As many of you may know we live in an old Welsh cottage, it definitely dates back to 1840, but a bit of research we've done recently suggests it's probably older... A key feature of many of these older Welsh dwellings is the central chimney and fireplace. Running up the middle of the building the huge stone chimney effectively acts as a giant slow release heater, once they are warm they carry on radiating heat keeping the building pleasantly warm. In the central hearth would have been a large open fire, this would have been the source of heat and where all the cooking was done, a giant cauldron would have hung over the fire and provided a rotating variation of stew and soup with various meats and vegetables being added for every meal.
Our fibre for todays 12 Days of Christmas is called Cauldron, and is inspired by the Second Branch of the Mabinogion, in my companion book, The Mab, this is the story of Branwen and the Cauldron of Rebirth.
If you'd like to listen to this story you can watch a telling of it here-
If you'd rather read a copy then you can find a version of the text here.
This tale features a magic cauldron, one that can bring the dead back to life. It is used by Matholwch, King of Ireland to try and defeat King Bendegeidfran, his brother-in-law. Bendegeidfran gifted the cauldron as a wedding gift when Matholwch married Branwen, his sister. The story tells the tale of her abusive marriage, the defeat of the powers of the cauldron, and her eventual return to Wales, where she turns in to a flock of starlings, along with her son Gwern who was mortally wounded in the battle.
For the colour I've chosen a rusted iron shade, as most household cauldrons would have been made from that material. Cauldrons were important status symbols however and could be made form far more precious materials and heavily decorated. You can read more about cauldrons in Celtic households and myths here.
This is the Gundestrup Cauldron, it's just over 2000 years old and is made from 9 separate panels of silver and gold, weighing over 9kg. It was found in Denmark just over 100 years ago. It's exceptional, but archaeologists believe that others of this style and size probably existed in Celtic cultures, what makes this one unique is that it survived, most others would have been melted down and turned in to other precious objects by our less sentimental ancestors!
I love this colour, so got hold of a big batch of it, so if you fall in love with it you can find it in the shop with all the other colours of Superfine Merino & Silk.