Category Archives: lovely Lancashire

places and inspiration in Lancashire

Anglo-Saxon inspired – my story 3

I really didn’t have an inkling 9 years ago when I chose to learn more about our Anglo-Saxon heritage and teach these Anglo-Saxon theme jewellery making workshops for the Landscapes Project quite where it would lead or the incredible journey I would have…

Is it our destiny that pulls us in these directions, moves us by chance onto these different paths?

Destiny, fate, chance whatever you want to call it, seems to play a major part in my life, as so much of what I do seems to happen by accident. When I retrained as a teacher 16 years ago, I thought I would just teach basic design and photo-editing. I had no idea that two years later I would begin to specialise in teaching jewellery making and teach it at a number of colleges, groups, galleries and organise/run my own classes for over 10 years.

Learning about the Anglo-Saxons and teaching my jewellery making workshops for the Landscapes Project for the Forest of Bowland AONB really helped enrich my knowledge and broaden my horizons. It was the start of something amazing that linked my teaching with my design skills, jewellery making and my interest in our ancient ancestors.

My Anglo-Saxon adventure continues – 3
So after teaching the workshops at the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition in Durham, it was followed in 2016 by being asked to teach some workshops as part of the Warrior Treasures, Saxon Gold / Staffordshire Hoard exhibition at the Leeds Royal Armouries museum. They’d also discovered me online via the Landscapes Project (sadly its not online anymore).

These workshops were longer, for a day instead of 2 hours and   inspired by some of the Anglo-Saxon designs in the exhibition – that were decorated with double spirals – I  developed some further wirework jewellery designs.

anglo-saxon jewellery making pieces created by students
double spiral design inspired by pieces in the Staffordshire Hoard created at the workshop

I’ve already written a few blog posts about this particular journey, my teaching and Staffordshire Hoard exhibition visits:

What happened next was very wow! I couldn’t believe it when last Summer I was contacted by the British Library, which resulted in me travelling down to London in October 2018 and January 2019 and teaching my Anglo-Saxon jewellery making 1-day masterclasses as part of their iconic Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition.

“If there is ever a good example of the benefits of writing a blog, I think this is it… as I asked how they found me and it was from doing a google search and my blog posts and websites were there!”

It was super exciting, but I also put in a fair bit of time in preparing myself for it; learning more about the Anglo-Saxons, developing further designs for the masterclasses and ordering/organising materials etc. It was also way outside of my comfort zone… once I’m actually teaching I’m ok, as I feel happy when I’m demonstrating or helping students, but talking / presenting I find much more difficult and my brain often turns to jelly with my words coming out jumbled up or not at all.  Thankfully both masterclasses went really well and I was very proud of myself for facing my fears.

What a wonderful opportunity it was and so totally unexpected. Plus I got to visit the fascinating exhibition for a quick look before I went around with the workshop participants pointing out pieces of particular interest and inspiration for the masterclass workshop designs.

Well, there is a little bit more to my Anglo-Saxon journey, that involves my own jewellery designs and my new business name, which I will share in my next blog post, come with me on my adventures…

Read my other blog posts:

Wishing you sparkles and hugs, Sam Rowena x

Anglo-Saxon inspired – my story 2

It was a great experience teaching the Anglo-Saxon jewellery making workshops for the AONB Forest of Bowland Landscapes Project – and although I didn’t know it yet – the wheels had now been set in motion!

At these workshops, the project co-ordinator was there, alongside a photographer Gaye Woolard taking photographs of me teaching, the students making and our finished jewellery makes. Some of these photos, together with student feedback and info on the workshops were then featured on the Landscapes Project website. This really was pivotal and helped open the door for the amazing things to come…

anglo-saxon jewellery making workshop at the Landscapes Project Forest of Bowland AONB
teaching my first Anglo-Saxon jewellery making workshop at the Landscapes Project in 2010

My Anglo-Saxon adventure continues
2 years later and again totally unexpected, the workshop organiser for the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition at Durham Cathedral contacted me and asked if I was interested teaching some workshops they were running alongside the exhibition. As you can imagine, I was both surprised and ‘over the moon’ about it, and asked them how they found me?

“A google internet search of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ workshops had led them to the Landscapes Project and me!”

It was really exciting and a great opportunity for me to develop my knowledge of the Anglo-Saxons further, I even discovered I had a British Library book about St Cuthbert and the Lindisfarne Gospels amongst my small collection of books, which felt just like ‘kismet’.  It was great that the world of the Lindisfarne Gospels would be brought to life, as I was able to combine my teaching with a visit to see the beautiful Durham Cathedral and the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition in person.

Lindisfarne Gospels book by the British Library
learning about the Lindisfarne Gospels prior to my Anglo-Saxon jewellery making workshops

Similar to the Landscapes Project workshops it was open to everyone. On my jewellery making courses, I’ve mainly taught women – from teens to adults – and it was really rewarding to have these opportunities to teach mixed groups; women, men and children. I was delighted that the children managed much better than I expected and were often able to pick up the skills quicker than adults. Perhaps because children are learning new things all the time and will just give it a go without worrying about it, whereas some adults have a fear that they aren’t creative or won’t be able to do it.

Afterwards, on my journey back to Lancashire, I spent a few days visiting other Anglo-Saxon churches near Newcastle, Hexham Abbey, the Long Meg stone circle and Mayburgh Henge near Penrith. Its a beautiful area with so much of sacred and ancient historical interest, one day I hope to return and spend more time exploring this fascinating area.

I’m still amazed when I look back on this journey, it continues in my next blog post, come with me on my adventures and read my story about teaching Anglo-Saxon jewellery making workshops.

Read my other blog posts about this journey:

Wishing you sparkles and hugs, Sam Rowena x

Anglo-Saxon inspired – my story 1

Wow! Life is definitely pretty strange, you just never know where things will lead… this time last year I didn’t have an inkling that I’d be teaching jewellery making masterclasses at the British Library in London as part of their iconic Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition.

“I still can’t believe it, its like something that happens in dreams, not in real life!”

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition at the British Library
Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition

Here is my story of how it began
Back in 2010, I had no idea where it would lead me when out of the blue I was contacted and asked if I was interested in teaching some jewellery making workshops as part of the Forest of Bowland AONB Landscapes Project. The brief I was given was to link the workshops to the local landscape and its history.

I think it had been expected that I’d probably choose the Romans, as we’ve got a lot of Roman history in Lancashire, including a Roman museum on the site of the Roman fort of Bremetenacum Veteranorum in Ribchester in the Ribble Valley. But whilst doing some research on the Forest of Bowland’s history, I came across the Anglo-Saxons. To be honest I didn’t really know much about them and delving further, they really intrigued me. Anyway, something seemed to be pushing me to choose them instead of the Romans?!

What an great opportunity for me learn about the Anglo-Saxons. Although they are part of our history, I wasn’t taught anything about them at school and since then, I hadn’t heard a lot about them.

This kindled the fire of my knowledge and creativity! 

Once I began, I really enjoyed discovering the Anglo-Saxons and spent hours online researching and reading about them; where they came from, why they came, how they lived and most importantly for me was seeing examples of their artwork.

Alongside coming across their wonderfully strange interlaced designs with animals and birds (zoomorphic design), I noticed that they also used lots of spirals in their decoration of manuscripts, stone work, weaponry and especially in their early jewellery design. At the time, the most exciting of all were the stone crosses I found at a churchyard in the Forest of Bowland and no less they were decorated with spirals. This was great, it was the direct link I needed for the spiral jewellery designs I would teach on the workshop.

Anglo-Saxon stone cross in the Forest of Bowland AONB
Anglo-Saxon stone cross in the Ribble Valley

“I have been fascinated by spirals for many years, especially how they have found their way into the artwork of many ancient civilizations across the world.”

In my own jewellery making I love working with wire, especially copper wire with all its magical healing properties and by 2010 I was already teaching a range of different wirework skills including spirals on some of my further wire skills jewellery making classes in adult education at Lancashire College and on my own bebeady classes that I ran at Cedar Farm and other venues across Lancashire.

I adapted my spiral designs for these Anglo-Saxon jewellery making workshops, so that they would be suitable for both beginners and for families, adults and children. All of this took up quite a lot of time and if you were looking at it from a purely business point of view it wasn’t something worth doing, but it became more about my own development and doing something I really enjoyed.

After teaching these jewellery making workshops for the Forest of Bowland AONB Landscapes Project, I was busy and didn’t think any more about them, I had no idea where it would take me in the future… to be continued in my next blog posts, come with me on my creative journey and read my story about teaching Anglo-Saxon jewellery making workshops…  

wishing you sparkles, 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…

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

northern star exhibition photos

The Northern Star exhibition runs until the 9 January 2016 at the Platform Gallery, Clitheroe, Lancashire.

I took these photos during the 3 days I spent there with my jewelart pop-up ‘wired designs’ exhibition in the education gallery space at the far end of the gallery.

The visitors to the gallery that I chatted to, were very impressed and loved the exhibition. A great showcase of handmade craft!

See more info on the exhibition in my last post, Samantha x

For more info visit the Platform Gallery website

northern star exhibition

It runs from the 17 October 2015 to the 9 January 2016 at the Platform Gallery in Clitheroe, Lancashire. I’m chuffed to bits that a small selection of my jewelart Venus copper wire-work jewellery designs are included in it and on display in the gallery.

This Northern Star exhibition at the Gallery connects visitors with contemporary makers and their crafts from Lancashire and throughout the UK. Work on display includes; ceramics, jewellery, wood, paper, stone, craft, textiles, glass, metal, print and plastic.

northern star exhibition 2015
snazzy textiles at the Northern Star exhibition at the Platform Gallery in Clitheroe

Although I’m not a hat person – I don’t suit hats – I do love these quirky hats in the exhibition. Come along and visit it, to see these and lots of other interesting crafts.

Venus copper wire-work collection wire shaped in spirals, squiggles, flowers, celtic inspired and wrapped designs. Copper wire is combined with abstract fused glass, gemstones, freshwater pearls, swarovski crystals and vintage buttons to create unique wearable jewellery.

jewelart venus designs
venus glass pendant

I will be at the gallery with a larger selection of my work at my pop-up exhibition on Thursday 22 to Saturday 24 October. Come along meet the maker – chat to me about my work, watch me making and have an opportunity to buy direct.

See some more examples of my venus copper wirework collection in my earlier post. Love to hear what you think of my new designs, please leave me a comment, either here or on facebook. Samantha x

Lytham Arts Festival 2015 update

Enjoyed taking part in this year’s Lytham Arts Festival and meeting some interesting people… friends that popped by to say hello and see my display at Stringers Homelife, visitors interested in chatting to me about my work, watching the demos or having a go at making their own pair of shell bead earrings and it was also a great opportunity to get to know some of the other artists taking part in the festival.

On the last evening, I used the festival guide to help me visit all the shops taking part and see a variety of artwork displayed in their windows (due to it raining, I didn’t take any photos).

Roll on next year…
Samantha x

Lytham Arts Festival

Saturday 4 – 11 July 2015

jewelart celtic style pearl earrings
seaside theme

The Lytham Arts Festival brings art into the heart of Lytham and in 2015 over 70 artists will exhibit, perform and entertain from over thirty venues in the town (text from the Lytham Arts Festival website).

  • this years theme is ‘seaside’

I’m looking forward to being part of this years festival and have been partnered with Stringers Homelife, next door to Booths.

jewelart seaside theme jewellery

During the festival 4-11 July, I will have a small window display of selected seaside theme jewellery pieces and on the festival weekends I will be there with a bigger display of my work, demonstrating and doing tasters.

jewelart demos and tasters

DEMOS & TASTERS

wirework demos: 11-1pm

Saturdays 4 and 11 July
watch me making pearl and shell brooches using twisting and wrapping techniques to create gorgeous unique brooch designs

Sunday 5 July
watch me making celtic style pearl and shell earrings using a jig to create wire shapes, as well as other wire manipulation techniques to attach a pearl drop and earring hooks.

beaded tasters: 2-4pm (on the half hour)

Saturday 4, Sunday 5 and Saturday 11 July
come along and have a go creating a pair of your own bespoke shell beaded earrings using tigertail thread and plated ear hooks. Its a really easy, fun activity and your earrings will only take you 15-20 minutes to create. Its a free to take part and suitable for adults and children (from 6 years old with adult supervision).

For more info on Stringers Homelife
website: www.stringers-lytham.co.uk/Homelife
facebook page: www.facebook.com/StringersLytham


 

beaded cord bracelet
beaded cord bracelet workshop

As part of the Festival I’m also doing a jewellery making workshop at Crafty4Art in Lytham

WORKSHOP

jewellery making workshop: 2-4pm
(limited spaces / booking required via Liz at Crafty4Art)

Thursday 9 July
make your own bespoke beaded cord bracelet with shell beads and button fastener.

For more info on Crafty4Art
website: www.crafty4art.co.uk
facebook page: www.facebook.com/crafty4art


 

Lytham makes a great day out, there is a great variety of independent shops, lovely coastal walks and cafes.

For more info on Lytham Arts Festival
website: www.lythamartsfestival.org
facebook page: www.facebook.com/LythamArtsFestival

Lytham Life and Style
website: www.lythamlifeandstyle.co.uk

jewelart shell earrings
jewelart ‘seaside theme’ shell earrings, in the background is a ceramic piece from Gallery at Brockholes

 

Other things to do:
On Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 July, the Gallery at Brockholes are having their launch weekend. Ideal if you are travelling over to Lytham and want to combine it with a visit there.

Gallery at Brockholes is run by the Art & Craft Guild of Lancashire, made up of a wide range of the finest local artists, designers and makers. A great selection of ceramics, textiles, jewellery, glass, art, photography, furniture and turned wood. There are 4 themed exhibitions each year featuring different guest artists from the area.

For more info on the Gallery at Brockholes
website: www.thegalleryshop.co.uk
facebook page: www.facebook.com/guildgallery
brockholes website: www.brockholes.org/gallery-brockholes