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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.

Have fun on my site, and if you have any questions or remarks on a blogpost ...
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Let go of the "noise" to reveal the grow structure

When I am fascinated by a plant, I want to observe it. It starts with taking pictures of the whole plant but it doesn't take long before I put the macro-lens on. Being so close on a plant reveals many beautiful shapes. Sometimes I even need to sketch it, so I understand how it grows.

Today I found a branch of a Poplar in my neighbourhood. It was windy weather and on the ground were many loose branches. I took one home while I let the wind play with the leaves. They make such a lovely murmurous sound.

This is because the stem of the leave is a laterally flattened petiole. The flat petiole allows them to tremble in even slight breezes, and is the source of its scientific name Populus tremula. 
(it's the same tree who's bark inspired me on monday's art retreat at home)

poplar leave

Another thing I like is how the petiole is attached to the branch:

poplarbranch growpoint

The remarkable point between green and brown branch is the spot that marks new years growth. The brown is from last year. I like to see this kind of spots close-up, they are beautiful.

Sketching is another way of understanding a plant. Here I drew the lateral petiole to analyse how it's build. Often I use a magnifying glas to see it all.

 poplar leave sketch

Seeing those growing spots without the leaves reminded me of my own growing process. If you look back and remove all the "noise" you see what you have accomplished. You get appreciation for what you did.

Like in winter you can observe a tree's structure much better without the leaves.


Poplar branch


On wikipedia you can read more about this tree family: Poplar

On my Facebook La Leipsig Jewels page more images of this beautiful tree.


About Take Flight and putting affairs in perspective

Silver pendant: Take Flight


During the lastest art show, Beesel Creatief, it was not uncommon that people listened fascinated to my story about the background of my jewellery. They recognized themselves in the process, it touched them. That was a nice feeling and brought great conversations.

It’s not easy to tell a coherent story that expresses the emotions and thoughts that are involved when I create a piece of jewellery. This requires thought and clarity.

Lately I have many new ideas and I want to convey them in a clear way. I'm forced to sort them out, to create structure and maintain clarity. During the structuring I noticed something: every piece can be related to one of the 4 elements.

Earth. Water. Air. Fire.

They are the building blocks of nature, my biggest inspiration source.

Every time I make new work, one of these elements predominates.

My most recent work, the pendant/brooch Take Flight, combines even two. It's earth viewed from the air, so you get a perspective. By standing "higher" I get a wider picture and need to have a clear focus.

I will start paying more attention to these 4 elements. I have a suspicion that they are going to give me new clues in understanding my jewellery.


Next post: Symbolism in Helga's jewellery

Lady Elliot seen through La Leipsig's eye

Miss Elliot a silver pendantToday I am making a Miss Elliot pendant with a green stone as centre piece. It's a silver pendant that can be ordered on request in the stone colour of your choice. This time I work with a Peridot, a lovely green colour and my personal favorite.

Everytime I work on a jewel from the Elliot collection I think back to our Australia trip. We went visiting friends and travelled a bit to see the landscape.

One of our number one choices was the most southern island of the great barrier reef. It’s called Lady Elliot, an eco-resort. We flew from Hervey Bay with a little plane. Our son was 11 and he made this little video you can see here. You can even hear him say “Dit is Lady Elliot

On the island we had a snorkeldive in the reef that surrounds Elliot. It was great but my forte is definitely not in the water. I stayed the afternoon on the beach while the boys kept snorkling in the sea.

On my own I walked down the beach and enjoyed myself. Taking pictures, sketching AND mold making. (in this google album some images of Lady Elliot)

Since I work with metal clay I always have a small portion of mold material with me. With that I can capture textures so I can use them at home. Lady Elliot was a treasure box for me. Shells, coral and plants where scattered among the beautiful beach. Heaven!

Working on a silver Miss Elliot pendantWorking on a silver Miss Elliot pendantBack at home I captured my thoughts of the island in the Miss Elliot pendant. I used the coralmold to make the eye shape, remember this is how I see the island! The green colour of the peridot was just the perfect fit for me. It brings back memories of the little lagoon that shimmers green from all the plants.

Although a saffire or emerald are great as well. One customer even ordered a ruby version. As I sculpt them all myself, each of the pendants is a bit different than the other but in style alike.

I love making them as they bring back great memories.

elliot-coral-la-leipsigThe coral on Lady Elliots beach. From this one I made a mold
that is used for all the jewellery of the Lady Elliot series.

Distracted by life and how I got back in Flow

Silver-Gold-flow-Inner-BarkAfter my Summer Art Retreat At Home I felt great.

Totally in flow and ready to conquer the world.

Made new jewellery with the bark/flow pattern.

Had plans to immediately implement it on my site and offer it to my customers.

But life interferes.

Patrick, my life partner, needed to be in Rome and asked my support to travel with him.

This confronted me with the situation that I was separated from my normal environment, the studio and the quite village life. I was transferred into a warm apartment & noisy town life.

This is okay normally. I can amuse myself well in situations like this. But this time it was different.

It was awful hot in Rome. Too hot to go outside during daytime. No internet. I felt completely shut off the flow I created during the retreat.

Trying to stay in flow,
I had a 3-way plan:

  1. I sticked to meditating
    This helped me remembering how important it was to stay focused on my goal. I could envision the tree-stem surrounding me giving me the power to stay connected.
  2. I made an action plan for autumn
    Super for sharpening my goals.
  3. Started re-writing my about page
    Things have changed quickly lately and I felt this page wasn’t accurate anymore. It was also a good contemplation moment after my retreat.

The result:

When back in The Netherlands I had just a small backdrop before being back in the saddle.
The best thing I did was start immediately creating jewellery again.

The silver ring I show, is the first item I created for my new line: Inner Bark.
It's about grow and staying in flow. Like a tree rooted in yourself.

This development is a direct result from my Art Residence At Home.

The action plan will help me to logically grow this new jewellery collection and guide me in communicating the meaning of this line.

Silver-ring-Inner-BarkThe ring Inner Bark - fine silver & 22K gold on a sterling ring band.

First reflections on my Summer Art Residence At Home

In this blogpost is just the first reflection I have on the retreat.

Mostly I talk about it in the video from the Hang-out. It will take a while before I have it sorted out. While working with my hands I'll process all the feellings and thoughts I had. For now I settle on working with this new direction and make a series of jewellery with it.

I might even make a limited edition of notebooks to sell, the one I made on day 6 of my residency. Keep an eye on my blog as subsribers have the posiblility to buy at an introducion prize. I let you know.

What did I do the first days after my retreat?

  • Enjoyed free time and read graphic novels (my favourites from Schuiten & Peeters)
  • Relaxed and got myself invited to a dinner with neighbours (thank you Ron & Jeanette!)
  • Make some new jewellery. I’ll show in the next post what I did!
  • Play with the kids from my brother, using salt dough from last week, they loved it!
  • Have a great Google+ Hangout. 

Link to Epic River, the necklace I talk about.

Having a talk with Maggie, Lora and Sara about the retreat was lovely.
I had been working alone whole week and it felt like a small party but just online.

Motivational Inner Star give-away.

The winner from the Inner Star is Linda Cote.

Linda is an amazing print artist who lives in Canada and just like me is inspired by mother Nature. We met through twitter. Since then I enjoy her artwork. A few cards from her are hanging in my studio. This is one of them, a beautiful floughed field. I just love this print.

She's very much attracted to the idea of having a retreat on her own. So I hope that this little give-away will be an inspiration for her to do it.

You can find her website here: Linda Cote Studio Printmaking Arts

Congratulations Linda, enjoy wearing my Inner Star :-)



Sunday I picked a bowl of red berries from our garden to give an impression
how wonderful I felt right after this retreat week.

While taking the picture a tiny, tiny little snail showed up.
Bringing her Labyrinth with her on her back.

That's what I got to do now.
Pack up all the knowledge and experiences from last week
and take it with me into the great big beautiful world.



This is the last post of Helga's Summer Art Residence At Home 2013.
Previous posts are:

- The motivation for a creative workweek
- Preparations for Art Residence At Home
- In the Labyrinth of Art - Day 1
- Second day of the Summer Art Residence At Home
- Digging up memories with soapstone on day three
- Fence & Fairytales
- The 5th day of the art retreat
- Tapping into the power of trees on day 6
- 22 solid actions realized in a productive retreat week

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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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