Tag Archives: jewelart

new designs 2018

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

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

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

Am really grateful, especially after my recent ups and downs, which I’ve written about in some of my blog posts, if you’ve read my last blog – a downside of working with glass – you’ll understand why I’m appreciating it all the more.

When you have ideas and designs in your head, then sketch them and explore how to create them, it becomes like a journey you travel along before you’re able to make the finished design. Its frustrating at times, but also really satisfying.

It’s like watching a flower grow and blossom!

A year ago, I created my first pieces of ‘ash fused glass’ to help me with my grieving. This year I’ve worked further on it, my Ash Fused Glass, in the hope of being able to help others keep a little bit of their loved ones with them too.  For more info visit my new website – www.ashfusedglass.co.uk

ash fused glass pendant
midnight blue sparkly ash fused glass with a heart

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

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

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

Wishing you sparkles of light, 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

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

My glass fusing journey – glue

To create some of my jewelart abstract glass pendants, I use glue to attach a bail onto the glass and I have to admit that gluing is one of my least favourite tasks, here are some of my adventures learning how best to use it.

You would think that gluing a bail onto a glass cabochon would be a piece of cake. But there is more to it than you think, for a start, you can’t just use any old glue…

Glass has got a smooth and cold surface and not all types of glue create a good bond, such as the hot glue guns. Superglue would glue a metal bail onto glass no problem, but then if you drop the glass it is more likely to shatter than using epoxy glue.

Epoxy adhesive creates a good bond and if the glass pendant is dropped, it takes the impact of the fall – rather than the glass, when superglue is used – but this weakens the glue’s bond. Another problem with epoxy glues is that in very hot weather the glue can melt.

Before you begin to glue, you first have to roughen/sand the part of the glass and bail to be glued, followed by cleaning them with acetone and then you are ready to glue.

jewelart glass cabochan
glass cabochon

My glass journey using glue

For my first pendants in 2010 I used a glue from B&Q that I’d been recommended, but I had mixed results with it. After spending some time researching glass glues on the internet, I moved over to E6000, which is the standard epoxy glue used by many glass artists as its easy to use, it comes premixed in a tube and isn’t expensive.
I bought my first extra large tube of E6000 from America on ebay and it seemed to work fine, but my next tube that I got from ebay (England) I had problems with, so I went back to using the first tube and began having mixed results with this one too. I wondered as I’d been using it for a few years, whether over time the glue had lost its strength. Next, I purchased a small tube from an English bead company, but again I was getting mixed results and was sometimes having to reglue the pendants to make them secure, a lot of hastle.

I needed to find a better solution for my glass gluing and looked further into the other options available. One of the companies I buy my glass from recommends using the 3M epoxy glue, its quite expensive (costs 10x more than E6000), you have to mix it yourself, plus you need to wear a proper face mask.

I moved over to this glue at the beginning of 2016 and ‘touch wood’ it seems to be working, as I’ve been wearing a pendant I made and glued in February and the bail is secure.

well it should do too, as they say on their website that it will glue a car to the side of the wall!

jewelart glass pendants

I wear my own glass pendants, plus some of my family and friends wear them too and I want everyone that has purchased a glass pendant to enjoy wearing them.

If you’ve purchased a jewelart glass pendant (with a bail design) and the glue has failed / the bail has come off your pendant, please contact me and send me the glass cabochan & bail or give them to me at an event:

  • purchased in the past 12 months – I am happy to reglue the bail on it for you and post it back to you free of charge
  • purchased over 12 months – I am happy to reglue it for you free of charge, but there will be a small charge of £2 p&p
  • if you want me to apply a new bail to your jewelart glass cabochon, I can do this for an extra £3 charge

My Glass Fusing Journey 5

Glass is entrancing and enticing… The lure of the beauty of glass, with its amazing colours, depth and sparkle.

I’m honoured that when people see my glass jewellery displayed at events, it gets such a great reaction, its admired and complimented.

jewelart abstract glass pendant
A jewelart glass pendant design, Spring 2016

At these events, I chat about my glasswork to visitors and I’m also often asked if I teach glass fusing.

These are a few of the reasons why I’m not teaching glass fusing:

  • There are so many people already teaching glass fusing, just in about a 30 mile radius of Preston, I know of more than 10 people teaching glass fusing (see paragraph below).
  • The health and safety aspect of it also puts me off in this day and age. I’m scared of me cutting and handling glass, nevermind students who would be in my care.
  • Most people usually want to do classes at weekends and I already don’t have enough weekends to go round with doing events and teaching my jewellery making classes.

So, here are just a few of the people I know in the local area / Lancashire that teach glass fusing classes:

  1. Collette Halstead  – www.colettehalstead.co.uk
    Once or twice, when I was teaching jewellery making classes at Alston Hall Adult College I popped in to to see Colette’s glass class there and was very impressed. Although Alston Hall college closed Christmas 2015, I think Colette still might be teaching classes at her studio near Preston.
  2. Julie Langan – julie langan facebook page
    I met Julie when I used to teach my bebeady jewellery making classes at Cedar Farm (I’ve bought a few of her glass pieces) and know a lot of people that have enjoyed doing her glass fusing workshops and created large scale glass pieces at her studio/gallery at Cedar Farm, Mawdesley.
  3. Lynda Drummond – glass boutique facebook page
    I’ve met Lynda at local events, she’s lovely. She makes cards and fused glass and teaches glass fusing workshops in Lytham St Annes.
  4. Karen Redmayne – www.redcurrantglass.co.uk
    I’ve met Karen over the years doing events and she teaches glass classes at her studio in Barrowford.
one of my Julie Langan Glass pieces
one of my Julie Langan Glass pieces

There are also many others teaching glass fusing classes in St Annes, Burnley, Blackpool, Wigan etc. Plus some of the adult education colleges might still teach glass fusing classes, such as Lancaster Adult Education college.

If you are interested in learning and having ‘a go’ at glass fusing I would recommend going on a few classes with different teachers, as each teacher will teach it differently. Some teach using float glass and others with coloured and dichroic glass, which will be a good opportunity to learn and have a go using different types of glass and see how your experiments turn out. Plus you’ll learn how to cut glass and get to know about the different materials, tools and machinery.

glass experiment
one of my glass experiments using float glass at the Lancaster Adult college class

If you do give it a go, I hope you will enjoy your learning and experimenting with glass.

Samantha, jewellery artist x

My Glass Fusing Journey 4

Glass is entrancing and enticing… The lure of the beauty of glass, with its amazing colours, depth and sparkle.

I’m continually learning / experimenting and developing my skills on my amazing glass fusing journey, but I wouldn’t have got where I am without some help from others… it was my friend Sue I have to thank for getting me started on this path in the first place and I was helped by Christine and other members of the Southport Ceramic Artists group where I began fusing glass. Also some of the other Lancashire glass artists I know, have helped me with kiln advice, plus when I bought my second hand kiln I was given some helpful kiln notes from its previous owner. My second hand kiln was still under its 3 year guarantee and Kiln Care who make these kilns, have been a great help (even sending me a new digital controller, when it developed problems on the cusp of the guarantee ending).

The journey has not been without some glitches though… before I got my kiln I was getting quite dispondent with many of my wirework glass and other experiments not working out and still now many of my experiments can be ‘hit and miss’.

jewelartexperiment
glass and wire experiment – problems with uneven edges

I’m really careful when I’m handling glass, especially cutting glass. To help me to combat my fear of cutting large pieces of glass and also to help develop my skills and knowledge further, I attended the Summer term glass fusing course 2 years ago at Lancaster college.

It really did help me. I had to cut very large pieces of glass and break them with my hands!

The course also gave me the opportunity to have ‘a go’ with other techniques, tools and machinery I’d not used before, such as a circle cutter (I decided this wasn’t for me as I don’t have enough strength in my hands and my circles turned into moons), a grinder and etching paste. We also used a different type of glass, float glass otherwise known as ‘windowpane glass’, which is much cheaper than the type of glass I normally work with.

jewelartexperimentglass
my moon shape circle piece made at the glass fusing class

Typically, I prefer the most expensive type of glass!
As I love anything that sparkles, I use dichroic glass (combined mostly with coloured glass) in my glass work, which is ultra expensive, but very sparkly too.

Samantha, jewellery artist x

My Glass Fusing Journey 3

Glass is entrancing and enticing… The lure of the beauty of glass, with its amazing colours, depth and sparkle.

Since I began my glass fusing journey back in Spring 2010, I’ve been developing my own unique designs by experimenting and seeing what turns out and then if I’m happy with what I’ve created I turn it into glass jewellery.

Part of my design process is to make pieces of glass that I would like to wear, so in essence I’m being my own muse and creating jewellery that is to my own taste. As I’m experimenting and developing my own unique glass designs, I’m also creating something that’s a bit different.

jewelartvenusglass13a
my test piece and first venus glass design, that’s part of my own jewellery collection

“I love the vibrant colour, luminescence and sparkle that can be achieved working with glass and my aim is to create unique jewellery pieces that are beautiful, individual and comfortable to wear.”

some of my own glass jewellery pieces
my newest piece of jewelart abstract glass in my own jewellery collection, its been getting lots of compliments when I wear it!

The beauty of it is that as I continue on my glass fusing journey, my skills, knowledge and design range grows and evolves…

come with me on my journey,
Samantha, jewellery artist

My Glass Fusing Journey 2

Glass is entrancing and enticing… The lure of the beauty of glass, with its amazing colours, depth and sparkle.

In the Spring of 2012 I was in a bit of a rut with my glass making, after getting disheartened that many of my experiments over the past 2 years – trying to combine wire with glass – were not working out.

Sometimes the wire had reacted with the glass and it turned bright red with a fuzzy halo around it (not great!) or the wire hangers which were supposed to be outside the glass got submerged inside it. The wire was sandwiched in the middle of the assembled glass pieces, so it mean’t it wasn’t very secure and often moved during its journey to Christine’s kiln (the organiser of the ceramic artist’s group), plus it had uneven kiln firing problems. Anyhow, this ALL resulted in a very low success rate.

If I was to continue with my glass fusing I decided I would have to get my own kiln.

Initially I looked into getting a general multi-purpose digital kiln, one that could be used for everything, including ceramic painting and glass fusing, although the cost of the kilns new were around £800 (or more), nearly-new second-hand ones seemed to come up quite often on ebay for around £350-500.

hobby artist general kiln
example of a top loading multi-use kiln

This hobby kiln is for sale (June 2016) at : www.hobbyceramicraft.co.uk

“I’m glad I waited and did some further research on the different types of digital kilns”

My kiln research included, chatting to other glass artists I knew about their kilns and visiting a local lamp-work glass artist to see the 3 kilns she had. This was a great help, as one of her kilns was specifically for glass fusing and was flatter, than the deeper style multi-function kilns and I could see it would be a lot easier to load up and use. She also recommended the English kiln manufacturer Kilncare for their kilns and after-care service.  Following this, I spoke to glass artist Julie Langan at Cedar Farm – whilst I was there teaching a bebeady jewellery making class – and she also spoke highly of the kilns by Kilncare that she used.

The problem was that the cheapest Kilncare kiln was well over £1,000 and my budget was to spend a maximum of £750 on a new kiln, or less if I could find a  good second hand one on ebay…

I’d begun researching and watching the ‘digital glass kilns’ that came up on ebay and had decided that if I hadn’t found one by Christmas, I’d get myself a new kiln, the Skutt Firebox glass kiln which was priced around my budget.

Over the months that followed only a few glass kilns came up on ebay and most weren’t that much cheaper than buying a brand new one or were located at the other end of the Country.

I lost out on a Stutt kiln that I was bidding on, as it went at the last minute to the ‘buy it now’ price.

Better was to come though later that year. I couldn’t believe it when my dream kilncare kiln came up on ebay – it was the first time I’d seen one in my year of looking – during my lunch break in the cafe at Barton Grange Garden Centre whilst I was there stewarding an Art and Craft Guild of Lancashire exhibition. With my heart in my mouth, I pressed the ‘buy it now’ for way more than my kiln budget and spent the rest of the afternoon at the exhibition, wondering if I had done the right thing!

A week later, after arranging to pick up and pay for the kiln, I headed on a 2 hour drive down to Stoke for it.  The lady selling her kiln was giving up glass fusing and it came with glass, cutters, some molds and many other bits and pieces. It wouldn’t all fit in my small car, so I had another journey back down to Stoke the following week for the stand and the rest of the things.

Wow, I was over the moon, I’d finally got my dream kiln!

glass fusing kiln
glass fusing

I was quite scared to use it at first… but it came with programmed settings and a log book, so I put a few pieces in, started writing notes and my experimenting began.

Samantha, jewellery artist

 

My Glass Fusing Journey 1

Glass is entrancing and enticing… The lure of the beauty of glass, with its amazing colours, depth and sparkle.

I’ve long been attracted to the lustre and beauty of glass and crystal beads, learning about and collecting them to use in my jewellery making. From vintage hand-cut crystal beads, machine cut swarovski crystal beads, pressed glass bohemian glass beads and Japanese seed beads, to gorgeous handmade lampwork and Murano glass beads.

“When I first came across Dichroic fused glass jewellery at a craft fair in the late 1990’s I was amazed by its beautiful sparkle and vibrant colours.”

At the time, there didn’t seem to be any opportunities to learn how to do it (glass fusing) in Lancashire, plus I was engrossed with learning about beads and developing my jewellery making skills. I think it was around 10 years ago when people started teaching the glass fusing classes here. They were so expensive and the cost of it put me off, but I still hankered to have ‘a go’ and luckily in 2010 a friend told me about a kiln/ceramic art group in Southport and I went along with her.

and that’s when my foray into the world of glass fusing began…

The group initially had weekly morning ceramic painting meetings in a church community room with additional day-long seminars every month or so.  The group organiser, Christine fired the ceramic paintings in her kiln each meeting. As glass is fused in a kiln, it was also something they covered in the group and I was able to gain the basics of glass fusing and have the opportunity to learn by experimenting and seeing how being fused in the kiln transformed my pieces of assembled glass. (I also enjoyed the ceramic painting I did at the meetings and seminars, I’ll write more about that in a later blog post).

jewelart early glass experiments
2 glass pieces before and after being in the kiln

This is an early ‘before’ and ‘after’ glass experiment with wire, these were 2 of the ones that turned out OK!

My glass fusing pieces were very ‘hit and miss’, firstly they were mostly new experiments, they also had to survive being moved by car and then loaded into a kiln, and finally the ceramic kilns are big top-loader kilns with varying ‘hot and cold’ spots and unfortunately it resulted in mixed success.

I knew that if I wanted to take my glass fusing further I really needed to get my own kiln.

more to follow…
Samantha, jewellery artist