Category Archives: galleries & venues

musings about the elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition in October 2021

The Pendle Heritage centre is such a fantastic place to spend some time, and be enveloped in all its magic and mysteries… The ancient stone barn is set in a beautiful location, nestled next to Heritage centre, across the cobbles from it and the parkland in Barrowford, surrounded by picturesque Lancashire countryside in the borough of Pendle witch country.

I felt very lucky to finally be able to hold my elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition at the Pendle Heritage centre during the October half-term and Halloween in 2021. It’d been a longer wait than planned… as I’d originally booked it for October 2020, back in 2019, but due to Covid and lockdowns it was postponed to the following June. (you can read more about it in my last blog posts). 


Guest artists

It had been my wish to share the space at my elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition with guest artists, and be able to give them the opportunity to display their work and meet a different audience. But, I was glad I’d decided to wait and see how my first pop-up exhibition in June went, as it gave me the chance to figure out if I could fit an artist in the space downstairs. I knew there’d be room for at least 2 artists upstairs (as Covid was still around I limited it to just the 1 artist upstairs).

After organising some studio group events a few years ago, I was aware of the work involved, so to make it easier for myself I was just inviting guest artists I already knew. Covid made it more difficult, as some of the artists I asked, weren’t able to do events because they or close family members were in the ‘at-risk category’, thankfully 2 artists were able to join me for the Halloween weekend.

“My pop-up exhibition theme with it being held at the Pendle Heritage centre was alchemy and anything related to myths, magic, woodland creatures, nature and fairy tales.”


Potter Barbara from Barbara Lea Pottery was downstairs with her magical ceramic fairy mushroom houses and textile artist Josephine from Phinefibre was upstairs with her colourful abstract fibre jewellery, cards, art and drum sticks.

It was lovely to be joined by these talented makers in the barn, but I felt under added pressure, as I really wanted the weekend be worthwhile for them…

Phew, I felt so relieved that we were quite busy with visitors all weekend!

To fit in my guest artists, the downstairs room needed rearranging. Normally I was sat making next to my main display, blocking the stairs. I moved my small making / packing table away from my display next to the entrance, but this didn’t work out as well for me as I wasn’t sat next to my display and couldn’t  chat with visitors when they’re looking at my displays and able give them more info about my pieces.


The barn is what you’d call quirky, the downstairs room is kind of an awkward shape that doesn’t really lend itself for fitting in 6ft tables, although a table fits into the back of the room, I used this as an info and leaflet table, and moved them when my guest artist Barbara was in that space.

There needs to be a display table in the alcove next to the stairs, so people can see it when they are walking past the entrance and going into the Heritage centre. But, if you sit one side of the display table you’re blocking the stairs, and if you sit the other side of it, you’re blocking the way, with the room being at its narrowest there (it would originally have been 2 rooms). Next time I’m going to try moving my display table sideways and see if I can squeeze into the alcove with it and hopefully that’ll work better.

Apart from these niggles, it’s an amazing space with lovely energy, there’s big windows in the entrance section that let in lots of light, which is the other reason I was sat blocking the stairs, as it’s got the best light for making, allowing visitors to watch me working and chat with me about my creations.


Upstairs, is even lovelier, with a great view of the Heritage centre, cobbled courtyard area and parkland beyond and sense of space with its high ceiling.  

If all goes well, I hope to return for another elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition there in October 2022, with guest artists joining me at both weekends and short 20-minute recycled jewellery making tasters on the Monday-Wednesday of the half-term week.

In my next blog post, you can read about my fascinating flower design journey of discovery.

There is magic all around us…

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey, wishing you sparkles of light. Sam Rowena, elfin alchemy, Lancashire jewellery artist 

elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition October 2021

The Pendle Heritage Centre is such a magical place for my elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition, I’m so looking forward to being there this October half-term. Its the perfect venue to visit for a day out, especially if its raining, you can spend some time learning about local history and the Pendle witches in the museum, find something lovely in the gift shop, have a coffee or eat lunch in the cafe overlooking the walled garden, then come by and visit me in the barn:
Saturday 23rd to Sunday 31st October 2021, 11-4pm


Originally, I’d booked the barn in 2019 for the October half-term in 2020, but because of Covid it was postponed twice, thankfully it was able to go ahead in June 2021.

It was really lovely to be back doing an event after such a long time… sharing what I make with others really helped boost my self-confidence, and when some days were quieter I was happy to just be there in this beautiful place and sat making  jewellery.


Many of the visitors that popped in to take a look loved my creations, treated themselves or got presents for loved ones. Wow, some of my glass pendants were even heading to Australia!

I’ve shared a bit of my background story about my elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition at the Pendle Heritage Centre in my last blog post I wrote in the Spring.

Actually, there’s a number of reasons behind me being there…

It all began with me visiting the Pendle Heritage Centre in October 2019 with some extra jewellery pieces for my display in the gift shop in time for the Christmas shopping season and I saw that an artist was exhibiting his work in the barn. I thought I could do that, why don’t I do it and see how it goes? Whilst I was there, I mentioned that I’d be interested in doing it, and then ended up booking it for the following October…


Really what prompted me to go for it, was the lack of good art and craft events in Lancashire, they are like gold dust and then there’s the problem of being accepted for a stall, as there’s an over-abundance of jewellery and glass makers.

Although 2019 had been quite a good year for me, I’d been teaching back down in London, and at a few 1-1 bespoke workshops, plus I’d taken part in some good events over the Spring and Summer. Then in the Autumn, when my applications for a number of events hadn’t been successful, it knocked my self-confidence and belief in what I make. Lots of things were going on in my head, I wondered if I should continue on my creative journey when the path seemed so difficult.

“I decided not to ‘give up’ as I felt that sure that other opportunities would appear!”

I decided to try and see it as a positive, maybe this rejection of my work and not getting into these events was actually helping me move in the direction I was supposed to go.  It gave me the push that I needed, to go outside of my comfort zone. and it spurred me on to book my first pop-up exhibition at the Pendle Heritage Centre. It also pushed me to try other things too… as it was around this time that I first heard about Barrica in the Park and emailed them about getting involved. 

My other reason behind me wanting to do my elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition is related to my health.

Doing events on my own is quite physically demanding and as I get older, I don’t have the same amount of energy that I used to have. The early start, the drive, moving boxes, setting up and taking down the display and the long day, means I’m totally shattered afterwards… and that’s only a small part of the work, there’s all the preparation that goes into it beforehand. 

“In my head I believe I’m still young, but my body tells me otherwise”

I do enjoy the buzz of doing events, meeting and chatting with people about my makes, getting feedback on new work, finding customers that love and want to wear my creations, as well as the social side of getting the opportunity to catch up with other makers. But I’m having to be realistic and going forward, needing to be more selective of the events I choose to do and not do as many.

The beauty of my pop-up exhibitions, is that I only need to set up my displays once and then they’re up for the duration of my exhibition.  Although it initially involves a lot of extra preparation creating new displays, once they’re made, they can be used again at my next pop-up exhibitions.

Another positive is having the exhibition space to create displays so that I can share the story behind some of my makes, you can learn about how my daisy flower design is linked to witchcraft and how my fascination with the ancient spiral design led me on an amazing journey.



“What’s best is I can make the most of being in a beautiful barn, where I’m able to sit making and chatting to visitors about my work and its inspiration, any sales are an added bonus!”   

Knowing how difficult it is to find good events, I also want to give a couple of local artists and makers that I’ve met at events (whose work is also related to witches, fairies, woodland creatures or spirituality), the opportunity to join me as a guest artist for 2 days at my pop-up exhibition. Sadly due to the ongoing Corona virus situation, a few of the artists and makers I invited, said they would have loved to be guest artists, but were unable to join me this time due to them – or close family – being in the ‘at risk group’, and are hoping to be able to come next year. 

I’m really happy to share that over the Halloween weekend – 30th and 31st October 2021 – I’m being joined by 2 local artists. Upstairs in the barn is a textile artist Phinefibre who creates magical felt work and downstairs with me is a ceramic artist Barbara Lee Pottery who creates the most enchanting fairy houses. 

For more info about the venue, visit the Pendle Heritage Centre website

“I hope you’ll get chance to come and visit my elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition in the barn at the Pendle Heritage Centre!”

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey, wishing you sparkles of light. Sam Rowena, elfin alchemy, Lancashire jewellery artist 

high ups and low downs of 2020 – PENDLE HERITAGE CENTRE

One of my goals for 2020 was to display and sell my work in some new venues… 

The Pendle Heritage Centre in Barrowford isn’t exactly a new venue for me, as I already sell my elfin alchemy jewellery in the small gallery shop there. But when I called in with some new work in October 2019 I noticed there was an artist exhibiting his work in their neighbouring barn and thought it would be ideal for my pop-up exhibition. 

“I was so excited about doing my first elfin alchemy pop-up exhibition at the Pendle Heritage Centre.”

pendle heritage centre
the beautiful Pendle Heritage Centre

The barn exhibition space was already booked up for Winter 2019 and during the warmer summer months the whole barn space is usually booked up at weekends for weddings and events, so I booked it a year ahead for October 2020… Little realising then what was to come in 2020.

Initially, it looked like it might be possible to go ahead as after our first lockdown in Spring / early Summer 2020, the museum, gallery and cafe reopened in August. Unfortunately by October coronavirus cases were quite high and on the rise in the neighbouring areas and Lancashire went back into a quasi-lockdown around the time of my exhibition.

I moved my pop-up exhibition to Easter 2021… and as I write this blog in March 2021 we are still in lockdown here, but have been given dates for gradually easing out of it over the coming months, although not by Easter.

So I’m hoping it’ll be 3rd time lucky for my Summer exhibition! 

The new dates for my pop-up exhibition:
Friday 4th to Sunday 13th June 2021

the barn gallery space at Pendle Heritage Centre
The barn gallery space in the courtyard

I can’t wait to showcase and display my work in such beautifully atmospheric surroundings.

In my pop-up exhibition I will be sharing some of the inspiration behind my makes, how my interest in the magic of our ancient ancestors inspires some of my work, from the 6-petal flower shapes, hearts, spirals, scrolls, Celtic designs to the colours I use. 

“My designs, especially my glass work really come alive and sparkle when you can see them in real life!”

The Pendle Heritage Centre barn exhibition space is next door to its museum, small gallery shop and cafe. It’s situated in the courtyard space at the entrance to Barrowford Memorial Park and adjacent to parking with beautiful countryside and many short walks on its doorstep. Plus it’s only 5 minutes drive from the M65. 

It’ll make a perfect day out for you…

beautiful countryside near the Pendle Heritage Centre
one of my favourite walks nearby the Pendle Heritage Centre

As we move into the beauty of Spring, I’m busy experimenting, designing and creating magical jewellery pieces, which I look forward to sharing with you during 2021… wishing you sparkles of light!

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

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 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
Red Thumb Print makes contemporary furniture, wine racks, and home accessories. Furniture with personality, handmade with love in Lancashire!
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.

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:
Platform Gallery info
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