The Robert Plant Guardian Bird of Relics

And so to the final one of the six birds! It’s Robert Plant, our wonderful living rock legend!

I thought it would be nice to have someone who is still alive as inspiration for a guardian bird. I chose Mr. Plant because of his connections with Glastonbury and the Abbey itself. In 2014 for the first time after many years of worshipping him as front man of Led Zeppelin I got to see him play live at Glastonbury Abbey with his new band the ‘Sensational Space Shifters’. I went with my partner and our two youngest (teenagers) . It was a fantastic concert, I love the mix of old and new songs, blending world music musicians and sounds  into the old Led Zepp rock songs such as ‘Whole Lotta Love’

But his most iconic song that seemed to fit the ‘religious theme’ was of course the much played and over played Stairway to Heaven. Coming from a family of rock music lovers, I found my younger teenage years progressed into punk (or was that regressed?) and then back to rock. (I won’t tell you about my crush on David Essex when I was 10, luckily Sting came along at just the right time to save me from embarrassment with my friends! Shh! Did I really just tell you that?)

The Four Symbols or Led Zeppelin 1V as it’s more commonly known (the album with the song Stairway to Heaven) was played frequently in my house and various tracks were played in the pub where I would spend my evenings after college. But the first time I really sat down and listened to the whole album was when I was 18.  It was a night after the pub with a friend of a friend who offered to put me up on his sofa to save me from a very long walk home in the dark. I had a tendency to listen to music but not the words in those days, so as we listened he handed me a bit of paper which had the words to the song written down. That piece of paper was a magical script , it was as if each word was made of gold and silver, I had treasure in my pocket and  I could also sing along!

The Robert Plant Guardian bird (cement structure, stained glass, hand gilded metal leaf glass, shell rounds, glass beads, hand painted eyes, wire)

The feather on the heart of the bird is Robert Plant’s symbol on the Four Symbols album. Each member of the band had a symbol, the feather was designed by Mr. Plant being based on the feather of Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of justice and fairness that came from the mythical lost Continent of Mu.


Stairway to Heaven song relic snow globe

I made the stairway with marble cubes and gilded them in gold and metal leaf.

Here’s the bird in the exhibition…

I think I just made you a Saint, oh Mr. Robert Plant!


 Traces Revealed continues until January 28th 2018.








St.Brigid Guardian Bird of Relics

It is said that the Irish Saint Brigid (of Kildare) visited Beckery chapel just outside Glastonbury in the 5th Century AD. Although the chapel is no longer there I went to find the hill (Brides mound) where it once was. I wish I had been in on the recent excavations where they re-found seven skeletons for carbon dating. (Excavations during the 1960’s uncovered a cemetery of at least 50 skeletons believed to be monks who used the chapel) It might have been easier to find if I had gone with the archaeologists!

Me and my partner spent several hours trying to find the hill, it didn’t seem to be where google maps said it was. We had to resort to books in the library and finally after a good walk along the river we found it!

The hill was quite unremarkable and there was no evidence of recent excavations, they did a good job of covering it all up again.

But it has a good view of one of the old tannery buildings and the Tor in the distance!


Offerings on the mound.

Saint Brigid is venerated in Glastonbury as the original Celtic goddess who holds the eternal flame as midwife and earth mother. In the town there is the Saint Brigid healing centre and just under the Tor there is a shrine at the White Spring .

On the walls of St. Patrick’s Chapel at the Abbey, murals painted by Fleur Kelly depict the saints in a style appropriate to early 16th Century. This is Saint Brigid depicted with a cow. She is patron saint of many things including milk maids!

Saint Brigid by Fleur Kelly

To return to the story, when Saint Brigid left Beckery Chapel legend has it that she left some of her belongings behind; a bell, some jewellery and her bag. (I don’t know why she would leave her bag behind, perhaps she in a hurry or maybe she never returned to Kildare and died at Beckery)

I chose to make her bag for the Guardian bird’s relic. I used cement and mesh and gilded it in silver leaf, then stained it with tea and rust to make it look old. I hung plastic cows on the bottom as a nod to her patronage whilst referring to the modern plastic collectible world our kids live in. The cows were black and white Friesians but I painted them badly in white with red horns, the colours associated with her cow.

Saint Brigid’s bag with kitsch overtones

Saint Brigid Guardian bird (stained glass, hand-gilded glass, hand painted eyes, metal buttons, shell rounds)

The heart bears the Saint Brigid cross which was a Celtic symbol associated with Brigid. It was originally made of straw, symbolised the sun and was hung above people’s doors to warn off evil.

This is the fourth Guardian bird in the series, please refer to the last posts to read about the others!

You can see this one plus the guardian birds of relics of 2 other saints, King Arthur and Queen Guinevere birds and a living rock legend guardian bird, plus other pieces of work at Glastonbury Abbey’s exhibition Traces Revealed which continues until January 28th 2018.






St. Joseph of Arimathea Guardian Bird of Relics

Legend has it that Saint Joseph of Arimathea came to Glastonbury to spread the Christian faith with the two cruets full of Christ’s blood and sweat. When he arrived he walked up Wearyall (now Wirral) hill and on reaching the top he stopped and exclaimed something like “Since we be weary all here we will rest” (hence the name Wearyall hill). There he thrust his staff into the ground and it took root forming a hawthorn tree. The tree flowered twice a year, once in Spring and once at Christmas. It then suffered hundreds of years of people cutting off branches and carving names into the trunk but it still flowered every year. Later in the 17th century during the Civil war it was considered a superstitious relic and burnt by the Roundheads. However many cuttings were taken and another tree was planted in 1951.

The 1951 tree still stands but was vandalised in 2010, and as you see in true Glastonbury form, spiritual ideas live on by the continual ritual of tying prayer ribbons to it. Whether they are to worship Joseph, or the tree as a relic, or to find peace and a spiritual awakening remains to be seen.  People have different reasons. The ritual is associated with Celtic, Shaman and Tibetan Buddhist deities. In Glastonbury people explore and practice all of these religions, there many ways to find enlightenment!  I find it interesting how pre-Christian religions and paganism unite with Christianity so often, each borrowing stories from each other for their own beliefs.

Here’s another Glastonbury thorn at the Abbey in front of Saint Patrick’s chapel.

St. Joseph of Arimathea  is often symbolised with the two cruets of Christ’s blood and sweat that he collected when he hung from the cross. It is possible Joseph brought the cruets with him to Glastonbury as well as the holy grail, if the cruets weren’t themselves the original grail that is! (More about the holy grail later 😉 )

The Guardian Bird of Saint Joseph of Arimathea

Saint Joseph of Arimathea Guardian Bird of Relics (cement structure, stained glass, hand gilded metal leaf glass, glass cabochons, millefiori, shell rounds, hand painted eyes, wire, liquid leaf)

The heart bears a hawthorn leaf to represent Saint Joseph of Arimathea.

cruets (espresso cups, acrylic gems, resin, plastic, paint) Comparing the veneration of the sacred cruets with the glorification of the coffee culture.

This is the third guardian bird in my series of six. You can read about the King Arthur bird and the Queen Guinevere bird here

You can see this one plus the guardian birds of relics of 2 other saints, King Arthur and Queen Guinevere birds and a living legend rock star bird, and other pieces of work at Glastonbury Abbey’s exhibition Traces Revealed which continues until January 28th 2018.











New Designs – It’s not what it seems!

I have various different projects on the go at the moment…a large commission, bird baths for the Bishops Palace garden festival in June and some new work for an exhibition at Glastonbury Abbey in September. All exciting stuff that is keeping my left and right brain buzzing and pinging.

During the in-between times I like to  experiment with various other mediums such as animation and digital photo manipulation. Some of you will remember my designs that I made into scarves a few years ago. This time I’ve made some more designs from photos of my mosaics and uploaded them to Redbubble where they are printed onto clothes, wall art, iphone cases, stationary and home-ware. I’ve picked out some favourites to show you but please visit the shop to see more of the products that are available with these designs.

The Golden Leaves this time is the only one without photo manipulation although the scarf is tiled with the photo on the Redbubble software. Please click the pictures to see more or purchase.


Golden Leaves Scarf


Starlings in the Wind Dress


Sunset Swirls chiffon top


Darkness is Gathering in a Swirl cushion


Leaf Swirl notebook


Fish Waves acrylic block


Spinning Moon Moths metal print



Wake of the Chorus drawstring bag


Whirl in a Whirlwind iphone case

Now I MUST get into my work-shed and fondle some glass!




















An Egg for The Egg

I was asked by my sponsors of my Zillion lion (Zenith International) made in 2010,  if I would decorate an egg for the Bath Egg Hunt. It is to celebrate The Egg Theatre’s 10th Anniversary. This isn’t paid work but it is small (about 12 inches high) and gives me a chance to experiment and perhaps do something I wouldn’t normally do! Also I am getting the opportunity to exhibit my egg in Bath Abbey!

I had several ideas but came up with this one eventually.

egg design 3

I just wanted to do feathers, (get close to the bird!)

A curtain of feathers.

I had to have the number 10 incorporated so I thought it a pretty perfect design really, it had everything I wanted and everything they wanted.

Ta Da…here it is…

Curtain Call front view

Curtain Call back view

It is also important that it is just feathers on the other side as it will be auctioned in a few weeks and some people might just like the feathers and not the number! Unless you are celebrating your 10th birthday or your 10th wedding anniversary or were a member of Parliament or something why would you want a number 10?

If you remember the commission I completed recently “Flight From the Waves of Solway” you will have read about how I made the birds iridescent white by mixing pale tones of white smalti glass, so I attempted this in the feathers using vitreous glass tile, however this time I think the tones were a little too strong to be completely successful.

I imagined the feathers were those of a swan,  the coppers and browns underneath a suggestion of a nest , and a line of turquoise and blue and copper fleck at the base to suggest water.

Bath Egg Hunt – Question and Answer Game

The egg hunt in Bath continues until 11th April. There is a question and answer game around the city for the children as they find 25 eggs  in hidden places. The question for the name of my egg is “What happens after a great performance?”

If you know the answer and can name my egg, leave a comment below (you can’t play this if you receive my newsletter as you will already know the answer! )


Bah Humbug!

Oh yes it’s that time again when we are all scrabbling around trying to find interesting presents for our families and friends. And there is news that we might have a white Christmas here in the south west UK, so all the more reason to get the shopping done now and then hopefully we can relax!
Well I am using this post to shamelessly plug my new pieces available to buy on my Folksy shop. Hey, you don’t need to behave like Scrooge! Don’t go yet! Talking of Scrooge, I would like to introduce you to my Bah Humbug Bee Pendants and brooches.

bees folksy

Bah Humbug Bees!

Then there are my Fish for the Funky Punks Brooches

shoal folksy

Fish Brooches for the Funky Punks

Both the bees and the fish can be ordered without backs and fixed straight to a wall or as part of your personal mosaic project.

They are made by hand-gilding glass with metal leaf and cutting it to shape. Once used for mosaic the glass is on top because if used gilded side up even after sealing, the grout will ruin the metal leaf.   The substrate for the brooches is aluminium, hand cut and filed. For the bee’s thorax I made some polymer clay half bead shapes that are fired in the oven and then varnished. They were great fun to make and finally we found a use for my daughter’s pasta machine!


I have also made some more box frame mosaic art pieces.

This is my series “Three Golden Birds at Sunset” I think these precious little mosaics made with Venetian gold leaf glass and smalti look quite eye-catching  in the deep boxes, what do you think?

You can see more details about each of these items and more on my Folksy shop

Happy Shopping and have a Very Merry Christmas!

Mosaic Print Designer Scarfs

I have been thinking about transferring mosaic designs onto fabric for years, longer than the big fashion companies such as Dolce & Gabbana! The trouble is they beat me to it!

But seriously I know I will never get as big or famous as they are, (who would want to be that rich and famous??) and I am just doing this as an experiment and through a desire to put down my nippers for a while and do something different. (When I say “for a while”, don’t worry, I am already picking them up again!)

The designs are digitally printed onto fabric. For my scarves I have chosen to use a silky polyester as it drapes beautifully and the colour is bright crisp and sharp.

This is my Golden Leaves Scarf

Golden Leaves Scarf

Golden Leaves Scarf

The design came from a photo of the mosaic leaf candle holders I made last year taken on a bed of autumn leaves, which I have made into a mirror design for the fabric.

I got the photo printed as greeting cards


I had a tie commission with this design too…


Then I made the Dawn Breakers Bird Scarf using a design I took from a mosaic I made called “Dawn Breakers”

Dawn Breakers scarf

Dawn Breakers Bird Scarf


Dawn Breakers


And this one is  my Midnight Sun Scarf using part one of my mosaicDisappearing Sun

Midnight sun

Midnight Sun Scarf

Part 1 of Disappearing Sun

If you want to see more pictures including some on my model, have a look by clicking the pictures or visit my Folksy Shop or my Etsy Shop

I also have cards and prints available of Spirit of the Leaves part 3

spirit folksy

Spirit of the Leaves (part 3)

Very popular at this time of year when the leaves are blowing off the trees and turning into birds!