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The beautiful Mabinogion inspired map that celebrates Welsh football

01 Aug 2023 3 minute read
The Cymru Leagues map and sketching ideas

To celebrate the return of the JD Cymru League North and South season the Football Association of Wales collaborated with Welsh designer Mike Miles to create a sumptuous piece of art that has captured people’s imaginations.

Here Mike, who runs creative content agency Visually Speaking, talks us through the process of creating this wonderful piece of art.

“The FAW rang (it’s always a fun call) and we had a chat about the Cymru League North and South season starting. We wanted to celebrate it by creating something that felt fiercely Welsh, that involved every club and was beautiful.

“I have always loved Margaret Jones’ iconic map of the Mabinogion. I have it hanging in my studio. There is so much captivating storytelling and detail in her pictures. I wanted to mirror her effort and passion as much as possible and there is so much culture to draw on when creating artwork for the the FAW. I love it. And the team at FAW are so positive and encouraging of doing things different. Nothing happens without their ideas and zeal.

“So, I started looking at the clubs and what made them special, via their logo, town crests and history of place. Taffs Well is fascinating. I had a lovely phone call with Neal at Denbigh Town who helped me figure out what the creature was on their logo. It was not the camel/ anteater/ dog hybrid I initially suggested but a Lurcher that was taken from the previous club name Denbigh Dogs, which came from the dogs that used to be used in local hunts. He found this out by ringing old boys of the club and he said it was a lovely reach into the club’s past. The tragedy of Y Gestiana on the Porthmadog club crest. The Llanelli red pans. The Silkmen of Flint. A Golden Cape!

“I tried to keep the illustrations as close to geographically accurate as possible. And I asked Andrew Challis, a Cymraeg wordsmith, to pen a few lines about Cymraeg football. Which he did fantastically, in a blink of the eye.

“And yeah, I added a couple of mermaids playing football. There are some wonderful Welsh mermaid myths but there are quite sombre so didn’t go too much into them, and the last thing to do was have the shadow of our dragon flying over it all. Firing us all up for a new season.”

So well received has the artwork become that you can now pre-order a print from the Visually Speaking shop HERE

Find out more about the JD Cymru Welsh Leagues HERE

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Alwyn Evans
Alwyn Evans
8 months ago

I hope he corrects the Aflan Lido before it’s printed! ‘Aflan’ means unclean and I know the Afan Lido team would object to being called unclean!

8 months ago

The ‘L’ is missing from the finished version.

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