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…

Red Thumb Print
Red Thumb Print

“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 trial 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 include 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…” Samantha, jewellery artist

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 year
  • In the Education Gallery space there’s often something on; either demonstrations, 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, fuscia and vivid emerald green colours (Autumn/Winter colour theme).

jewelart venus fused glass earrings
jewelart venus glass earrings

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.

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 demonstrations, 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.

Myself and David from RedThumbPrint furniture 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

jewelart wirework xmas decoration
abstract wirework xmas decoration

Watch me making unique Christmas decorations with vintage chandelier crystals, recycled beads and wire. Buy one (£4 each or 3 for £10) of these or you can customise your own, have a go at bending wire into an abstract shape for a few minutes and I’ll add it to your christmas decoration  x Samantha, Jewellery Artist

 

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!

www.facebook.com
Facebook event page

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 the Saturday – a mix of rain, snow, sleet and hail – thankfully it improved and we had some sunshine on the 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, and I have to admit that I get a bit of stall envy looking at how some people display their work… So, with this in mind, I’d been recently trying to revamp and de-clutter my display, especially as I need to make room for some new glass designs. Quite a few of my ‘classic design’ sterling silver bead earrings have moved into a ‘sale section’ and I’ve been making a new display for my glass jewellery with a gorgeous vintage frame that I’d discovered a few months ago in a charity shop.

new glass display
putting together my new vintage display

It takes time getting together all the bits and pieces for the display; the felt, wadding, netting etc and to figure out how to get it to stand upright and attach it to my stall. Luckily, I had help from ASC, a shop in Chorley (its a DIY suppliers, that sell allsorts of fittings and fixtures, wood etc), a really nice guy helped me out there and I was able to get my display finished and ready in time for this event at Lytham Hall.

“I’m chuffed to bits with this gorgeous display! I don’t know if I’ll ever manage minimal, but its looking a bit better.”

Its 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.

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.
Samantha, jewellery artist x

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

more info: 
Lytham Hall, Lytham, Lancashire
Hopeful and Glorious, art and craft fairs in Lancashire
ASC Chorley, Timber Supplies and DIY store, Chorley, 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/writerJohn Ruskin is a real treat of an event and its been lovely to have had the opportunity to be part of its Annual Winter Craft Fair for a number of years.

Its a great location and venue with super arts and crafts, but it involves quite a lot of work and long days, so as this might be last time taking part, I brought my camera along to capture some of its beauty.

There’s a few photos of its stunning setting on the Lake and its ever-changing  gorgeous Lakeland views as well as one or two photos of some of the jewellery pieces I created during the event whilst sitting at my stall.

Luckily, my artist friend, Sally Anne Lambert has moved up to the Lakes and invited me to stay, this has been a big help and this time we had a good catch up and I had some interesting chats with her mum about fairies, fairy story books and artists.

Samantha, 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 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 on the class makes something different, unique and personalised.
See more photos on the bebeady website / facebook page.

Everyone managed really well and created some super jewellery. Samantha, jewellery artist x

Cornwall, a journey of discovery

A selection of some of my photos from my recent travels around Cornwall in September.
A journey discovering Cornwall – it took me to some of its 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 amazing places 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. Samantha, jewellery artist x

The Staffordshire Hoard – Mysteries of the bearded man

One of the Anglo Saxon pieces in the Warrior Treasures exhibition of the Staffordshire Hoard particularly stood out from the rest, as it seemed to have a different design.

The detailing and workmanship on this sword pommel wasn’t quite as intricate, it had different colouring – not being gold (although some little bits of gold can still be seen) – and I think its the only one decorated with a strange face, alongside its zoomorphic animal designs.

I was intrigued by it and wanted to discover more about it… Does this bearded face have some significance? and what does it mean?

Anglo Saxon bearded man
bearded man image

I had come across other similar faces in Anglo-Saxon artwork and in churches, symbols for the Celtic Green Man, ancient gods and other deities.

My first internet search yielded a thesis paper by Rachel D. Brewer about the Staffordshire Hoard, which had a paragraph about the piece (it was written just after the Hoard had been discovered, so there may be newer evidence that’s come to light since then). It stated that the bearded man pommel is believed to be one of the oldest items in the Hoard and from the late 6th Century, possibly of Scandinavian origin. Its made from a copper-alloy and has a ‘ski-slope’ style shape.

On my next internet search, I came across a blog post written by Rosie Weetch, curator and Craig Williams, illustrator at the British Museum. ‘Decoding Anglo-Saxon art‘ helped explain it further for me, that these animal patterns have multi-layered symbolic meanings and stories behind them. The following passage from the blog is really interesting:

“…is a bearded face with a helmet underneath two birds that may represent the Germanic god Woden/Odin with his two companion ravens. The image of a god alongside other powerful animals may have offered symbolic protection to the wearer like a talisman or amulet.”

Anglo Saxon bearded man design
The Information board at the Warrior Treasures Staffordshire Hoard exhibition shows the designs on the pommel

Although, in the blog post other examples of Anglo-Saxon bearded faces were featured, it does seem to fit this pommel design, as I can clearly see 2 birds/ravens on the pommel, one at either side of bearded face.

I did some Wikipedia research on it:  “In Old Norse texts, Odin is depicted as one-eyed and long-bearded, frequently wielding a spear named Gungnir, and wearing a cloak and a broad hat. He is often accompanied by his animal companions—the wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Huginn and Muninn…”

There’s further info on Wikipedia about the Norse god Odin, and his companions, the wolves and ravens.

The animals on the reverse side of the pommel have been interpreted as boars, the jagged teeth are quite prominent, but perhaps these could be his wolf companions?

Looking down at the top of the pommel you can see a lovely interlace pattern, but also that it looks quite worn / well used. I found more info about this on another blog post by the ‘Thegns of Mercia’:

“Given most items in the hoard are dated to the 7th to early 8th century, sth711 is something quite special. It may be hundreds of years older than the rest of the hoard; a historical artifact even before it was buried.

“There’s far more that is peculiar about this piece, though. First, it’s apex has seen its 2+ mm deep relief completely rubbed away. It’s fair to say that the top third of the pommel cap has lost all it’s decoration to wear and tear. This contrasts strongly with most other items in the hoard which, though made from softer materials, do not display this kind of damage. They are mangled and bent from detachment, yes, but for the most part, they were not subject to decades or centuries of wear before they were put in the ground…” read more of their blog post


I’m completely amazed by what I discovered about it!
Wow… The mysterious bearded man representing the Pagan god Wodin / Odin would indeed make it a very special sword and pommel. I think the Anglo-Saxons believed it would offer them protection and bring them good luck, especially as it had been used in many battles and had been kept and handed down the generations.
I had only intended to write a short blog post, just one or two paragraphs about this intriguing Anglo Saxon piece in the Staffordshire Hoard, but I kept on discovering more about it. I hope you’ll also find this blog post interesting. You too can visit and see this piece in the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition
x Samantha, jewellery artist 

The Staffordshire Hoard Spiral Workshops

Taking inspiration from the Anglo Saxon spiral designs in the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition and linking it to jewellery making, I taught 2 spiral jewellery making workshops for the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in July and August 2016 as part of their Warrior Treasures exhibition.

It was a pleasure and an honour to be able to combine teaching jewellery making with my interest in the Anglo Saxons. It also mean’t I’d have another opportunity to visit the Staffordshire Hoard Warrior Treasures exhibition.

a mixture of spiral and other patterns
a mixture of spiral and other patterns

Anglo Saxon design is fascinating and its so intricate. I’m especially interested in ancient civilizations in particular their art and design, as I studied design for 3 years at college (this was followed by working as an in-house designer for a number of years, before retraining as a teacher. I also studied silversmithing for 5 years part-time at college and have been making jewellery for over 25 years).

one of my spiral demonstration pieces
spiral demonstration

The workshop included many demos, as we covered a number of different spiral designs, from basic spirals to double spirals using different types and thicknesses of copper wire, plus there were a few continuation spiral designs. This was followed by turning these spiral pieces into jewellery.

Everyone that took part in the workshops, seemed to enjoy themselves and became engrossed in making their spirals and finished the day with a number of pieces of spiral jewellery, including earrings, pendants, charms and a spiral charm / pendant beaded cord necklace or bracelet.

Some of the super spiral jewellery created by the students on these workshops:

Samantha, jewellery artist x

The Staffordshire Hoard Spirals

The pieces on display in the Warrior Treasures Staffordshire Hoard exhibition are completely fascinating and enchanting. So much work and skills has gone into creating them. There are a number of pieces that are decorated with spirals, most of these have double spirals, but a few of them have a mixture of different spiral patterns.

sea horse piece decorated with spiral patterns
my favourite piece in the hoard in the shape of a horse and decorated with double spirals

Many ancient civilizations across the world used spirals in their artwork. Neolithic examples that are 4-5,000 years old can be seen at the entrance to the Newgrange passage tomb in Ireland as well as Megalithic Temple decoration in Malta.

malta spirals
Neolithic / Copper Age spiral temple decoration from Malta

Spirals are believed to signify the cycle of life and double spirals  the Spring and Autumn equinoxes.

Maybe the use of spirals by these ancient civilizations helped to make them revered mysterious symbols and continue their usage by later civilizations.

Some of the spiral decorated pieces in the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition:

Taking inspiration from these Anglo Saxon spiral designs in the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition and linking it to jewellery making, I taught 2 spiral jewellery making workshops for the Leeds Royal Armouries Museum in July and August 2016 as part of their Warrior Treasures exhibition.

See some pieces created by my students on these workshops in my next blog post. Samantha, jewellery artist x

elfin alchemy bewitching beautiful jewellery