Tag Archives: jewellery artist class

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

Teaching 2018

I didn’t expected to be teaching much this year, I really thought that might be it, when I stopped organising and teaching my bebeady jewellery making classes last Spring.

So I’m pretty amazed by it all!

Firstly I was quite surprised to be teaching quite a few bespoke 1-1 and small group workshops at my studio this Spring / Autumn.

bespoke workshop
a personalised day workshop for a mother and daughter

Secondly and the icing on the cake, was being contacted early this Summer and asked to teach a jewellery making masterclass for the British Library in London, linked to their Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition.  What an honour, although I did feel quite daunted by it, having mainly taught smaller groups the past few years, plus all the extra organisation involved with it. Will share some more about it in my next blog post….  

“I have really enjoyed my teaching this year, I love to share my creativity with others and help nurture their jewellery making.”

It has meant though, that I’ve not been able to devote quite as much time to developing my ‘ash fused glass’ and other new glass and wirework designs as I’d have liked. I’ve just had to be satisfied with making slower progress. More news about them coming up in some of my next blog posts…. 

Bespoke jewellery making 1-1 and small group workshops
There’s more info about them on my bebeady website. I teach them from mid-February to mid-April and mid-September to mid-November at my rural studio-workshop in Lancashire. You can see some photos of what was made in my 2018 workshops on my Jewellery artist Instagram.

Come with me on my creative journey…
wishing you sparkles of light, Sam Rowena x

jewellery making classes Autumn 2016

Some of the jewellery created by my students on my last jewellery making classes of 2016. There’s always such a great creative vibe at the classes with everyone choosing their own beads and later on in the class, choosing designs to work on. Everyone on the class makes something different, unique and personalised.
See more photos on the bebeady website / facebook page.

Everyone managed really well and created some super jewellery. Samantha, jewellery artist x

jewellery classes Autumn15

There was a great creative vibe at the weekend on my Autumn jewellery making classes and students enjoyed their day spent making bead-strung necklaces and bracelets using leather and cord.  Most students brought along some of their own beads to use in their designs, alongside beads and cord available at the class.

bebeady jewellery making leather and cord class
Gillian’s cord and leather necklaces from Autumn 2015 classes

The jewellery making bead stringing with leather and cord has been a popular topic and was chosen by my students as the topic for my Autumn classes (some of the students had been interested in it when I taught it earlier in the year, but couldn’t make it to the April class date).

All my classes include a number of variation design options, which helps my students to personalise the jewellery they make.

“Had great day today Samantha… My sister loved, loved, loved the red and silver necklace I made in class for her. She thinks it really looks professional. Well it’s all in the tuition . Thanks and best wishes,” Norma

bebeady autumn class 2015
Norma’s red and silver cord necklace

“Thanks, Samantha, for another fantastic day at the leather/cord jewellery class yesterday. I agree with Norma, the tuition and relaxed way in which the classes are run make them enjoyable and easy to follow. Thanks again and I look forward to attending more classes in the Spring.” Andrea

Beadstringing is quite therapeutic and its a bit easier than my other wirework classes, so ideal for both beginners or students wanting to add to their existing skills and learn how to work with a variety of cords, leather and suede.  My first foray into knotting and beadstringing began when I taught myself how to make friendship bracelets in the early 1980s and my skills and range of designs have developed further over the past 10 years (or so) of teaching classes.

In order to be able to teach at my studio-workshop I first have to spend a few hours tidying up my studio and putting all my work away, then turn it into a class room; setting up the tables, chairs, work-lights, mats. Check what refreshments I need to buy and bring on the day. There’s also all the class topic items to bring, such as materials, examples and handouts. After the class is over I have to tidy all my teaching stuff away and turn it from a classroom back to a studio-workshop… by which time I’m shattered! Anyone that teaches knows the amount of preparation that goes into teaching. Last year, was my first year in my studio and I was doing monthly classes, but I’ve cut it back now to just one weekend in the Spring, Summer and Autumn.

See more student photos on my BebeadyClasses facebook page.

creative wirework class

There was a great creative vibe at my embellished hair accessories and beaded flower wirework class at the weekend.
After teaching basic bead embellished designs, we progressed onto using buttons, flower beads, diamonte and then beaded flower designs in the afternoon. Everyone made something different – lovely and unique – experimenting more  with their beads and buttons as their skills progressed during the day.

A super creative wirework class!
April-October 2015 group and bespoke classes at my Lancashire studio, and a new classes website from summer 2015… more classes info