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Helga's Blog

dutch jewellery designer la leipsig

 

Stories from the daily live of an active metalsmith who tracks down
her muse with camera and sketchbook.

Four times a year I make a seasonal round-up of my activities here from my blog. By subscribing  you get this letter automatically delivered to your mailbox.

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Helga

 

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A design week influenced by meteorite craters

Last week I gave myself the opportunity to explore new ideas with my favorite material: silver clay. Every artist has his own style. Mine is one of reading, sketching, experimenting with different materials, evaluating, writing and then again by working on it. I always feel like a turtle when I'm working, slowly but thoroughly going through the process.

Silverclay meteorite impact design tests

What did I want to achieve with this work week?

To give the answer, I first have to tell you about an online course I followed: "Our Earth: its Climate, History and Processes". In engaging lessons the scientists of the University of Manchester explain the forming processes of our Earth. Meteorites have had quite some influence as you can learn in the first chapter (go ahead, sign up, it's free). A beautiful example of a meteorite crater on Earth is in Arizona but on the moon landscape you can observe many types of impact craters. The impact of a meteorite had my attention.

My starting point was the division of a sphere (the Earth) in 8 parts. In the eighth part of a sphere, I constructed part of a sphere that resembles a crater. My tests are done with porcelain clay and polymer clay, good substitutes for the precious silver clay, giving me freedom to explore my ideas.

Silverclay meteorite impact pendant with enamelThen I engraved erosion elements around the "crater", the same type I used in my previous series. Next, I enameled the "crater floor" with green to show the mantle rock (peridotite) of the earth.

I'm not sure yet...

It's time to let it rest a while, to evaluate it. Does it fit in my collection? Have I explored the possibilities enough? I know I'm not on the right path. How do I know? I cannot say exactly, that's quite intuitive.

For example, the enameling process was a bit over the edge. Yes, it looks cool, but it's not quite right with the theme which underlies this pendant. But I am satisfied that I have tried.

I leave it for now and will be going back there next time.

There are plenty of other things to do this week.
Like my accounting!

Custom designed Earth ring with recycled gold

ring earth gold silverLast December has been a busy month. Lost's of commissions and writing a paper for the Santa Fe Symposium took up most of my time.

But now it's January, the paper has been submitted and my studio is clean. What shall I do?

Sketching for a new collection?

Expand on current lines?

Write a blogpost?

You can see, the third option won today!

What I want to share with you this time, is a ring I made last month. It's a small Earth ring made with little golden elements.

When customers come to me with old gold to convert into new jewelry it can be a tricky job. Luckily this lady liked my earth ring and we decided on making a smaller version incorporating 14K gold from a ring she had kept out of remembrance.

 

ring earth gold silver - process

First I measured the ring so I could calculate how much material I could remove.

The second picture has the ring enlarged and shows the amount I needed for the little square elements.

ring earth gold silver

First sawing then making the little piece of gold thin with my rolling mill.

ring earth gold silver

Cutting the gold pieces and embedding in silver metal clay. The remains of the gold ring get soldered and finished.

After two hours in the kiln the focal element gets soldered onto the gold ring band.

Et voilá, a happy customer :-)

 

Speaking at the SFS Jewelry Manufacturing Technology conference 2016

Every year in May there is a conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico - USA, totally devoted to the technology of manufacturing jewelry. Here the business exchanges new information in a sharing and non-promotional way. In 2014 I was invited to this conference as one of the nominees for the Saul Bell Award. You can read about this event in My Report from the Saul Bell Award.

santa fe symposium logoIn 2010 Tim McCreight gave an introduction presentation about Metal Clay. The 2012 paper from Shinji Otani, Takashi Yamaji & Yoshifumi Yamamoto From Mitsubishi told about the new sterling Silver Clay. (You can find the papers on the SFS website here.)

In 2016 Metal Clay will be again on the agenda, as my proposal on how Metal Clay is used in an artist’s studio is accepted. My presentation is called: One-of-a-Kind to Mass Production: Metal Clay in a New Light

I want to show how Metal Clay has matured as material by discussing the best examples and point out the advantages of applying Metal Clay in a small scale studio and the benefits for our customers.

2016 will be the 30th Santa Fe Symposium®. Link to the conference site 

A spontanous visit to art jewellery gallery Pont & Plas in Gent

When you find your tribe (in my case the metalclay community) it is fun to meet when you are in driving distance of each other. That's why I spent a day in Gent with my friends Lora Hart & Donna Penoyer. Gent is a lovely place with lots of historic buildings and a perfect place to stroll around.

That's how we stumbled onto Art Jewelry Galerie Pont & Plas.  A work from Gesine Hackenberg on the counter drew the attention from Lora. So we three entered the gallery. A true treasure trove of contemporary jewellery. You can see Lora and Donna opening one of the many drawers filled with art pieces.

Beside the work of Gesine, we were enthralled with the work of Ria Lins.
You can see Lora looking at a necklace from the connection series with a magnifier. Really very special!


galerie plons plas gent belgium

Inside we met the lovely Nicole Thienpont who told with enthousiasm about "her artists". A true Art Jewelry heaven!

www.pontenplas.be
For an exquisite selection of hand-made contemporary jewellery.
Hooiaard 6 (hoek graslei) b-9000 Gent Belgium

Art Noveau Medusahead designed by Wilhelm von Cranach in Berlin

cranach wilhelm gorgoneion kunstgewerbe

Wilhelm Lucas von Cranach, Berlin, 1902
Execution: Goldsmiths Friedländer and Graveur Max Haseroth. Gold, Opal, Nephrit, Jaspis, Emerald, Pearl.


Early October I visited the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin and found a precious Jugendstil piece made by an (for me) unknowed artist. His name was Wilhelm Lucas von Cranach. Online I couldn't find much except this article from Viola.

A bit weird if you know I visited many Art Nouveau exhibitions. It is one of my favorite periods, which ranges from 1880 till 1910. I love the nature inspired designs with flowing stylised forms. The Kunstgewerbe museum has a surprising collection, worth the visit, especially if you're a goldsmith.

cranach wilhelm wapenCranach was born in 1861 and son from an old family of Renaissance painters. He was initially trained as a forester but decided to move to Weimar and Paris to learn painting. Here he joined in the footsteps of his ancestor Lucas but developed later into jewelery designer.

Assignments he let out by skilled goldsmiths and engravers, a widely used strategy in that period. The collaboration with Friedländer resulted in works that could be seen on the World Exhibition in Paris and the 25th anniversary exhibition of the Association of Kunstgewerbe in Berlin.

Through these exhibitions he got noted by the writer Wilhelm Bode which in turn resulted in a beautiful colorbook published in 1903 in which his work was extensively discussed. This book I read personally in the artlibrary of Berlin. (The book I had found through the online-catalogus van de Staatliche Museen zu Berlin).

cranach kunstlibrary goldschmiedekunst

Cranach's (1891-1916) pendant, called Gorgoneion, is a dramatic and colourful jewel. Dragonwings of green Nefrit, flaming red hair of Jaspis and a female face made with translucent blue shimmery Opal. All set in gold. It is a bit macabre and could, without doubt, be worn by one of the players of Game of Thrones.

cranach wilhelm medusa detail snakesAs inhabitant of the dragonvillage Beesel, I was attracted to the dragonwings and the symbolic of the snakes. Normally the hair of a Medusa head is made of snakes.

In this pendant the chin of the face rests on a nest of 6 golden snakes adorned with emeralds who hold a big white pearl.

All in all, a daring combination that in 1902 caused a stir and was almost immediately purchased by the Kunstgewerbemuseum.

 


Source:
Werke Moderner Goldschmiedekunst van W. Lucas von Cranach.
Introduction by Wilhelm Bode, 1903
and
Schmuck-Kunst im Jugendstil
by Fritz Falk, 1999

About La Leipsig

The jewellery which is sold under the brand name La Leipsig Jewels is based on Helga van Leipsig's observations of the nature in Limburg, a province in the south of The Netherlands.

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