History Hop… My Medieval muse, my Celtic roots.

Hop to it! (Just a wee pun for our hostess, Leah of Beady Eyed Bunny…)

The brief – select a period of History – which in and of itself was a HUGE challenge for me. I liked and was inspired by so many… and create a piece inspired by that time, those people, their materials, their style…The choices: 

I had to choose Middle Ages/Medievel. In my minds eye I was seeing enameled pieces from Sutton Hoo, golden torcs, spirals, amber, pearls…My Celtic heritage was not going to be passed over. But gold – not going to happen. 

Celtic inspirations

My Celtic heritage has been a great influence on my work since I studied abroad while in  college, living and traveling on the soil of my ancestors. I designed and created Celtic penannular brooches in my final semesters studying metals in college. I wanted this piece to be informed by and inspired by – yet be modern, and reflect my current tastes in mixing materials and making pieces with meaning and intention. 

The Celts wore amber. and quite a bit of gold. They enameled, and created intricate knotwork designs, both geometric and zoomorphic. Knotwork seemed too obvious. Amber… My parents had given me a tiny bag of sand and raw amber chunks they collected on the beaches of Skagen, Denmark. I became intrigued with the idea of encapsulating the amber, so it moved freely within an amulet. 

But thinking on Celtic art, I was also thinking of runes and ogham script. In my associations, runes are more Scandinavian while Ogham is more Irish/Welsh. I usually include text in my pieces – so ogham was a must. I perused books in my personal library – La Tene period, Hallstadt…

Ogham stone Ogham


The plan was to inset a plastic lens into faux bone thus creating a niche for the amber. I started that – last Wednesday. Not going to happen in the time I had remaining. Plan B – polymer. I have recently been reintroduced to polymer by the multi talented Christine Damm. I knew it would do exactly what I envisioned. 

polymer process pix

Top: working. Ivory polymer. 

Bottom: Ogham writing around pendant. Copper overlay to be sawed. Amber and lens in place. 

The pendant

Here is the finished pendant! Three chunks of amber for the Goddess of the Celts – in her three forms of maiden, mother, and wise crone. The Triquetra – a three lobed symbol, also representing trilogies – body, mind, spirit; earth, water, sky; youth, maturity, age…… The ogham translates as “Goddess guide me”. The back – a subtle pattern of knotwork and a central triskele motif. 

Back of pendant

I had intended to pair this with amber beads. I am not sure. I have taken pix with a few different gemstone combinations. What do you think? 

1. Amber 2. howlite and emeralds

1. Amber 2. Howlite & emeralds

3. aquamarine & emeralds 4. Labradorite, howlite emeralds

3. Green aquamarines & emeralds 4. Labradorite, howlite, emeralds…


Please tell me what you think… I am thrilled with how this turned out, and thank Leah for initiating this challenge. I think I have a few more pieces rolling around in my head still! Please check out my fellow participants and their historical inspirations. (I may be late to the hopping, everyone! Teaching all day today. Monday over coffee at the latest, but I will jump in my Time Machine and meet you there. ) 

Ahowin – Art Nouveau www.blog.ahowinjewelry.com
Alicia Marinache – Victorian http://www.allprettythings.ca/
Becca’s Place – Renaissance www.godsartistinresidence.blogspot.com
Beti Horvath – Ancient Egypt and Art Deco www.stringingfool.blogspot.com
Cherry Obsidia – Ancient Mecynae Greece www.cherryobsidia.blogspot.com
Cooky – Renaissance www.shepherdessbeads.com/Blog.html
Jennifer Davies-Reazor – Medieval www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Kathleen Douglas – Indus Valley www.washoekat.blogspot.com
Kashmira Patel – Etruscan www.sadafulee.blogspot.com
Lady Grey – Victorian www.beadsteaandsweets.blogspot.com
Laney Mead – Pre-Columbian www.laney-izzybeads.blogspot.co.uk
Leah Curtis – Ancient Roman www.beadyeyedbunny.blogspot.co.uk
LiliKrist – Persia www.lilikrist.com
Melissa – Mesopotamian www.design.kcjewelbox.com
Melissa Trudinger – Art Nouveau www.beadrecipes.wordpress.com
Micheladas Musings – Ancient Romans www.micheladasmusings.blogspot.com
Sandra Wollberg – Art Nouveau www.city-of-brass-stories.blogspot.com
Sharyl McMillian-Nelson – Art Deco www.sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com
Tracy Stillman – Victorian www.tracystillmandesigns.com