Sharing with you a bit of what goes into my jewellery photography…
Recently, I added to my unusual finds collection, whilst having a stall at a makers market which had been combined with a vintage collectables fair.
As soon as I saw the vintage cherub, I thought it would be really useful. I could use it as it was intended – as a plant pot holder – and also as a prop for my jewellery photography. It’s a lovely handmade cherub.
As a display for my jewellery, I like its variation of silver and pewter tones, but a downside of its shiny surface is that it causes reflections that I don’t particularly want in the photos. My windowsill has the best light for photography, I often experiment with different backgrounds, moving the props around and photographing from a variety of angles to see which gives the best results.
Wow, what an amazing transformation took place, cattle pens at the Auction Mart at Carlisle (June) and Skipton (August) were turned into wonderful mini-galleries. There was a great selection of beautiful art, ceramics, glass, wood, wirework, textiles and jewellery on show. An opportunity for visitors to meet the artists and designer-makers in their pens, chat with them about their work, and purchase pieces.
This year, the Art in the Pen at Skipton celebrated its 10th Anniversary. I’ve heard many good things about it, but getting selected for it hasn’t been easy. To apply you have to send your artist CV, artist statement, and some images of your work. Thankfully my persistence has paid off and it was 3rd time lucky, especially as they had over 450 applicants for those 160 spaces!
As a first time ‘penner’, sorting out how to display your work in a pen is a bit of a learning curve… normally I only have a 6ft table to display my work at events and I’m not used to having a blank canvas, quite a large empty pen to magically transform. So many things to take into consideration; how to cover the sides of the pen, how many tables to use, how to get some height into your display, the lighting, where to sit, plus how to fit it all in your car and carry it all to the pen.
The Carlisle Art in the Pen was a brilliant test-run and opportunity to see how the other artists had used their pen space.
At the Skipton Art in the Pen, it took me; 4 sheets to cover the sides of my pen, 3 tables used in an L shape, 2 new wall displays I’d created using material combined with old frames and I sat tucked away next to my making/leaflets/packing table.
my making / leaflets table at Art in the Pen
jewellery artist at Art in the Pen, Carlisle 2015
jewelart Art in the Pen 2015
It was really rewarding that my pen display got some great compliments from both visitors and stallholders alike, especially my wooden display table (it’s my work-table I use for doing wirework at my studio, I originally discovered it outside my local charity shop) and my new up-cycled frame displays.
My wirework jewellery and glasswork also got some great compliments and, even better, many pieces went off to new homes.
It was a brilliant experience to take part in the Art in the Pen events, I enjoyed meeting people that liked my designs and work, catching up with visiting friends and making new friends. I’m there at the new Craft in Pen event in November and fingers crossed will be back again at the Art in the Pen events next year.
Hopefully, even more, people will come along and help support these events, take the opportunity to meet the makers and artists, help to publicise them, and buy some local handmade arts and crafts.
Sam Rowena x
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
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.
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.
Chadkirk St Chad’s Well Dressing 2-14
St Chad’s Well Dressing info
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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).
jewelart display festival weekends at Stringers Homelife
Lovely Dee a happy customer wearing her starfish earrings
shell and pearl wire beaded brooches created at demos at Lytham Arts Festival
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.
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).
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.
Some glorious views of historic Ravello and its mountain landscape. A constantly changing picture with sunshine, rain, clouds, stars, occasional lightning, thunderstorms, and fireworks. Sam Rowena x
photos from May / June 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
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
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.
Corsham 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.
black cat watching me in medieval Corsham
Poldark exhibition in medieval Corsham
Poldark exhibition in Corsham
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.
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.
lilac flower earrings
one-off vintage button earrings
amethyst beaded copper squiggle necklace
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