All posts by jewellery artist

Jewellery designer-maker, creating elfin alchemy sculptural wire beaded jewellery and fused glass designs, little pieces of sunshine to help you sparkle. Inspired by the magic of our ancient ancestors and nature all around us.

musings about the elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition in October 2021

The Pendle Heritage centre is such a fantastic place to spend some time, and be enveloped in all its magic and mysteries… The ancient stone barn is set in a beautiful location, nestled next to Heritage centre, across the cobbles from it and the parkland in Barrowford, surrounded by picturesque Lancashire countryside in the borough of Pendle witch country.

I felt very lucky to finally be able to hold my elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition at the Pendle Heritage centre during the October half-term and Halloween in 2021. It’d been a longer wait than planned… as I’d originally booked it for October 2020, back in 2019, but due to Covid and lockdowns it was postponed to the following June. (you can read more about it in my last blog posts). 


Guest artists

It had been my wish to share the space at my elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition with guest artists, and be able to give them the opportunity to display their work and meet a different audience. But, I was glad I’d decided to wait and see how my first pop-up exhibition in June went, as it gave me the chance to figure out if I could fit an artist in the space downstairs. I knew there’d be room for at least 2 artists upstairs (as Covid was still around I limited it to just the 1 artist upstairs).

After organising some studio group events a few years ago, I was aware of the work involved, so to make it easier for myself I was just inviting guest artists I already knew. Covid made it more difficult, as some of the artists I asked, weren’t able to do events because they or close family members were in the ‘at-risk category’, thankfully 2 artists were able to join me for the Halloween weekend.

“My pop-up exhibition theme with it being held at the Pendle Heritage centre was alchemy and anything related to myths, magic, woodland creatures, nature and fairy tales.”


Potter Barbara from Barbara Lea Pottery was downstairs with her magical ceramic fairy mushroom houses and textile artist Josephine from Phinefibre was upstairs with her colourful abstract fibre jewellery, cards, art and drum sticks.

It was lovely to be joined by these talented makers in the barn, but I felt under added pressure, as I really wanted the weekend be worthwhile for them…

Phew, I felt so relieved that we were quite busy with visitors all weekend!

To fit in my guest artists, the downstairs room needed rearranging. Normally I was sat making next to my main display, blocking the stairs. I moved my small making / packing table away from my display next to the entrance, but this didn’t work out as well for me as I wasn’t sat next to my display and couldn’t  chat with visitors when they’re looking at my displays and able give them more info about my pieces.


The barn is what you’d call quirky, the downstairs room is kind of an awkward shape that doesn’t really lend itself for fitting in 6ft tables, although a table fits into the back of the room, I used this as an info and leaflet table, and moved them when my guest artist Barbara was in that space.

There needs to be a display table in the alcove next to the stairs, so people can see it when they are walking past the entrance and going into the Heritage centre. But, if you sit one side of the display table you’re blocking the stairs, and if you sit the other side of it, you’re blocking the way, with the room being at its narrowest there (it would originally have been 2 rooms). Next time I’m going to try moving my display table sideways and see if I can squeeze into the alcove with it and hopefully that’ll work better.

Apart from these niggles, it’s an amazing space with lovely energy, there’s big windows in the entrance section that let in lots of light, which is the other reason I was sat blocking the stairs, as it’s got the best light for making, allowing visitors to watch me working and chat with me about my creations.


Upstairs, is even lovelier, with a great view of the Heritage centre, cobbled courtyard area and parkland beyond and sense of space with its high ceiling.  

If all goes well, I hope to return for another elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition there in October 2022, with guest artists joining me at both weekends and short 20-minute recycled jewellery making tasters on the Monday-Wednesday of the half-term week.

In my next blog post, you can read about my fascinating flower design journey of discovery.

There is magic all around us…

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey, wishing you sparkles of light. Sam Rowena, elfin alchemy, Lancashire jewellery artist 

elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition October 2021

The Pendle Heritage Centre is such a magical place for my elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition, I’m so looking forward to being there this October half-term. Its the perfect venue to visit for a day out, especially if its raining, you can spend some time learning about local history and the Pendle witches in the museum, find something lovely in the gift shop, have a coffee or eat lunch in the cafe overlooking the walled garden, then come by and visit me in the barn:
Saturday 23rd to Sunday 31st October 2021, 11-4pm


Originally, I’d booked the barn in 2019 for the October half-term in 2020, but because of Covid it was postponed twice, thankfully it was able to go ahead in June 2021.

It was really lovely to be back doing an event after such a long time… sharing what I make with others really helped boost my self-confidence, and when some days were quieter I was happy to just be there in this beautiful place and sat making  jewellery.


Many of the visitors that popped in to take a look loved my creations, treated themselves or got presents for loved ones. Wow, some of my glass pendants were even heading to Australia!

I’ve shared a bit of my background story about my elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition at the Pendle Heritage Centre in my last blog post I wrote in the Spring.

Actually, there’s a number of reasons behind me being there…

It all began with me visiting the Pendle Heritage Centre in October 2019 with some extra jewellery pieces for my display in the gift shop in time for the Christmas shopping season and I saw that an artist was exhibiting his work in the barn. I thought I could do that, why don’t I do it and see how it goes? Whilst I was there, I mentioned that I’d be interested in doing it, and then ended up booking it for the following October…


Really what prompted me to go for it, was the lack of good art and craft events in Lancashire, they are like gold dust and then there’s the problem of being accepted for a stall, as there’s an over-abundance of jewellery and glass makers.

Although 2019 had been quite a good year for me, I’d been teaching back down in London, and at a few 1-1 bespoke workshops, plus I’d taken part in some good events over the Spring and Summer. Then in the Autumn, when my applications for a number of events hadn’t been successful, it knocked my self-confidence and belief in what I make. Lots of things were going on in my head, I wondered if I should continue on my creative journey when the path seemed so difficult.

“I decided not to ‘give up’ as I felt that sure that other opportunities would appear!”

I decided to try and see it as a positive, maybe this rejection of my work and not getting into these events was actually helping me move in the direction I was supposed to go.  It gave me the push that I needed, to go outside of my comfort zone. and it spurred me on to book my first pop-up exhibition at the Pendle Heritage Centre. It also pushed me to try other things too… as it was around this time that I first heard about Barrica in the Park and emailed them about getting involved. 

My other reason behind me wanting to do my elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition is related to my health.

Doing events on my own is quite physically demanding and as I get older, I don’t have the same amount of energy that I used to have. The early start, the drive, moving boxes, setting up and taking down the display and the long day, means I’m totally shattered afterwards… and that’s only a small part of the work, there’s all the preparation that goes into it beforehand. 

“In my head I believe I’m still young, but my body tells me otherwise”

I do enjoy the buzz of doing events, meeting and chatting with people about my makes, getting feedback on new work, finding customers that love and want to wear my creations, as well as the social side of getting the opportunity to catch up with other makers. But I’m having to be realistic and going forward, needing to be more selective of the events I choose to do and not do as many.

The beauty of my pop-up exhibitions, is that I only need to set up my displays once and then they’re up for the duration of my exhibition.  Although it initially involves a lot of extra preparation creating new displays, once they’re made, they can be used again at my next pop-up exhibitions.

Another positive is having the exhibition space to create displays so that I can share the story behind some of my makes, you can learn about how my daisy flower design is linked to witchcraft and how my fascination with the ancient spiral design led me on an amazing journey.



“What’s best is I can make the most of being in a beautiful barn, where I’m able to sit making and chatting to visitors about my work and its inspiration, any sales are an added bonus!”   

Knowing how difficult it is to find good events, I also want to give a couple of local artists and makers that I’ve met at events (whose work is also related to witches, fairies, woodland creatures or spirituality), the opportunity to join me as a guest artist for 2 days at my pop-up exhibition. Sadly due to the ongoing Corona virus situation, a few of the artists and makers I invited, said they would have loved to be guest artists, but were unable to join me this time due to them – or close family – being in the ‘at risk group’, and are hoping to be able to come next year. 

I’m really happy to share that over the Halloween weekend – 30th and 31st October 2021 – I’m being joined by 2 local artists. Upstairs in the barn is a textile artist Phinefibre who creates magical felt work and downstairs with me is a ceramic artist Barbara Lee Pottery who creates the most enchanting fairy houses. 

For more info about the venue, visit the Pendle Heritage Centre website

“I hope you’ll get chance to come and visit my elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition in the barn at the Pendle Heritage Centre!”

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey, wishing you sparkles of light. Sam Rowena, elfin alchemy, Lancashire jewellery artist 

high ups and low downs of 2020 – PENDLE HERITAGE CENTRE

One of my goals for 2020 was to display and sell my work in some new venues… 

The Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford isn’t exactly a new venue for me, as I already sell my elfin alchemy jewellery in the small gallery shop there. But when I called in with some new work in October 2019 I noticed there was an artist exhibiting his work in their neighbouring barn and thought it would be ideal for my pop-up exhibition. 

“I was so excited about doing my first elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition at the Pendle Heritage Centre.”

pendle heritage centre
the beautiful Pendle Heritage Centre

The barn exhibition space was already booked up for Winter 2019 and during the warmer summer months the whole barn space is usually booked up at weekends for weddings and events, so I booked it a year ahead for October 2020… Little realising then what was to come in 2020.

Initially, it looked like it might be possible to go ahead as after our first lockdown in Spring / early Summer 2020, the museum, gallery and cafe reopened in August. Unfortunately by October coronavirus cases were quite high and on the rise in the neighbouring areas and Lancashire went back into a quasi-lockdown around the time of my exhibition.

I moved my pop-up exhibition to Easter 2021… and as I write this blog in March 2021 we are still in lockdown here, but have been given dates for gradually easing out of it over the coming months, although not by Easter.

So I’m hoping it’ll be 3rd time lucky for my Summer exhibition! 

The new dates for my pop-up exhibition:
Friday 4th to Sunday 13th June 2021

the barn gallery space at Pendle Heritage Centre
The barn gallery space in the courtyard

I can’t wait to showcase and display my work in such beautifully atmospheric surroundings.

In my pop-up exhibition I will be sharing some of the inspiration behind my makes, how my interest in the magic of our ancient ancestors inspires some of my work, from the 6-petal flower shapes, hearts, spirals, scrolls, Celtic designs to the colours I use. 

“My designs, especially my glass work really come alive and sparkle when you can see them in real life!”

The Pendle Heritage Centre barn exhibition space is next door to its museum, small gallery shop and cafe. It’s situated in the courtyard space at the entrance to Barrowford Memorial Park and adjacent to parking with beautiful countryside and many short walks on its doorstep. Plus it’s only 5 minutes drive from the M65. 

It’ll make a perfect day out for you…

beautiful countryside near the Pendle Heritage Centre
one of my favourite walks nearby the Pendle Heritage Centre

As we move into the beauty of Spring, I’m busy experimenting, designing and creating magical jewellery pieces, which I look forward to sharing with you during 2021… wishing you sparkles of light!

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey,
Sam Rowena, elfin alchemy Lancashire jewellery artist x

high ups and low downs of 2020 – eden tearoom and galleries

One of my goals for 2020 was to display and sell my work in some new venues… and happily, it’s happening!

Eden Tearoom and Galleries is a lovely new gallery that opened not far from me in Newburgh at the beginning of July.

“I was over the moon to have some of my elfin alchemy pieces selected to take part in their opening exhibition!”

Each year the gallery is running different themed exhibitions, this first exhibition that runs from 11 July until Saturday 10 October 2020 is; ‘Beyond the Window, an exploration of nature after lockdown’.

Eden Tearoom and Galleries in Newburgh

Some info about the exhibition from the Eden Tearoom & Galleries website: “Beyond The Window: An Exploration of Nature After Lockdown is an exhibition which collectively explores how we view and interpret the natural world around us, from the gardens in Nancy Collantine’s Secret Garden Series to the awe-inspiring vastness of outer space in Claire Lake’s Nebula Series, this exhibition explores how artists respond to and record the changing world around us.

While we have been confined to our homes during quarantine, the natural world outside has blossomed. This exhibition explores the ever-changing beauty of nature, each artist questioning the world around us and our place in it in their own unique way. Ranging from dramatic landscape painting and delicate glasswork to the intricate textile instillation of Vanessa Lam, Beyond The Window offers a snapshot of our engagement and connection with nature.”

Visit their website to see some images of the artists taking part and learn more about the tearoom, gallery, exhibitions, and events coming up over the next few months.

“Am so happy that my new elfin alchemy abstract glass pendants – that magically play with the luminosity of light – have gone down so well in the exhibition, getting many compliments and heading off to new homes. Its given me such a welcome boost that I’ve really needed at the moment.”

elfin alchemy bewitching beautiful shades of blue glass pendant
elfin alchemy ‘zing sparkles’ abstract glass pendant

Eden Tearooms and Galleries are also running an artisan market on the first Saturday of the month and you can find me there – my events info – with my elfin alchemy pop-up stall. Due to the Coronavirus nearly all my events this year have been cancelled, so I’m really looking forward to taking part in them and being at in person markets again. 

“If you can do come visit and support a local event and gallery exhibitions, its such a great opportunity to treat yourself or loved ones to something handmade by local artists, creatives and artisans.”

Hopefully, in a little while, it will all turn out great! 

I will be sharing more about these 2020 highs and lows in my next blog posts, come with me on my adventures…wishing you sparkles of light!

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey,
Sam Rowena, jewellery artist x

high ups and low downs of 2020 – Barrica in the park

One of my goals for 2020 was to display and sell my work in some new venues… and happily, it’s happening!

I first heard about ‘Barrica in the Park’ in Autumn 2019, when a friend and fellow-maker shared some information about it on social media and I got in touch hoping to be involved in it.  Thankfully after writing a few more emails, I was given the opportunity to be part of this new local endeavour.

‘Barrica in the Park’ is run and organised by Barrica Wines with 30 partners involved, mostly local artisan food and drink producers, plus a few creatives and small businesses. Jane from Barrica Wines, “…a place where established local producers can share space with smaller producers who have neither the financial nor logistical clout to open independent shops”.

It’s a collaboration of people passionate about what we do, and its great to be part of this new venture that showcases all of us under one roof.

Situated inside the beautiful 17th Century farmhouse, in the courtyard at Astley Park, Chorley you will find a unique selection of wines, beers, and spirits (many wines from smaller vineyards and local beers brewed in the North West), freshly baked bread and pastries from the local bakery, ‘All you Knead’.

Barrica in the Park

There are wonderful local artisan-crafted makes; delicious brownies, cheesecakes, chocolates, honey, jams, chutneys, cordials, beer, and gin. Head upstairs to discover local artistry and crafts; art, photography, candles, engraved glass, Japanese paper lampshades, and my elfin alchemy jewellery.

You can find 2 cabinets of my work, displaying a selection of my designs, from colourful abstract glass pendants to sculptural beaded wirework earrings, necklaces, and brooches.

We first opened to the public on the 1st of February and there was going to be a proper launch event later in the Spring, plus a food festival in the Summer and lots of other events happening in the Park. Sadly, due to the virus all this, along with our ‘meet the makers’ has currently been put on hold for a while. 

In February and March, all of the partner businesses involved were there doing monthly ‘meet the makers’, such as tasters, demos, an opportunity to chat with us about what we make/do. Now, instead of this some of us have been helping out manning the front door, greeting customers, sharing info about ‘Barrica in the Park’, or the social distancing measures that have been put in place and asking people to put on hand gel before entering. 

Hopefully, in a little while, it will all turn out great! 

I will be sharing more about these 2020 highs and lows in my next blog posts, come with me on my adventures…wishing you sparkles of light!

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey,
Sam Rowena, jewellery artist x

high ups and low downs of 2020 – a Wintery start

My 2020 began with a manic few months, there were some amazing ups, but also downs too!
A new year always begins with hope, dreams, and aspirations for the future and what can be achieved during the year. 

One of my goals was to sell my work in some new venues in 2020, in 2019 I got the ball rolling by booking an exhibition – a year ahead – for Autumn 2020 and also applied to be part of a new local venture on my doorstep. In January, I got some super news, happily, I’d been accepted to join ‘Barrica in the Park’ in Chorley, and would be displaying my work there from when it opened to the public on the 1st of February.

Barrica in the Park in a 17th century farmhouse
Barrica in the Park is in this  gorgeous 17th Century farmhouse

Also, more fantastic news, I learned that my Anglo-Saxon theme jewellery making Masterclasses at the British Library would be going ahead. So lots of last-minute work ordering/organising materials, booking a hotel and train tickets, and doing extra research and designs for it.  

On a downside, I came down with pretty bad food poisoning and a cold, thankfully I was well enough in time for my teaching down in London.

But more was to come, during February England was hit with some devastating storms, bringing many floods in their wake. Trains were cancelled and I got stuck in London for an extra night. I also learned that my studio-workshop had been badly flooded… once I was home and the storm and the floodwaters had subsided, I headed over there to find it was a complete mess. Argh! 

The next few weeks were quite a slog, trying to salvage what I could from the damp, cold, and foul-smelling studio. I could only cope with a being there for a few hours each day, impaired by the numbness that affects my hands – it only allows me to do short bursts of work – trying to wash and clean the smelly grime of the floodwater off the stuff in my studio. The mouldy damp conditions and breathing in the stank air of my flooded studio were making me ill, I decided it would be better to sort through my stuff at a slower pace, from the warmth and comfort of my home and that I needed to move out.   

It was then March and I was kept busy with sorting and kitting out a new cabinet and display of my work in Barrica in the Park, then our lock-down began…

I will be sharing more about these highs and lows in my next blog posts, come with me on my adventures…wishing you sparkles of light!

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey,
Sam Rowena, jewellery artist x

high ups and low downs of 2020 – lockdown

What a year it has been so far, with ups and downs aplenty, it’s definitely going to be a year to remember!
Hopefully, when our lives resume and go back to normal after the pandemic has gone for good, we will see the positives that have come out of this experience we are going through now.

“Our months of lockdown have given most of us the chance to reconnect with who we are and what is really important to us; our health, family, friends, a roof over our heads, and enough food on the table. Plus an opportunity to reflect on our lives, dreams and aspirations.”

Slowing down has given us time to really appreciate the simple pleasures of life, the beautiful colours and sounds all around us in nature during the changing seasons – the smell of the earth after the rain, flowers blossoming, birds singing – all continuing around us quite unaware of what is going on in our world.

a lovely rose in my garden 2020
a beautiful rose blossoming in my garden

The beauty of each day dawning afresh with new hope!
Such blissful peace and quiet we have not known before with places empty of people and their noise. All but a few essential shops closed for months, with many cafes, restaurants, museums, galleries, and other businesses still yet to open their doors again to visitors as we get used to our ‘new normal’ way of life…

But I know that not everyone’s experiences these past few months have been the same. A few of my friends have been busier than ever as essential workers or they’re juggling working from home with home-schooling their children and food shopping for parents self-isolating. There are many that will be going through suffering too, being ill with the virus or losing loved ones, and friends to it.

I am sure, we are all thankful to everyone helping to care for the sick and those who continue working for us in our essential services; hospitals, care homes, food shops, post offices, police, public transport, often putting themselves at risk.

“After going through treatment for cancer 19 years ago, I’ve learnt that we just have to take one day at a time, and appreciate that we are still here and all we are blessed with.
Worrying about things won’t help us, especially when we are going through something outside of our control, we need to try to keep a positive and thankful mindset.”

More about my highs and lows so far this year in my next blog posts, come with me on my adventures…wishing you sparkles of light!

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey,
Sam Rowena, jewellery artist x

Inspired by the magic of spirals – part2

The spiral design has fascinated me for many years and I seem to come across it all the time… from the artwork of our ancient civilizations to the modern-day artists, such as Klimt and it can be found all around us in nature and the cosmos too.  It feels quite special!

Whatever its real meaning when I make my spiral shapes using copper wire it’s very relaxing and therapeutic, whether it’s from working with copper which has many magical and healing properties or it comes from creating the spiral shape, or its a combination of both. I can feel lovely energy from it and when I first started working at my studio, I occasionally saw a white light emanating from my hands whilst making spirals and other shapes. I still see this white or colourful aura of vibrating energy, now it’s mostly when I’m outside in the sunlight doing my mini eye meditations, rather than when I’m working indoors. Whenever I see them though it always feels pretty magical…

My new spiral designs, well they aren’t really ‘new’ as I began making these spiral glass pieces a few years ago, but just wasn’t quite happy with them, so put the design to one side. An idea of how to fix the design came to me during one of my dreams. Many ideas, designs, or even words and sentences (I struggle with my writing) come to me when I am in the space between awake and sleep. I see the answer to problems or visualise the completed design, often I will wake myself up to write it down or sketch them.

When I began working on these ‘new’ spiral designs again in Spring 2018 I made only slow progress for 6 months due to my eyesight problems and a finger infection. But by trial and error, I learnt how best to make/glue them (they’re pretty fiddly) and gave myself a pair to wear to test them out. I loved that a friend at the studio saw me wearing them and asked me to make her a pair too!

They are quite bewitching beautiful and sparkly!

By November, I had finished a small selection in different colours and shapes ready in time for my Christmas events. It was really rewarding when something that you’ve designed and created goes down well and others also love what you’ve designed and made.

elfin alchemy spiral glass earrings
spiral glass earrings in silver shades

In the Spring I entered 4 of the ‘silver/crystal’ colour spiral glass / Swarovski earring designs Into the Lancashire Open exhibition at the Platform Gallery in Clitheroe, happily, they all got selected and 7 pairs went off to new homes!

Am just so pleased with how all my designs, experiments and work in progress are coming along – my new glass pendant designs and these earrings in a variety of different colourways – a selection of them are on display / for sale on my stall at events and there’ll be a small curated collection on my new elfin alchemy website (launched in the Spring).

“I feel really proud of this design, although they’re still pretty fiddly to make, they are quite magical and worth the work involved.”

My own collection of them is growing too – as a chief tester – I’ve a few pairs in the different styles and love wearing them all!

In one of my future blog posts, I’ll be sharing some more of my journey and how my ‘elfin alchemy’ name found me, come with me on my adventures…

Wishing you sparkles of light!

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey,
Sam Rowena, jewellery artist x

Inspired by the magic of spirals – part1

Was it just a coincidence that last summer whilst I was busy working on fine-tuning some of my spiral wirework jewellery designs that the British Library contacted me?  If you’ve read my last few posts, yes quite amazingly I got to teach my Anglo-Saxon inspired spiral wirework jewellery making masterclasses as part of their iconic Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition.

The spiral design is a feature of many Anglo-Saxon artworks, in manuscripts, metalwork, stone crosses etc and it’s also a design that has fascinated me for decades.

some info about the spiral symbol

The spiral is believed to symbolise the journey or cycle of life, perhaps in some instances, it represents a serpent, the cosmos or the spiral of life. But, when used to decorate Anglo-Saxon crosses in churchyards (see below), the running spiral design also known as a plant or vine scroll is thought to symbolise Christ as the true vine which gives life and is a visualisation of salvation and paradise.

spiral decoration on a stone cross in Cumbria
Anglo-Saxon spiral decoration on a stone cross in Cumbria

my journey

In my late teens and early 20s, I spent some years travelling, working, backpacking around the world and having adventures (will share a few of these with you another day). This time in my life enabled me to experience many different places, its people and their culture. Art, design and history have always interested me and my travels helped open up my eyes to this new world of mysterious sacred places, our ancient ancestors and their artwork.

I could see many similarities across the continents and time divide, from Australia, South and Central America to our European Neolithic ancestors, the Celts, Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. The mystery of why they all created these spiral designs and what this and other symbols signified has intrigued me ever since… and yes, I still find spirals everywhere!

Well, there is a little bit more on this inspired by spirals journey, that involves my own jewellery designs and how my new business name found me, which I will share in some of my next blog posts, come with me on my adventures…

Wishing you sparkles of light!

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey,
Sam Rowena, jewellery artist x

Anglo-Saxon inspired – my story 3

I really didn’t have an inkling 9 years ago when I chose to learn more about our Anglo-Saxon heritage and teach these Anglo-Saxon theme jewellery making workshops for the Landscapes Project quite where it would lead or the incredible journey I would have…

Is it our destiny that pulls us in these directions, moves us by chance onto these different paths?

Destiny, fate, chance whatever you want to call it, seems to play a major part in my life, as so much of what I do seems to happen by accident. When I retrained as a teacher 16 years ago, I thought I would just teach basic design and photo-editing. I had no idea that two years later I would begin to specialise in teaching jewellery making and teach it at a number of colleges, groups, galleries and organise/run my own bebeady classes for over 10 years.

Learning about the Anglo-Saxons and teaching my jewellery making workshops for the Landscapes Project for the Forest of Bowland AONB really helped enrich my knowledge and broaden my horizons. It was the start of something amazing that linked my teaching with my design skills, jewellery making and my interest in our ancient ancestors.

My Anglo-Saxon adventure continues – 3
So after teaching the workshops at the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition in Durham, it was followed in 2016 by being asked to teach some workshops as part of the Warrior Treasures, Saxon Gold / Staffordshire Hoard exhibition at the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum. They’d also discovered me online via the Landscapes Project (sadly it’s not online anymore).

These workshops were longer, for a day instead of 2 hours and inspired by some of the Anglo-Saxon designs in the exhibition – that was decorated with double spirals – I  developed some further wirework jewellery designs.

anglo-saxon jewellery making pieces created by students
double spiral design inspired by pieces in the Staffordshire Hoard created at the workshop

I’ve already written a few blog posts about this particular journey, my teaching and Staffordshire Hoard exhibition visits:

What happened next was very wow! I couldn’t believe it when last Summer I was contacted by the British Library, which resulted in me travelling down to London in October 2018 and January 2019 and teaching my Anglo-Saxon jewellery making 1-day masterclasses as part of their iconic Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition.

“If there is ever a good example of the benefits of writing a blog, I think this is it… as I asked how they found me and it was from doing a google search and my blog posts and websites were there!”

It was super exciting, but I also put in a fair bit of time in preparing myself for it; learning more about the Anglo-Saxons, developing further designs for the masterclasses and ordering/organising materials etc. It was also way outside of my comfort zone… once I’m actually teaching I’m ok, as I feel happy when I’m demonstrating or helping students, but talking/presenting I find much more difficult and my brain often turns to jelly with my words coming out jumbled up or not at all.  Thankfully both masterclasses went really well and I was very proud of myself for facing my fears.

What a wonderful opportunity it was and so totally unexpected. Plus I got to visit the fascinating exhibition for a quick look before I went around with the workshop participants pointing out pieces of particular interest and inspiration for the masterclass workshop designs.

Well, there is a little bit more to my Anglo-Saxon journey, that involves my own jewellery designs and my new business name, which I will share in my next blog posts, come with me on my adventures…

Read my other blog posts:

Wishing you sparkles of light!

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey,
Sam Rowena, jewellery artist x