anglo saxon theme jewellery making workshops

Staffordshire Hoard jewellery workshops

Anglo-Saxon themed jewellery making workshops at Royal Armouries Museum Leeds, inspired by their new Staffordshire Hoard Exhibition

1-day workshops:
on Saturday 30 July and repeated Saturday 6 August

anglo saxon inspired double spiralsanglosaxonthemeworkshop16b

Learn how to create spirals charms with wire and use to make a number of jewellery pieces (we will be using various types of copper wire with plated metal earhooks, jump rings, chain and cord). We begin with easier designs and progress during the day as your skills develop.


the workshop includes

  • learn how to make spirals with different types and thicknesses of copper wire (basic tight spirals, loose spirals and double spirals) and how to open and close ‘jump rings’
  • practise your skills during the day, making some spiral earrings / a pendant,  followed by a spiral charm bracelet
  • plus use some of your spiral charms or spiral pendant, with beads and cord to make a necklace or bracelet
  • covers how to hold / use your hand tools, how to correct common errors and other tips
  • inspiration from designs in the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition and the types of beads used by the Anglo Saxons
  • 2 handouts to take home with you

double spiral design anglo saxon seahorseThese jewellery making workshops are inspired by the spiral decoration on some of the pieces in the Staffordshire Hoard, specifically the ‘seahorse’ and ‘silver gilt pommel’, which are decorated with ‘double spiral’ designs.

My photo of the replica model of the decorative filigree mount from a sword hilt, in the shape of a horse / sea horse at the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition at Stoke Museum – more info

the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition:

A few years ago, completely by chance (I was picking up my kiln stand) my visit to Stoke coincided with the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition that had recently been discovered and it was newly displayed at the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Stoke. I was so lucky that I had the opportunity to spend some time there admiring these amazing artefacts.

“The Staffordshire Hoard is the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold ever found.”

Info about the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition from:


“A national touring exhibition featuring treasures from the Staffordshire Hoard collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver has been announced. The exhibition will visit The Royal Armouries, Leeds from May 2016, followed by Bristol Museum and Art Gallery from October 2016.

Warrior Treasures: Saxon Gold from the Staffordshire Hoard will see around one hundred items from the collection on display. It is the first time UK visitors will have the opportunity to view such a large number of items from the collection outside the West Midlands where it was discovered. Some of the objects have never been on show before.

The Staffordshire Hoard - warrior treasure exhibition at Leeds Armouries Museum May- September 2016
The Staffordshire Hoard – warrior treasure exhibition at Leeds Armouries Museum May- September 2016 (photo copyright Birmingham and Stoke Museums)

The exhibition focuses on fittings from weapons which make up the majority of the collection. These fittings were stripped from swords and seaxes (single-edged fighting knives), and probably represent the equipment of defeated armies from unknown battles during the first half of the 7th century AD. The fittings are decorated with gold, silver and semiprecious gems, and represent the finest quality Anglo-Saxon craftsmanship.”

about the Royal Armouries Museum:

The Royal Armouries in Leeds is a multi-million-pound purpose-built museum that opened to the public on 30th March 1996. 
The museum is home to the national collection of arms and armour, and displays over 8,500 objects throughout its six themed galleries: War, Tournament, Oriental, Self-Defence, Hunting, and Peace.
The Royal Armouries Museum is located at Leeds Dock, which is only a short distance from the centre of Leeds, West Yorkshire – more info

my journey:

I’ve always been interested in history, especially ancient civilizations and their artwork.  The spiral design is a popular form of decoration. Many examples of Anglo Saxons using spiral and scroll-work patterns have been discovered, carved into stones, wood, ivory and used to adorn and decorate their books, jewellery, utensils and weapons.

I’m really excited to be combining my interest in Anglo Saxon surface pattern decoration with teaching jewellery making. This draws on my art and design background, my experience of teaching jewellery making classes for the past 11 years and my previous teaching of Anglo-Saxon theme jewellery making workshops for the Lindisfarne Gospels exhibition in Durham and the rural Landscapes project for the Forest of Bowland. What’s even better, students will have an opportunity to visit the Staffordshire Hoard exhibition (before or after the workshops) and also spend the day being creative and making jewellery inspired by pieces in the exhibition.

Sam Rowena, jewellery artist x