How the fifth bell came to be in Cemaes, by Helen Grove-White

The Time and Tide Bell captures imaginations. I had come across the project online, when doing some research for a lecture I gave on Land Art. As an artist myself I had long been interested in art which addressed climate change and living near the coast I had myself  already made and exhibited a video work about sea level rise. Marcus and I met accidentally in Devon and then the second time I bumped into him, at Aberdyfi, I was bold enough to ask him whether he would like to bring one of the bells to Anglesey and luckily, he said ‘yes, I always wanted one in Anglesey.’ The idea was born but it took about 3 years before it became a reality.

I then drove Marcus all round North Anglesey looking for the ideal spot and we ended up very close to my home, in Cemaes Bay, sandwiched between a nuclear power station and the site where St Patrick is said to have come ashore in the 5th century bringing Christianity to Britain. Marcus thought this was a very potent spot indeed and had very good vibes. Then we had to convince the locals – what was it all about?

For me the work was all about climate change, a simple, elemental sound sculpture that would bring some poetry to our lives in this sleepy little village. More than that it was about having an artwork here that was more than itself, linking us to a bigger project and to other coastal communities. The idea of bringing people to Cemaes because we were on a different kind of map really caught on and so here we are, St Patrick’s bell installed by the  Wylfa nuclear engineers and still ringing.

Helen Grove-White

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