Category Archives: galleries & venues

high ups and low downs of 2020 – eden tearoom and galleries

One of my goals for 2020 was to display and sell my work in some new venues… and happily, it’s happening!

Eden Tearoom and Galleries is a lovely new gallery that opened not far from me in Newburgh at the beginning of July.

“I was over the moon to have some of my elfin alchemy pieces selected to take part in their opening exhibition!”

Each year the gallery is running different themed exhibitions, this first exhibition that runs from 11 July until Saturday 10 October 2020 is; ‘Beyond the Window, an exploration of nature after lockdown’.

Eden Tearoom and Galleries in Newburgh

Some info about the exhibition from the Eden Tearoom & Galleries website: “Beyond The Window: An Exploration of Nature After Lockdown is an exhibition which collectively explores how we view and interpret the natural world around us, from the gardens in Nancy Collantine’s Secret Garden Series to the awe-inspiring vastness of outer space in Claire Lake’s Nebula Series, this exhibition explores how artists respond to and record the changing world around us.

While we have been confined to our homes during quarantine, the natural world outside has blossomed. This exhibition explores the ever-changing beauty of nature, each artist questioning the world around us and our place in it in their own unique way. Ranging from dramatic landscape painting and delicate glasswork to the intricate textile instillation of Vanessa Lam, Beyond The Window offers a snapshot of our engagement and connection with nature.”

Visit their website www.edentearoom.com to see some images of the artists taking part and learn more about the tearoom, gallery, exhibitions, and events coming up over the next few months.

“Am so happy that my new elfin alchemy abstract glass pendants – that magically play with the luminosity of light – have gone down so well in the exhibition, getting many compliments and heading off to new homes. Its given me such a welcome boost that I’ve really needed at the moment.”

elfin alchemy bewitching beautiful shades of blue glass pendant
elfin alchemy ‘zing sparkles’ abstract glass pendant

Eden Tearooms and Galleries are also running an artisan market on the first Saturday of the month and you can find me there – my events info – with my elfin alchemy pop-up stall. Due to the Coronavirus nearly all my events this year have been cancelled, so I’m really looking forward to taking part in them and being at in person markets again. 

“If you can do come visit and support a local event and gallery exhibitions, its such a great opportunity to treat yourself or loved ones to something handmade by local artists, creatives and artisans.”

Hopefully, in a little while, it will all turn out great! 

I will be sharing more about these 2020 highs and lows in 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

jewelart pop-up events

Do you ever feel that barriers are put in your way to help you change what you are doing?

Whether it’s our guides or destiny, saying “no you have to stop going down the path you’re on, as its now time for a different path and a change of direction.”

I definitely am feeling this… it hardly ever snows in Lancashire, but during both my recent jewelart pop-up shops at the Platform Gallery we’ve had both snow and ice.  Ok, I did have a premonition that it might snow when I booked it early last year for a week in December, but then for it to snow again during my recent March event, that was just so ‘Deja-Vue’?!

Lancashire snowscene
March snow-scene the week before my pop-up

All the work that goes into organising and doing these pop-up events, laid to waste by the weather…

Just to give you an idea of some of the work involved:

  • Created leaflets and posters and took them to the gallery before Christmas (so that they could display them and help advertise my pop-up event), filled in the booking forms and paid the gallery hire fee
  • Added the event to my website events list
  • Displayed and gave out my pop-up shop leaflets at other events
  • Promoted it in my newsletter
  • Sent photos/info to the Gallery for them to help publicise the pop-up on their website, newsletter and social media
  • Another journey to Clitheroe the week before the event to put up posters in a few places around Clitheroe and check out the exact gallery space set-up
  • Promoted the event on my social media
  • Brought with me my display board for outside the gallery
  • The gallery hire didn’t include extra time to set-up and takedown, after setting up the pop-up display, I was open to the public from midday on Friday and all day Saturday. I’d hired Monday morning to take it down, so this involved 3 journeys to Clitheroe and paying for parking each day

I know March isn’t the best time of year to organise a pop-up shop and I wouldn’t normally have done it then, except that during my December pop-up shop I discovered that from April the Mix Gallery hire fee was doubling (tripling on Saturdays). This meant that it wouldn’t be viable for future pop-up events and hiring the whole of the Mix Gallery space and I wanted to do it for one last time!

jewelart vintage crystal decorations
vintage chandelier crystal light-catcher decorations at my December jewelart pop-up shop

Alongside my jewelart pop-up shop display, there’s enough room for an extra table so that I can sit making and visitors can watch me creating abstract wirework and chat with me about my designs.

“It’s a shame, as it’s a lovely small gallery space for pop-up events, especially as there are now so few alternative places to do them in Lancashire.”

Clitheroe is such a great place to visit for a day out, as well as the Platform gallery, there are its castle ruins and museum, quirky shops, cafes and galleries, and its beautiful countryside setting.

How it began:
After taking part in some of the Platform Gallery’s pop-up Christmas meet the maker events, I hired the gallery space for a group event with my neighbouring studios, but it didn’t work as there wasn’t enough space for 5 lots of displays and for all of us to be sat with our work.

For the past few years, I’ve usually hired the gallery space twice a year. It’s still been hit and miss… sometimes there were only a few people venturing inside for tourist info and they haven’t ventured further down into the gallery, or the weather was too nice for people to want to spend their time indoors and then other times, such as my recent pop-ups the bad weather put people off venturing out to Clitheroe.

my first solo jewelart pop-up shop in 2015
jewelart pop-up shop leaflets 2015

 

“When things just aren’t working anymore, it makes you reflect on why not.”

I feel happy that I’ve had these experiences and pop-ups at the gallery and I’ve enjoyed doing them and meeting/chatting with visitors over the years, but taking into account all the work involved with organising them, I’m ready for an easier path…

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey,
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 with so many 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 through 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.  They were great learning experiences for me, sadly, there won’t be any more of our events at this venue, due to a big hike in the room hire costs.

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

jewelart popup 2016
jewelart pop-up 2016

Will see what 2017 brings… I’m hoping that the events I take part in will go well and there’ll be some more of my jewelart pop-up shops.

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey,
Sam Rowena 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…

“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 try 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 try including 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…”

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

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

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.

Christmas cards

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 demonstration, 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.

David from RedThumbPrint furniture and I 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

Watch me making unique Christmas decorations with vintage chandelier crystals, recycled beads and wire.

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

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!

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 Saturday – a mix of rain, snow, sleet, and hail – thankfully it improved and we had some sunshine on 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 with some amazing displays… So, with this in mind, I’ve been revamping and de-cluttering my display, as I wanted to make room for some new glass designs.

It’s 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.

I 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.

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

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

more info: 
Lytham Hall, Lytham, Lancashire
Hopeful and Glorious, art and craft fairs in 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/writer john Ruskin is a real treat of an event and I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of its Annual Winter Craft Fair for a number of years.

Its a stunning location set on the side of Lake Coniston and a lovely venue with super arts and crafts, but its a pretty long journey from Lancashire, heading off really early in the morning before the event starts and coming back home at the end of the weekend along small country lanes in the dark, so just in case it’s my last time for a while, I brought my camera along to capture some of its beauty.

A few photos of its stunning setting on the Lake and its ever-changing gorgeous Lakeland views as well as a photo of one of the wirework button brooches I created during the event whilst sitting at my stall.

Luckily, my artist friend, Sally Anne has moved up to the Lakes and invited me to stay,  it was a big help and great to be able to have a good catch up, plus interesting chats with her mum about fairies, fairytale books, and the artists.

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

Art in the Pen, Thirsk 2016

 

Jewelart in one of the cattle pens at the first Art in the Pen at Thirsk, Yorkshire, where over 100 cattle pens were transformed into amazing pop-up mini-galleries.

Thirsk Art in the Pen

Some of the ‘pens’ are stunning, gorgeous arts and crafts displayed beautifully. Many ingenious ways of displaying work are used in each space, making each one a unique pop-up gallery.

Thankfully, a friend’s partner came over to look after my pen and I had an opportunity to take a wander around – say hello to people I knew – and enjoy looking at the other pens and see how some of the other artists and designer-makers had displayed their work.

Some of the pens looked so professionally displayed, plus the work was of such high caliber, that I couldn’t help feeling a bit of ‘stall envy’. It’s only my 2nd year of taking part in the Art in the Pen and I think my pen display has improved. I’ve upgraded from white bedsheets covering the inside of the pen to a thicker woolen material which drapes better, although next time I’ll buy something specifically for it – in one colour – that’s long enough to cover it all. Overall, my display could also do with some tinkering, maybe it needs a bit extra sparkle…

more info about the Art in the Pen – www.artinthepen.org.uk

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

why I do events

Why bother doing art and craft events? What motivates us – the artists and makers – to do them? 

I think its much more interesting to purchase something handmade and be able to chat with the maker, instead of purchasing something mass-produced from the high street or on the internet. At events, you get to see my work displayed, chat with me about particular pieces that you like, and find out more about them. It makes it a much more personal purchase.

“I enjoy chatting to people about what I do and taking part in art and craft events.”

Winter Arts Market, St Georges Hall
Winter Arts Market at St Georges Hall, Liverpool

Although the main motivation for taking part in events, is for the opportunity to promote, display, and sell my work, there are other reasons too…

Like most designer-makers, my work is quite insular, so an event is a great opportunity to meet and chat with people, both customers, and other artists/crafters. Over the years, it’s been lovely that a number of friendships have blossomed out of chatting with my neighbouring stallholders at events. If I get a chance, I also enjoy taking a quick look around the art and craft stalls, to see who’s there are and say hello.  I love seeing how everyone displays their work, the innovative and creative ways of using their limited space.

One of the things I don’t do is ‘sell’. I don’t like pushy salespeople and think there is nothing worse than people being hassled to buy something when they are just having a day out and enjoying looking around an art and craft fair.  So, my work has to sell itself and I just help it out.

“Its really a great confidence booster, when people like my work and compliment it, and even better when they like it enough to purchase it!”

beaded wirework brooch
one of my beaded brooches made at my Easter event

I prefer to be busy at an event, so if an event has quiet spells, I’ll do some making, either my abstract beaded wire brooches (as they are easy to ‘pick up and put down’) or wirework shapes. I’m happy then as I get in my own creative zone and time flies. Plus it has other advantages too, as visitors are usually intrigued with what I’m making, and its a good way of starting conversations.

At some events, I only have a 6ft table and my making tends to be more hidden from view, but at other events, such as the ‘Art in the Pen’, ‘Handmade in Lancashire and at my jewelart pop-up events I have a bigger area and my making becomes part of the display.

jewelart at art in the pen
my making/leaflets table at Art in the Pen

Occasionally I take part in charity fundraisers, so my being there is also helping out a good cause.

A highlight for me is that I get to visit and enjoy the atmosphere of some amazing venues. These range from gorgeous gardens to interesting buildings rich in histories, such as St Georges Hall in Liverpool and Lytham Hall in Lancashire. There is a lovely buzz about these places when they are filled with amazing arts and crafts and the hubbub of people chatting, admiring the stalls, and making purchases.

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey, come along and visit me at one my events,
Sam Rowena, jewellery artist x

taking part in art and craft events

After all the preparation work is done and you’ve been successful and got a stall at some art and craft events you’ve applied for, then the real work begins… It’s not just about ‘the making’, there’s sorting out your stall display, designing and getting business cards/leaflets printed, buying your packaging etc.

On the day of the event, once you’ve arrived and found where your stall is, there’s the unloading and moving everything, before setting up your stall display.

St Georges Hall Winter Arts Market
at the Winter Arts Market St Georges Hall, Liverpool

“Ideally, if I’ve got time before the event opens to the public, I like to take a quick look around the venue and see who’s there and say hello to the other stallholders that I know, but sometimes it has to wait until quiet spells later on in the day.”

Art and Craft events are very ‘hit and miss’. There are many factors outside of your control…

  • The weather
    Outdoor events are often a wash-out if its bad weather, raining and windy, not to mention the potential to damage your art and craft. But equally, in the summertime, if its lovely weather, people don’t want to be indoors visiting an event.
  • Footfall
    If its a new event in a venue that doesn’t have a good footfall, it can often take a while for it to get established and attract visitors.
  • Too many similar types of stalls
    Some events aren’t selective, they just want to fill the stalls. It’s better for an event to have a good variety of different work, to attract visitors to the event.
    “This happens all the time to me – with jewellery – and although its usually all different work, there are only so many people that are going to buy jewellery at an event.” 
  • Hobby-makers and bought-in work
    This makes it really difficult for the artists and designer-makers who are trying to make a living from their art/craft as you can’t compete price-wise with the hobby-makers or work that’s been mass-produced in other countries.
    “I now mostly try to take part in art/craft events where there’s been a selection process involved.”
  • Stall location
    If your stall is in a corner or your neighbouring stall has a card spinner or clothes rail in the space between the stalls, your stall can easily get blocked by people looking at their stall.
    “This is really frustrating and has happened to me at events many times. I usually give it a few minutes grace, and then if my stall is still being blocked I go out and ask them to move so that I can get to my stall display and tidy it up.”
  • The time of year
    The run-up to Christmas is the best time of year, as many visitors are buying Christmas presents. At other times of the year, it depends on whether visitors have a reason to buy ie. birthday presents or see something they like and either want to treat themselves or are with someone else that wants to treat them.

Liverpool One Arts Market
rainy and windy day at the Liverpool One Arts Market

When an event doesn’t work out, it’s hard not to take it personally and think that people don’t like what you make.

Figure out why your work hasn’t sold at that particular event and if it’s one or more of the above factors, or if there might be things you can improve upon, ie. your display, range of pricing, negativity etc. You can use each event as a marketing opportunity to see what does sell, what are visitors interested in, what comments and feedback you get and use it to give out your leaflets and business cards. A visitor who is interested in your work, might not be ready to buy at this event, but might come to another event later on and buy from you then.

Its all part of the learning curve, you have to try out different events to find the ones that are right for your work.

If it’s not busy, it’s nice to get to know the artists, designer-makers and craftspeople on your neighbouring stalls, see what they make, chat about events, marketing etc and help each other out if you need to leave your stalls.

“Over the years, I’ve tried out many different types of events and some just don’t work for me… these include family fun days, school fairs and vintage (with a bit of handmade) events, so I leave these events for others to do.

“I hope this information is both interesting and helpful for other artists, designer-makers and craftspeople doing events and visitors to the events.”

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