This week the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney received two new entries in one day! Baroness Aranwen chose to participate in our Kingdom’s Virtual Queens Prize Tourney with an amazing flamework beads necklace. Her beautiful entry “the Pagan Lady of the Isle of Man Necklace from Late 900AD Recreation” would sure look at home at any museum display and I can’t wait to learn more about its creation… As we do not have the ability to converse with our entrants face to face, the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney offers the opportunity to fawn over images and read the documentation right there on the Kingdom Ministry of Arts & Sciences website – even to leave feedback! And to learn a little more about the artisan and their thoughts behind their entry, the organizers decided to broaden our traditional entry of object and documentation with personal interviews.


The extant piece, on display at the Jorvik Visitor Centre in York as part of an exhibition focusing on Viking women.

Could you tell me a little about you, your persona?

I have been a lampworker for over 15 years.  Lampworking helps me satisfy my need to create.  Originally my persona was Welsh.  It has continued to be Welsh, but since I met my husband, a Norseman, I have taken up the Viking persona.  This necklace would be something she would wear as Vikings traveled extensively and I would have received gifts of beads from my husband’s travels.  Another thing that intrigued me about the Pagan Lady, is that she may have also been a healer and/or sorceress.  I could see my persona managing the Castle while my husband was gone as well as taken care of the towns people.

What inspired you to make your entry?

I knew the necklace would be a bit of a challenge, not only in making all the various sizes and shapes, but in recreating glass cane, as I am not very good at that.  I would not mind taking a class in making cane at some point.  I also knew that this would be a good teaching piece to show students when I am teaching lampwork skills.

What is your intention with your entry?

I entered to show off the necklace itself,  It is fairly simple, but elegant.  I like the history of it.  I do intend on using the necklace as a teaching tool, but also want to finish the complete outfit as shown in the Manx Museum and wear it.


Baroness Aranwen’s recreation of the necklace from the Jorkvik Visitor Centre.

Did the entry throw up any unexpected issues?

Recreating the cane was difficult.  I would like to get better at making cane.  The one item I through would not be much of a challenge ended up being one I could not finish before this entry was due.  That was the recreation of the amber donut amulet.  I have made many of these, but none came close to looking like the museum piece.  Also, in doing my research there were so many different pictures of the necklace taken at different angles.  Many times I started making beads only to find additional pictures that shown what I thought was a solid color bead to be one with some sort of a pattern on it.

Did you learn something specific, something you would do differently, or would recommend others to do again? 

When doing research in the future, I will look at as many different pictures of the item as I can locate.  Study it from all angles and then recreate it.

What motivated you to enter the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney?

When this competition came up I had the necklace almost finished.  I had  originally wanted to enter Ice Dragon.  I had major surgery in January and had not fully recovered as Ice Dragon approached.  When Ice Dragon was cancelled, I put the necklace and the documentation on hold.  When the Queen’s Prize Tourney came up, it was a wonderful encouragement for me to finish the necklace and documentation.  Exposure is good to show others what lampwork is and what can be done. I am always learning.  Feed back is also good and appreciated.

Is there anything else you would like to share?

I just want to encourage others to try new things.  I enjoy sharing my art.  I credit many lampwork artists in the SCA that have been kind to me over the years to spend time working with me to learn new skills.  I want to pass that along.  I started out designing jewelry years ago and could not find the beads I wanted.  My sister took me to an SCA event and I found lampworking.  I was petrified of fire and was the last one in the class to try making a bead.  I got over my fear of fire and now I sit right on top of it!  Life can bring new challenges and joys!  Try something new!

Thank you, Baroness Aranwen, for sharing your wonderful work with our Kingdom’s artisans and populace!

If you would like to see Aranwen’s entry, follow this link. And if you liked her work, have a question to ask, or a tip to share – please leave your comments with her entry! You can “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of the entry’s page. We have four more weeks to peruse, enjoy and interact with the entrants. Make use of the opportunity, if you can!

Would you like to enter your own project? The deadline for entering the Virtual Queens Prize Tourney is June 30th, and you can find all you need to know on how to enter on the KMOAS website.