Black Sheep, Darker Side of Felt exhibition

at The Platform Gallery, Clitheroe…

My visit to the Platform Gallery luckily coincided with the Black Sheep – Darker Side of Felt exhibition that’s on there. This exhibition has spent 18 months travelling around the UK and the Platform Gallery is its last venue. Wow, there’s some amazing work on display. There’s a collection of work by 7 international felt artists; including colourful large abstract wall hangings, sculptural 3-D pieces including vessels, costumes, and my favourite the primal animal headpieces by Barbara Keal. I could just imagine myself transported to fairytale land wearing one of the pieces and meeting up with elves or witches (as we’re near Pendle, the witch county).

There’s also a display of different types of wool and other materials, and info about the felting process. Although you can’t handle any of the main exhibits, there is a handling section showcasing a variety of felted work. It’s definitely worth going to see, you could also have a go yourself at one of the felt workshops or find out more about the exhibition at the curator talk.

Info board about the exhibition:
This exhibition is an exploration of the edgier side of this extraordinary and versatile material, looking at artists who create sometimes disturbing and bizarre oddities and technically brilliant objects. This is a touring exhibition from The National Centre for Craft and Design.

Info board about the artist Barbara Keal:
“On my way to the workshop I was gathering leaves and grasses I suddenly felt giddy, overwhelmed by the strength of the force of life – when I arrived at the workshop I got down to making a hat fast and furiously – how can I make a work wild and vigorous enough for you to catch that feeling?”

East-Sussex based Barbara Keal is on a mission to create hats for the whole world, inspired by real and imaginary animals, and effortlessly crossing the boundaries between sculpture, craft, design, and fashion. Keal’s work is an example of the extraordinary sculptural possibilities of the material. Felt is often used to replicate animal puppets or toys but Keal’s work has a rawness and reality to it. By wearing Keal’s creations we are encouraged to become another creature and explore our primal side. visit the exhibition to read more…

The Black Sheep Felt exhibition runs until the 3rd October at the Platform Gallery

Clitheroe
Clitheroe, Castle Street

My main reason for visiting the Platform Gallery was to collect my work that had been in this year’s Craft Annual Open Exhibition – great news that 3 of my pieces sold (2 pairs of my Venus copper flower earrings and a pair of my rose medieval design earrings) – and to deliver some posters and leaflets for my 3-day pop-up exhibition there on 22-24 October.
Sam Rowena, jewellery artist x

Clitheroe is a great place to visit for a day out. It’s a pretty market town, with lovely shops, cafes, galleries, a castle, and a museum.

more info: Platform Gallery website Black Sheep – Darker Side of Felt exhibition blog

St Chad’s Well

an ancient holy place

bellringers at chadkirk chapel
beautiful setting and acoustics for the bellringing at Chadkirk Festival 2015

Many years ago at a craft fair, I was recommended the Chadkirk Festival… after researching the event I applied for a stall and now I go there each summer and take part. It’s a lovely little festival in a great setting; with traditional music, dancing displays, and all sorts of handmade stalls in the garden area next to the chapel.

Before I head home after the festival I like to visit St Chad’s well, which is just up the hill from the chapel and see the well dressing. It’s decorated with petals, leaves and other natural materials. This year its particularly beautiful.

St. Chad’s Well Dressing 2015

From the Info board at the well:

“This ancient holy well may have had its origins in Celtic times but has come to be associated with St Chad, the 7th Century Bishop of Lichfield whose missionary work in spreading the gospel may have brought him to this remote corner of his diocese.

St Chad is regarded as the patron saint of wells and springs, in the Middle Ages, a well dedicated to him at Lichfield was said to have medicinal qualities and its water to bring about miraculous cures.

St Chad's Well
St Chad’s Well

Ancient Celtic sites were often associated with water in the form of sacred pools and springs, where offerings were made to the gods. As part of the process of conversion to Christianity, places, where pagan worship had taken place, were often adopted by missionaries for Christian worship, this may be the way that our well came to be associated with St Chad.”

More info:
There isn’t access to the well – you can just get a glimpse behind the well dressing – and there doesn’t appear much water in the well, all that can be seen is a little bit of water, some plants and moss (see photo above).   It still feels special, situated next to ancient woodlands and Chadkirk Chapel.

Chadkirk Chapel

Its believed that in the 7th Century Chad, who was Bishop of Lichfield from AD 669 to 672, founded a Monastic cell near to St Chad’s Well and that the present Chadkirk Chapel occupies the same site.

From the Info board at the chapel:

“Little is known of the chapel’s early history, but records show that there was a “chaplain of Chaddkyrrke” as early as 1347. For much of its medieval existence, it was a ‘chantry chapel’ where masses were said for the dead. At the Reformation the chapel was suppressed, it was disused and became derelict. In the late 17th century it was used by Puritan dissenters, but they were ejected in 1705. Following a further period of dereliction, the chapel was restored and partly rebuilt in 1747, thereafter being used by the Church of England. In 1865 a new church of Saint Chad was built a short distance to the north in Romiley. The old chapel was used only occasionally, and the church was once more falling into disrepair.

In 1971 the chapel was declared redundant and was sold to Bredbury and Romiley Urban District Council for community use. Following further restoration in 1973 and local government reorganisation it passed to Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council and over the years more restoration of the chapel has taken place.

Burials – Most of the recorded burials in the Chapel and the surrounding Chapel yard date from the 18th and 19th centuries, but there are probably many older burials that were not recorded. The most privileged position for burial was with the church and close to the altar; only the wealthier families could afford these favoured plots.”

More info:
The name Chadkirk means the ‘Church of Chad’ and might be the ‘Cedde’ mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086.
Chadkirk is situated in Romiley, near to Marple in Stockport, Cheshire. 

further info: friends of chadkirk blog

Lytham Arts Festival 2015 update

Enjoyed taking part in this year’s Lytham Arts Festival and meeting some interesting people… friends that popped by to say hello and see my display at Stringers Homelife, visitors interested in chatting to me about my work, watching the demos or having a go at making their own pair of shell bead earrings and it was also a great opportunity to get to know some of the other artists taking part in the festival.

On the last evening, I used the festival guide to help me visit all the shops taking part and see a variety of artwork displayed in their windows (due to it raining, I didn’t take any photos).

Roll on next year…
Sam Rowena x

Lytham Arts Festival

Saturday 4 – 11 July 2015

The Lytham Arts Festival brings art into the heart of Lytham and in 2015 over 70 artists will exhibit, perform and entertain from over thirty venues in the town (text from the Lytham Arts Festival website).

  • this years theme is ‘seaside’

I’m looking forward to being part of this year’s festival and have been partnered with Stringers Homelife, next door to Booths.

jewelart seaside theme jewellery

During the festival 4-11 July, I will have a small window display of selected seaside theme jewellery pieces and on the festival weekends, I will be there with a bigger display of my work, demonstrating and doing tasters.
Sam Rowena x

DEMOS & TASTERS

wirework demos: 11-1pm

Saturdays 4 and 11 July
watch me making pearl and shell brooches using twisting and wrapping techniques to create gorgeous unique brooch designs

Sunday 5 July
watch me making Celtic style pearl and shell earrings using a jig to create wire shapes, as well as other wire manipulation techniques to attach a pearl drop and earring hooks.

beaded tasters: 2-4pm (on the half-hour)

Saturday 4, Sunday 5 and Saturday 11 July
come along and have a go creating a pair of your own bespoke shell beaded earrings using tigertail thread and plated ear hooks. Its a really easy, fun activity, and your earrings will only take you 15-20 minutes to create. It’s free to take part and suitable for adults and children (from 6 years old with adult supervision).

For more info on Stringers Homelife
website: www.stringers-lytham.co.uk/Homelife
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/StringersLytham


Lytham makes a great day out, there is a great variety of independent shops, lovely coastal walks, and cafes.

For more info on Lytham Arts Festival
website: www.lythamartsfestival.org
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/LythamArtsFestival

Lytham Life and Style
website: www.lythamlifeandstyle.co.uk


Other things to do:
On Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July, the Gallery at Brockholes is having their launch weekend. Ideal if you are travelling over to Lytham and want to combine it with a visit there.

Gallery at Brockholes is run by the Art & Craft Guild of Lancashire, made up of a wide range of the finest local artists, designers, and makers. A great selection of ceramics, textiles, jewellery, glass, art, photography, furniture, and turned wood. There are 4 themed exhibitions each year featuring different guest artists from the area.

For more info on the Gallery at Brockholes
website: www.thegalleryshop.co.uk
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/guildgallery
Brockholes website: www.brockholes.org/gallery-brockholes

Platform Gallery Craft Open Exhibition 2015

The Platform Gallery Craft Annual Open Exhibition has a selection of textiles, pottery, wood, furniture, metalwork, glass, print-work, and jewellery from makers across the North-West.

A maximum of 3 pieces can be entered by each maker for the exhibition. All of the 3 pieces that I entered, were selected and they are currently on display there; a Venus copper and pale pink fused glass pendant on a copper chain, rose-coloured medieval 2 bead earrings, and copper flower earrings.

The Craft Open exhibition runs until 4th July

jewelart venus designs
venus copper flower earrings

Clitheroe is a great place to visit for a day out. It’s a pretty market town, with lovely shops, cafes, galleries, a castle, and museum.
Sam Rowena x

more info: www.ribblevalley.gov.uk/info/200303/platform_gallery

Poldark in Corsham, Wiltshire

Who knew that a medieval town in Wiltshire was doubling for an 18th century Cornish village in the new Poldark series. I certainly didn’t when I stumbled across Corsham. Recently, travelling through the Cotswolds to Avebury I noticed a sign for a ‘medieval town’ and decided to stop and take a look around… I was very glad that I did.

poldarkinpaperCorsham is quiet and pretty, gorgeous buildings, shops, a nice old church, a stately home, ruins, and most importantly a great bakery with delicious cakes and bread.

Whilst walking around, I discovered there was a ‘Poldark exhibition’ on at the Town Hall, a small display of photos from the filming of Poldark. Corsham had also featured in the newspaper, the ‘Daily Mail’ that day and there was a copy on display.

Poldark brings back happy memories for me from my childhood, as I enjoyed watching it way back in the 1970s, and it’s been great that we’ve now got a new Poldark series, with the gorgeous and dashing Aidan Turner playing Ross Poldark.

Sam Rowena x

more info
Visit Wiltshire Corsham Tourist Info

jewelart designs April 2015

After hibernating during the dark and cold Winter, Spring has helped to rekindle my creativity and I’ve enjoyed getting lost in time, making some gorgeous new jewellery pieces. I’ve tinkered with some of my designs and experimented using different colours, beads, and buttons.

I am chuffed to bits with these new pieces, it’s felt so good to get back to making and spending some time being creative. You can now find these beauties or similar pieces on my stall at events.

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

Lytham Hall part2

Lytham Hall – venue for the Spring Art Market 2015

It was super to take part in such a lovely art and craft event – an interesting historical venue, an amazing standard of selected North-West arts and crafts, a well organised and promoted event, and great to meet visitors interested in arts and crafts.

We were lucky, it was a sunny Saturday and the event started off buzzing with visitors, it then eased off, with a steady number of people looking around… which was pretty good, considering the time of year and that Lytham Hall is a bit off the beaten track. It was an enjoyable event to be part of; an opportunity to meet interesting artists and visitors and its always lovely when my jewellery gets compliments and some of it goes off to new homes. Sam Rowena x

Interview with Hopeful and Glorious:

“There are such amazingly talented artists and craftspeople in the North-West, and we’ve often been frustrated with events we’ve attended as makers and as visitors.

“All the Hopeful and Glorious fairs are selected. Artists apply, sending images of their work with their application. This helps ensure that there are good quality and range of work, without duplication of similar arts and crafts. It’s important for us to make it an interesting and enjoyable event for both the artists taking part and the people coming to visit the event.

“We are particularly keen to support artists and designer-makers from the North of England, not just via the fair, but also from the extra promotion on our website, social media, and press releases.

“The Spring Art Fair at Lytham Hall is followed by an event in May at the Museum of Lancashire, and there is a small program of further events planned at interesting Lancashire venues.”

Visit the Hopeful & Glorious website for more info

Hopefully, more people will come along and help support these events, take the opportunity to meet the makers and artists, help to publicise them, and maybe buy some local handmade arts and crafts. Samantha x

Further links:

venue Lytham Hall
photos: artist Andy Walmsley, artist Katie – Sketchbuck, textile artist Diana Morrison, screen printers and illustrators Bullie.

Lytham Hall part1

historical Lancashire venue for the Hopeful & Glorious Spring 2015 Art Market

I took these photos on my iPhone on a cold February day, as I had a flying visit to Lytham Hall after taking some jewellery pieces into the Drift Gallery in nearby St. Anne’s.

Lytham Hall is a hidden treasure, as I’ve been going to Lytham and St Anne’s for many years and never even knew of its existence… I will be there this April with a selection of my jewelart jewellery at the Spring Art Market.

The Spring Art Market is held on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 April and is open from 11-4pm in the West Wing area, next to the courtyard and above the cafe. There are free entry and limited car parking, or park nearby in Lytham and walk through the Hall grounds and parkland.
There will be over 25 stalls of glorious handmade arts and crafts. It’s a great opportunity to meet and chat with the artists / designer-makers about their work and perhaps buy something a bit different.

Watch a video from the Winter Art Market 2014 at Lytham Hall on the Hopeful & Glorious website

History info from Wikipedia (rewritten) 
Lytham Hall is an 18th Century Georgian Country House in Lytham, Lancashire, situated a mile from the centre of town in 78 acres of wooded parkland.

Its history goes back much further, as it was recorded as ‘Lidun’ in the doomsday book of 1086. Then, in the 12th Century, it was given to Benedictine monks of Durham Priory for the foundation of a monastic cell, Lytham Priory.
Following the dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s it passed through various hands, before being acquired by a local landowner and staunch catholic Cuthbert Clifton in 1606 who built a house on the land. His descendant, Thomas Clifton replaced the house with the current Hall, which was built 1757-1764 to the design of John Carr of York in the Palladian style. For the next 200 years, the Clifton estate at its largest comprised 8,000 acres.

During the stewardship of Colonel John Talbot Clifton, the railway was built along the estate’s southern boundary and housing built on part of the land, the Clifton estates building many of the fine houses along Clifton Drive in Lytham.

His colourful grandson John Talbot Clifton took over in 1882 at the age of 14. During the First World War, Lytham Hall was used as a military hospital and afterwards, the Clifton family moved to Ireland – and then onto Scotland, he was a passionate traveller and died on an expedition to Timbuktoo in 1928.  His wife Violet Beauclerk was the last person to live in the house.

Their son, Henry De Vere Clifton managed to squander the rest of the Clifton fortune and Lytham Hall and the remaining estate was sold off in the 1960s and the Hall was used for a while as office accommodation.

Lytham Hall is a grade 1 listed building, on the Heritage at Risk register and was purchased by Lytham Town Trust in 1997 with a donation from BAE systems and is currently leased to the Heritage Trust for the North West.

More info on Lytham Hall

Let me know if any of the Lytham Hall info is incorrect and I’ll amend it. Sam Rowena x

elfin alchemy bewitching beautiful jewellery