Category Archives: new designs

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

new designs 2018

Its trial and error when you are creating something new, as your work doesn’t progress in a straight line, it seems more like watching a ‘ping-pong ball in action’…

Over the past year, I’ve been doing lots of experimenting and exploring many new ideas. It all takes time and it’s often hard to give it all the development time it needs.

Now I feel my patience is slowly being rewarded, as my new glass and wire designs are beginning to come together.

Am really grateful, especially after my recent ups and downs, which I’ve written about in some of my blog posts, if you’ve read my last blog – a downside of working with glass – you’ll understand why I’m appreciating it all the more. When you have ideas and designs in your head, then sketch them and explore how to create them, it becomes like a journey you travel along before you’re able to make the finished design. It’s frustrating at times, but also really satisfying.

It’s like watching a flower grow and blossom!

I’m well underway with creating my new range of ultra sparkly glass pendants, see an example in the main header photo and more photos of these jewel-like beauties on Instagram – www.instagram.com/jewelleryartist

Some of my designs evolve further over time, as I adapt and change them with fresh ideas or create them in different colourways, with different beads or other variations. I’ve been doing this with many of my glass and wirework designs over the past year and will be posting about these ‘new’ updated designs in my coming posts. Come with me on my creative journey…

For the moment I’m just feeling happy with all the progress over the past year.

Wishing you sparkles of light!

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

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

jewelart Venus copper jewellery

copper wirework jewellery with beads, buttons and fused glass

My Venus collection is inspired by my love of ancient civilizations, their myths, folklore and art. The enigma that surrounds their beautiful artwork – discovered carved on stones, depicted on jewellery and other items – and what it symbolises.

I enjoy working with copper wire and feel an affinity to it. It’s the metal linked to my star sign of Taurus and its planet Venus. The elemental alchemy symbol for copper is also the planet symbol for Venus.

venus celtic gem earrings
jewelart venus Celtic 3 design

The name for ‘copper’ stems from the Greek name for the Island of Cyprus,  ‘Kupros’ which was famous in ancient times for its copper resources and also for the goddess ‘Aphrodite’, who the Romans later renamed ‘Venus’.

venus statue
the goddess Aphrodite / Venus

Copper is one of the oldest metals in use today and copper artefacts have been found dating back to 8700 BC. It’s long been revered and used for its healing qualities. Copper has naturally a high electrical and thermal conductivity (and is still used today for electrical cables, amongst many other things).

“I’ve always been drawn to doodle squiggles, spirals, flowers and other shapes…  and this lead in turn to me to creating them with copper wire to make jewellery. My Venus jewellery designs have developed over the years – mostly through trial and error -experimenting with different materials until I’m happy with what I’ve created, and they evolve further over time.” Samantha

jewelart venus designs
venus copper flower earrings

A selection of my Venus copper wire-work collection will be for sale at my forthcoming events.
Love to hear what you think of my new designs. Sam Rowena x

jewelart photography

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.

A photograph of one of my new smaller sized glass pendants that are on a vintage style filigree bail on a snake chain necklace.

Some of the photos turned out either too dark or light. Photographing glass isn’t easy, because of its shiny surface you get many reflections and variations in colour.

Am sure my jewellery photography skills will improve in time,
Sam Rowena x

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

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

creative wirework class

There was a great creative vibe at my embellished hair accessories and beaded flower wirework class at the weekend.
After teaching basic bead-embellished designs, we progressed onto using buttons, flower beads, diamonte, and then beaded flower designs in the afternoon. Everyone made something different – lovely and unique – experimenting more with their beads and buttons as their skills progressed during the day.

A super creative wirework class!
April-October 2015 group and bespoke classes at my Lancashire studio, and a new classes website from summer 2015… more classes info

Sam Rowena x