of wood!
was a delight to find Mr. Rees, for I had heard that coopers had disappeared,
and to find in that workshop such a high level of skill and artistry.