Category Archives: news

alternatives

Instead of doing what I would normally do, for the past year, I’ve been trying out ‘alternatives’ from alternative therapies and healing to finding different solutions for what I do in my work and experimenting with alternative design ideas. I’m trying to approach everything with an open mind and to just see what happens…

Teaching
At the end of 2016, I decided I wasn’t enjoying the work involved with organising my classes and after 13 years of teaching jewellery making classes, I thought these Spring 2017 classes would be my last ones. But, I’m still teaching, slightly differently now though, as I’ve begun teaching bespoke 1-1 and small group taster workshops.

Other Work
Last Summer whilst at an artisan market, I had an interesting conversation about work with my neighbouring stallholder, she and another of the artists I knew were both working part-time as assistants/helpers for older clients through an agency. I needed some extra regular income and thought this could be a potential alternative part-time job. Since then I’ve been working a few hours to one day per week as a personal assistant.

Events
To make it easier for my bad back and problems carrying things with my left hand, I’ve altered my display to make it easier to set up and carry using a trolley. I’m trying to limit my driving by doing events within a 45-minute drive time. Also instead of doing as many events in 2018, as an alternative, I’m devoting more time to my online sales and working on my webshop and other alternatives.

Ash Fused Glass
Out of the ashes of sadness, a new direction is born – an alternative – I’m sure my dad would be proud to be part of it too. My hope is to be able to help others that want to have a beautiful keepsake or piece of jewellery made with some of their loved ones or pets ashes.

Alternative therapies and healing
During 2017 I began going to a range of different sound healing meditations and workshops, these are amazing, but I found that I need to give myself a day or two afterwards to just chill out and relax. Sometimes I’ve felt like I’m in an altered state, my head is buzzing and I see more rainbow sparkles than usual.
I’ve also been going to Eden Energy workshops and other classes to try and help heal myself using an alternative way.

Interesting conversations
Are you also looking for alternatives to the normal path? I’ve been amazed this past year, how many others I’ve met that are also interested in similar things and alternative ways.

Going Forward
If it’s not working and the path seems blocked by many obstacles, my route is to find a creative way around it, an alternative path… I do believe in silver linings!

Let there be sparkles of light along your journey xx 
Sam Rowena

adversity 2017

Sometimes our path seems to be strewn with all sorts of problems to overcome, 2017 was especially tough going with many things to overcome…

The passing of a loved one and illness, although difficult has helped me put everything else in perspective and made me realise that it will pass and with time I’ll get through it and better times will return.

Grief, when you lose someone close, is something you have to go through, it takes time to heal and you have to keep reminding yourself that they wouldn’t want you to be sad. It’s important to know that they remain with you in your memories and their spirit helps watch over you.

2017 also brought with it health problems. I’ve had back problems on and off for many years, but in January it ‘went’… I couldn’t even walk with the pain and it worsened in February. It gradually improved with careful treatment; regular stretches alongside visits to the osteopath, but remained ‘fragile’ most of the year and had an impact on my work.

Sitting or standing for long stretches of time made my back worse, which is hard not to do, I either sit or stand when making, at my stall, on the computer and driving. I found driving especially bad and it influenced the events I could travel to. I became more careful when carrying anything heavy and rearranged my stall display to make it easier so that I wasn’t leaning over as much. Even teaching, I’d normally lean over to help students and there’s not usually space for a chair to sit down instead.

It wasn’t only back problems plaguing me, after carrying anything with my left hand my knuckles would swell up and become painful. Then towards the end of the year, I came down with the worst cold I’ve experienced (bad enough to visit a dr to check it out) and even now months later my cough keeps on resurfacing… argh!

So glad its now 2018 and the light of Spring brings renewed hope for better times ahead. Hugs Sam Rowena x

self belief

At times over the past few years my self-belief in my chosen path – of being an artisan designer-maker – has wavered when health problems, difficult times and adversity seem to litter the way, but hope, belief and a love of being creative helps to keep me strong.

Luckily, I do believe that if our journey is too easy, we don’t always appreciate the good times when everything just seems to click into place and works out how we want it to.

Good times are all the sweeter when you’ve had to work hard to achieve your goals and overcome obstacles along the way!

This year has just been a bit of a bummer though and I think its now time for my silver linings…

more in my next post xx Sam Rowena

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 its 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 its 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 the things its combined it; 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 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, then developing my webshop and suffering with a bad back – so its been lovely to get back to my glass work and experiment making some more heart pendants with my new dichroic glass. 

There’s now the opportunity for you to purchase one of my unique fused glass pendants at the jewelart by Sam Rowena webshop or why not 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.

Sam Rowena 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 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 Spring 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 jewelley 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.

jewelart by Sam Rowena webshop
model Janette Cheng wearing a jewelart squiggle necklace

name / webshop
2017 also brings with it a new name and webshop: www.samrowena.co.uk
Jewelart by Sam Rowena Taylor.
I feel a deep connection to all the jewellery that I design and make – it brings together my love of colour, symbolic shapes and a bit of sparkle. Over the coming months there’s more work to do on my webshop, but I’m really happy with how its progressing.

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…

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

Yours 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 to lots of 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 though 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. I didn’t make any money from organising them, but they were great learning experiences for me. Sadly, there won’t be any more of our events at this venue, due to the increase in the room hire.

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

jewelart popup 2016
jewelart pop-up 2016

For the moment I just want to concentrate on developing my web shop and will see what 2017 brings… I’m hoping though that the events I take part in will go well and there’ll be some more of my jewelart pop-up shops.

Samantha, jewellery artist 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…

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