saxon rings

I had a pleasantly different day today. Liz, the education officer at Kirkleatham museum, and myself did a trial run of a new workshop for the artsmark award scheme. We had a class from a local school we both know quite well, and used them as our guineapigs.

(Children make good guineapigs, being small, a bit squeaky, and with varying levels of hairness)

The idea was to make a copy of a replica Anglo Saxon ring to tie in with the museum’s display of the important Saxon finds from Streethouse, Loftus. Obviously soldering wasn’t an option, but luckily those obliging Saxons left several designs of twisted wire ring. Like this one


These are the two prototypes I knocked up in silver…


I refer to the one on the left as the as the swirly one, and the one on the right as the twirly one. The twirly one is actually a bit tricky, so I made the step by step worksheet up for the swirly one, and kept the twirly one in reserve for if they made faster progress than anticipated.

we used copper wire in a range of pretty colours, and although some of the results were more abstract than others, I think the results overall weren’t half bad.


~ by opusanglicanum on March 22, 2016.

14 Responses to “saxon rings”

  1. Wow, what a cool workshop!

  2. That is excellent! Having spent many, many hours with primary school children – they would love that. Making stuff that looks good is just perfect. And yes, the guinea pig theory holds. Children jump up and down when they are excited and happy, just as guinea pigs do!

    • THey really worked well together, and were interested enough in what they were doing to wait quite patiently when they needed help. I think giving them pipcleaners to experiment with was helpful

  3. What a fun workshop. I bet they enjoyed it. A lot of twiddled scrap-wire constructions were made at the electronics factory where I worked in the eighties, in our idle moments, but I don’t think we came up with anything as attractive as these.

    • my jewellery teacher specialised in twiddled wire jewels, but the saxon ones are quite precise. copper wire is fab stuff to play with, and the colour coated stuff looks amazingly shiny, so I can only imagine what electronics factories can come up with intheir spare moments – although it always makes me think of the way john looks at cats doing their contortions and huffs “you couldn’t bend copper wire that shape!”

  4. They seem to be pretty talented kids, judging by the size of their hands and the skill level. What a fantastic thing to do. We never had anything at all like this when I went to school – I really envy today’s kids.

    I would love one of those twirly silver rings – do you make them to order?

    • They’re a nice little school, I’ve done drama workshops with them in the past. The arts award the museum is involved with can go right up to a level and count as a university entry qualification, so hopefully they’ll get more funding each year.

      Yes, I can do one to order, pm me if you want

  5. What a great workshop! Great idea and great results from the kids. I think both I and my daughter would have loved to participate in such a workshop.

  6. It seems that a wonderful time was had by all. They’ve turned out really very well indeed!

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