The Relics of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere

As I mentioned in the last post I will be posting fairly regularly in the next few weeks to show you my work for the Glastonbury Abbey exhibition “Traces Revealed”

The inspiration for the pieces I made came from the abbey’s precious relics that were once in abundance in medieval times but then lost or destroyed by the Abbey fire and the reformation. Whilst other abbeys successfully moved their relics to safe houses during the reformation, I found very little evidence or traces about the whereabouts of the Glastonbury Abbey relics, so I wondered if the monks had hidden them to keep them safe. Perhaps in hidden hollows under the Tor.
6 magical birds (double headed eagles) keep guard as ‘guardians of the relics.’ They guard King Arthur and Queen Guinevere’s relics, 3 of the abbey’s saint’s relics and a living legend ‘rock star’s’ relics!

The relics are mostly playful analogies, comparing the Catholic tradition of the veneration of relics with modern day trends and the culture of souvenir gifts.

King Arthur’s Relics

In 1191 the monks discovered King Arthur’s and Queen Guinevere’s skeletons buried in the ancient cemetery within Glastonbury Abbey . They knew it was King Arthur because they found a lead cross with writing on it in Latin. Translated it means ‘ Here lies buried the renowned King Arthur in the isle of Avalon’.

In other words …

(fimo clay, metal leaf)

The monks were quite surprised at the size of King Arthur’s bones, he was a real giant of a man. They noticed his thigh bone (femur is it?) was broken, presumably from his last battle before being laid to rest several hundred years ago in the cemetery. Of course it unmistakeably belonged to Arthur as they noticed his name was written on the bone just like the end of a gift shop stick of rock!

King Arthur’s bone (cement structure, gold leaf glass, hand-gilded glass, marble, stained glass, vintage glass tile, millefiori, gold lipped oyster shell)

underside of bone


Queen Guinevere’s relics

Then the monks picked up a tress of golden hair still attached to Queen Guinevere’s skull and it turned to dust.

Or did it??

Queen Guinevere’s hair (cement structure, hand gilded glass, gilded grout)

The monks made a black marble tomb for King Arthur’s and Queen Guinevere’s relics (there were various treasures amongst the bones which included the leaden cross, and four lions heads) and invited pilgrims to visit. It was a useful find at a time of impending impoverishment of the abbey.

….come back soon to see the Magical Guardian Bird of these relics ….

or visit the exhibition at Glastonbury Abbey which begins on Saturday 30th September and continues until January 28th 2018












Bah Humbug! It’s (almost) that time again!

You might remember last year I made some gilded glass brooches, bees (Bah Humbug Bees) and fish (Fish for Funky Punks). They were sold so quickly from various outlets, so this year I thought I would make some more. This time I have redesigned them so they are more refined and they are made of acrylic instead of glass. The acrylic is etched so I can fill in the lines to represent the grout lines, and like the glass ones they are gilded using  variegated metal leaf.

Bah Humbug bee brooch

Bah Humbug bee brooch

Ocean Gem fish brooch

Ocean Gem fish brooch









I have also made some more golden leaf coasters, these are gilded glass on wood. These have also been refined by making them on a thinner plywood with a felt fabric underneath, now perfect for any table!

Golden Leaf coasters

Golden Leaf coasters

You can purchase all these items online from my Folksy shop (or click the pics) or from the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen’s new shop in Wells and from Somerset Crafts Gallery, Avalon Marshes Centre, Westhay.

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!