jewelart fused glass designs 2017

Its like alchemy how my stacked pieces of glass are magically transformed into gorgeous mini works of art.  Each one turns out different and it’s so exciting to discover what the kiln fairy has been up to and done to my work…

Ok, I know there is some chemistry involved too!

So a bit of glass chemistry:

The glass that I use all has to be of the same COE and from the same manufacturer, so that its compatible together and will expand and contract at the same rate, otherwise if it’s not stable it could crack when it cools down.

Some of the glass has copper, selenium, and other minerals in it and will react differently with things its combined with; other glass, wire, and bubbles.

jewelart heart design glass
A unique heart design fused glass pendant available from my jewelart by Sam Rowena webshop

I love the iridescent and sparkly bubbles and add a powder to help create them.  They also partly form due to the air that is trapped inside the glass layers whilst the pieces are being fused. Elements of different heights have more potential to trap air and a complete wire shape will trap more air inside it. This is why there is a bubble inside the wire heart shapes in my jewelart heart design fused glass pendants.

During the firing process, sometimes the glass moves out of place as it heats up and carefully stacked layers will slide or topple over, and this often results in a piece that doesn’t work out.

jewelart mishapen heart glass
some of the glass has moved to one side and created misshapen glass

As well as the chemistry involved with fusing, there’s the unknown quantity of combining different colours together; which involves some experimenting, writing notes, and taking photos.

But, if I don’t like how some of the glass has turned out. All isn’t lost, as I will usually add another layer to it and then put it back in the kiln for another go!

Over the Winter, I’ve had a break from making glass – I was busy with events on the run-up to Christmas and suffering from a bad back – so it’s been lovely to get back to my glasswork and experiment making some more heart pendants with my new dichroic glass. 

Come along and meet me at one of my jewelart pop-up shops at events across Lancashire and North-West England, where you’ll have a larger selection of my gorgeous glass pieces to choose from.

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

2017 looking forwards and backwards

Moving forward in 2017 with new ideas, dreams and goals!

I begin with looking backwards over the last year and a half. I’ve had a few health issues to overcome, which have taken me on a quest to find alternative remedies and a lifestyle that will help to heal me. This path has enabled me to discover some amazing places and unique experiences, including visits to Glastonbury Tor and its White Spring, Stonehenge and sacred stone circles and wells in Cornwall. I’ll be featuring some of these special places in my future blog posts. 

These health problems have helped me to evaluate my life, think about what I’m doing, what my future goals are and what I need to focus on during the year ahead.

I feel its time for a change and its led me to make a few decisions…

teaching
Since I retrained as a teacher in 2003, teaching has taken up a lot of my time. Initially, I juggled teaching part-time at multiple colleges, alongside organising and teaching my own jewellery making classes. But for the past few years, I’ve gradually been reducing my teaching work, to enable me to spend more time designing, making and taking part in events.

I love teaching and have enjoyed helping my students to develop their jewellery making skills, but I don’t enjoy all of the other work involved with it quite as much. The teaching side of it is really only a small part, as there’s lots of time needed for the organising, admin and prep-work. With this in mind, I’m running my last organised jewellery making classes in March and April 2017.  After this, I’ll still continue teaching my jewellery making private tuition and bespoke group bookings.

events
I enjoy doing events, having the opportunity to meet interesting people – potential customers, other stallholders and friends – and I’ve found that some events work better for me, so I’ll be taking a break from a couple of events and in their place, I’ll try out some different ones.

other plans
Where to start?
Develop my meditation, energy work and photography skills, more hiking, visiting sacred places and learning about ancient symbols. Spend time with family and friends, fit in my normal day-to-day stuff and make time to dream and design…

It’s exciting, I feel a new path beckoning me, a renewed energy and despite our testing times, hope for the future!

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

Events review 2016

What a busy year 2016 has been! Taking part and experiencing events in all sorts of amazing venues and locations, including the lovely Lytham Hall, Brantwood, and Manchester Cathedral, plus having an opportunity to meet and chat with so many interesting people.

Many of these events were great and my work received brilliant feedback with some of it heading off to new homes. But my journey through 2016 involved both ‘ups and downs’ and its often difficult to stay strong and not let disappointing sales or other factors dent your self-confidence and belief in your work.

Alongside doing some of my favourite events again, I took part in a number of new events, these are very much ‘try it and see’…

“Normally, I try to choose events that have quite a strict selection process favouring designer-makers and limiting the number of similar stalls, but each year I try out a few different types of events to see how they’ll work for me.”

One of my major niggles – which is a problem at many events – is an overload of both jewellery and glass, as there’s only going to be a certain number of visitors that are interested in buying these items at an event.

This was actually one of the factors that prompted me to organise both the Easter and November ‘handmade in Lancashire’ pop-up events at Barton Grange Garden Centre. I really enjoyed having these opportunities to do events together with my neighbouring studios, plus a few makers from the Art and Craft Guild of Lancashire and guest artists/makers.  They were great learning experiences for me, sadly, there won’t be any more of our events at this venue, due to a big hike in the room hire costs.

There seem to be so many different ‘art and craft’ events now, perhaps event overload, too many for the number of local people interested in buying from them.

jewelart popup 2016
jewelart pop-up 2016

Will see what 2017 brings… I’m hoping that the events I take part in will go well and there’ll be some more of my jewelart pop-up shops.

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

pop-up with RedThumbPrint 2016

Red Thumb Print and Jewelart Christmas pop-up shop at the Platform Gallery in Clitheroe.

Our collaboration to do a pop-up shop at the Platform Gallery came about quite by accident, whilst we were neighboring stalls at the Clitheroe Christmas Market and got chatting about our difficulties finding decent designer-maker events in Lancashire.

In previous years, I’d taken part in the Platform Gallery Christmas Makers pop-ups and we decided to see if there was any availability for us to do a pop-up there before Christmas. But, the only dates left that we could both do, were the Friday before Christmas and the next day, Christmas Eve. Would there be many visitors then? We decided to give it a go anyway and find out…

“I thought it might be too close to Christmas, but I’m glad to say it was better than expected with our work being greatly admired by gallery visitors and some of it going off to new homes as Christmas presents.”

It was a brilliant showcase for our work. Our displays looked fab, the complimentary chocolate and biscuits went down pretty well, we had a bit of Christmas music and even my new up-cycled Christmas decorations were a success.

making jewelart

During the pop-up shop, I decided to try a creative activity that would help me to interact with people visiting the gallery and I sat making up-cycled Christmas decorations using recycled beads, wire, and vintage chandelier crystals. Gallery visitors could buy ones that I’d just created or choose a personalised one that I made/adapted whilst they looked around the gallery. Alternatively, if they had a few minutes to spare they could watch a demo, then have ‘a go’ and make their own piece of sculptural wirework, which I’d add to their chosen decoration. It went down really well and I’m going to try including similar activities at my future pop-up shops.

“I really enjoyed chatting to everyone, visitors and customers alike, there are some real characters and interesting people that come and visit the gallery. Its a lovely place to spend a few days…”

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

more Info

www.redthumbprint.co.uk
Red Thumb Print makes contemporary furniture, wine racks, and home accessories. Furniture with personality, handmade with love in Lancashire!

www.ribblevalley.gov.uk/platformgallery
Platform Gallery info

  • Visitor information centre
  • In the gallery shop, there is a curated selection of Lancashire and Northern craft
  • In the main gallery space, there are changing exhibitions throughout the year
  • In the Education Gallery space, there’s often something on; either demonstration, workshops, and talks linked to the main exhibition, or pop-up art and craft exhibitions by artists and designer-makers

Northern Lights 2016

A superb showcase of Lancashire and North-West craft can be found at the Platform Gallery annual Christmas exhibition. There are a number of handmade Christmas themed pieces as well as lovely designer art and craft gifts.

I was really excited to be invited to take part in the exhibition again and am exhibiting a selection of abstract fused glass and beaded sculptural wirework with bronze, copper, red, fuchsia and vivid emerald green colours (Autumn/Winter colour theme).

The Platform Gallery hosts a number of different exhibitions each year and is a great place to visit on a day out in the lovely picturesque market town of Clitheroe. The Gallery – in what used to be the train station ticket office – is ideally situated next to the trains, buses and car parking and is also the Visitor Information Centre.

Christmas cards

The Northern Star Christmas exhibition is a great opportunity to buy something handmade locally, whether its ‘just a card’ and a Christmas decoration or a unique present!

In the Education Gallery space, there’s often something on; either demonstration, workshops and talks linked to the main exhibition, or pop-up art and craft exhibitions by artists and designer-makers.

northernlight16red
Red Thumb Print Rudolph’s

Which leads me onto… Meet the Designer-Makers Christmas pop-up shop in the Education Gallery.

David from RedThumbPrint furniture and I will be there on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 December. An opportunity for you to come along and meet us, chat with us about our work and buy your last minute Christmas gifts.

Friday 23  December 11-5pm and Saturday 24 December 10-3pm

Watch me making unique Christmas decorations with vintage chandelier crystals, recycled beads and wire.

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

more info:

www.ribblevalley.gov.uk/platformgallery
Platform Gallery info

www.redthumbprint.co.uk
Red Thumb Print Makes Contemporary Furniture, Wine Racks, and Home Accessories. Furniture with Personality, Handmade with Love in Lancashire!

Lytham Hall Winter Art Fair 2016

It was lovely to be back at Lytham Hall to take part in the first weekend of the Hopeful and Glorious Winter Art Fairs 2016. Despite the bad weather on Saturday – a mix of rain, snow, sleet, and hail – thankfully it improved and we had some sunshine on Sunday, which made a big difference, everyone seemed happier, we had lots of visitors and a better day all round.

There’s always a great selection of arts and crafts with some amazing displays… So, with this in mind, I’ve been revamping and de-cluttering my display, as I wanted to make room for some new glass designs.

It’s a hidden gem, a beautiful building in a lovely location that’s brought back to life hosting the arts and crafts fair. Hopeful and Glorious do a brilliant job, selecting the 30 plus artists, managing and promoting it. I’ve really seen it grow since the first event 2 years ago, which is great for Lancashire art and craft as we have very few really good events for us to showcase our work and we usually have to travel further afield to do events.

I enjoyed taking part in it, catching up with other artists and friends that came to visit, and having the opportunity for visitors to see my work. Even better, my jewellery got lots of compliments and some of it went off to new homes.

“I look forward to hopefully being back there again at another glorious event in the Spring!”

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

more info: 
Lytham Hall, Lytham, Lancashire
Hopeful and Glorious, art and craft fairs in Lancashire

an earlier blog post from 2015 with more photos and info about Lytham Hall

Brantwood Winter Fair 2016

What a gorgeous location it has on the bank of Lake Coniston in Cumbria.  Brantwood, the former home of artist/writer john Ruskin is a real treat of an event and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of its Annual Winter Craft Fair for a number of years.

Its a stunning location set on the side of Lake Coniston and a lovely venue with super arts and crafts, but its a pretty long journey from Lancashire, heading off really early in the morning before the event starts and coming back home at the end of the weekend along small country lanes in the dark, so just in case it’s my last time for a while, I brought my camera along to capture some of its beauty.

A few photos of its stunning setting on the Lake and its ever-changing gorgeous Lakeland views as well as a photo of one of the wirework button brooches I created during the event whilst sitting at my stall.

Luckily, my artist friend, Sally Anne has moved up to the Lakes and invited me to stay,  it was a big help and great to be able to have a good catch up, plus interesting chats with her mum about fairies, fairytale books, and the artists.

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

November 2016 pop-up event — Handmade in Lancashire

A selection of photos from our Handmade in Lancashire pop-up at Barton Grange Garden Centre at the beginning of November. We brought our arts and crafts out to the public and even though many of the visitors were there for a day out – visiting the bedazzling Christmas decorations and lunch – some of them discovered us and appreciated seeing our […]

via November 2016 pop-up event — Handmade in Lancashire

jewellery making classes Autumn 2016

Some of the fab jewellery created by my students on my last jewellery making classes of 2016. There’s always such a great creative vibe at the classes with everyone choosing their own beads and later on in the class, choosing designs to work on.

Everyone in the classes makes something different, unique and personalised.

See more photos on the bebeady website 

Everyone managed so well creating some super jewellery.

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

Cornwall, a journey of discovery

A selection of some of my photos from my recent travels around Cornwall in September.
An amazing journey discovering Cornwall that took me to some of its beautiful and atmospheric ancient and sacred sites; its stone circles, standing stones, wells, barrows and ancient settlements, as well as a bit of walking on the South-West coast path.

My visit to these special sacred places has helped me recharge my batteries and allowed me some thinking time, as well as experiencing some places of wonder and meeting some interesting people (I also managed to spend a few days in Glastonbury on the way down / back and revisit the White Spring and Glastonbury Tor). I’ll tell you more about some of these places in blog posts over the Winter months.

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

elfin alchemy bewitching beautiful jewellery