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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.


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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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Day 7 - 22 solid actions realized in a productive retreat week

Day 7 has ended and I am ready with my retreat. I feel a bit egoistic to have taken this whole week for myself, but it has been a precious experience.

I’ve connected with myself in ways I didn’t expect. I became silent in my head around day three and that gave me a lot of rest to keep working. Only on day five on the end, while writing, I had a dip.

I didn’t realize I normally spend so much time on the computer instead of making. That was a real eye opener. In the future I will take care I have more time to create.

I feel more in harmony in what I want and what I do. My visions for the future have become more clear.  The list of accomplishments is vast, plus some great ideas to start a new series of jewellery.

It has been of great help to read all you comments. A quote from George Berkely comes to mind: "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

A heartfelt thank you for reading my stories.

So what’s with the Fairy Tales, you ask?

Once upon a time...I want to develop a new necklace in the Cultural Message series. One about fairy tales. The tales I read are the ones I am going to incorporate into the piece.

Today I did the calculations & initial drawings of the elements. Templates are made in illustrator, ready to be cut-out. I work very planned and almost all my jewellery starts as a paper mock-up. I try out, shift things around and fiddle with it, till it feels right.

Having had this week with the free associations in unfamiliar material, made me free of mind. I could listen how the piece wanted to be manifested. You can see here one of the paper tests which will be translated in silver very soon.

I have made a fabulous start, thanks to the retreat.


art-retreat last-day-650px


To get in the flow of working I started today with making 2 slabs in Silver Clay with the bark pattern. One will be made into a ring and the other piece I turned into 3 pairs of earrings. I will show them when they are ready.

Live talk

Tomorrow I will prepare the Google+ hangout. When you add me to one of your circles I will invite you automatically. Helga’s Google+ profile
I will show a few things that I did make, draw a winner for the Inner Star and most important, I will answer questions. I start at 23.00u Amsterdam time. A recording will be available on YouTube.

If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments below and I will answer them tomorrow.

Information about Hangouts you can find here: Hangouts.


I end with my list of activities and projects realized this week:

  1. Draw a Labyrinth with chalk and walk it 14 times
  2. 9 charcoal drawings and a bike tour.
  3. Cut a gate out of two trees
  4. Read 2 chapters op Campbell’s “Power of Myth”
  5. Sawed a silver billet and hammered it down
  6. Cleaned up an iron Anvil
  7. Meditated ever morning for 15 minutes
  8. Juggled a lot
  9. Soapstone sculpting: made 1 finished piece
  10. Read 7 tales in English: Little Muck, Firebird, Goldilock, Little Ida’s flowers, Diamonds & Toads, Parsley/Rapunzel, Snow-white & Rose-red
  11. Draw 7 picture storyboards of the fairytales
  12. With salt-dough sculpted 7 remarkable elements of the tales (of which the dog ate one!)
  13. Took pictures + processed them for publishing
  14. Wrote every day a blogpost and promoted it.
  15. Cooked every day a meal (except for one day, thank you JP for cooking)
  16. Made a notebook incorporating my own pictures
  17. Kept a diary containing 47 pages written
  18. 61 square, 7 small 3D, 4 big slabs and a tree bark sculpture from porcelainclay
  19. 1 bronzeclay sample
  20. 2 silverclay samples
  21. A necklace design that is ready to be made in silver
  22. + walk the dog every morning


This is the seventh day of Helga's Art Residence At Home.
Previous posts are:

- Making plans 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

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Day 6 - The power of trees

Friday 19 July

Reading the wise and encouraging comments on yesterdays post, helped me to realize that it’s not easy to keep yourself occupied all the time. It takes your energy, so you have to replenish it by taking care of yourself.  I took a warm bath and some extra sleep and now I am energized again.

Realizing and accepting that you are low on energy is the first step to mend it.

Tree: sculpture

Clay sculpture of tree barkClay sculpture of tree bark


Today was the first day without a real planning. I did have painting on my list but I traded it for working in clay.  I had a feeling that I should explore the bark pattern some more. Using the process of drawing the lines and then refining the top layer I made a sculpture of a tree stem. I was glad to see I could even make it in a big 3D size.

During meditation I had a visual that the Labyrinth I walk is in fact a big drawing of grow-lines in a tree. So deliberately I drew some grow circles on top of the stem.

This piece speaks to me. It is a great start for a new series in jewellery. I will work on exploring this theme in august to translate it into jewellery. I can see the ring already!

Tree: Notebook

art-retreat clay-tree-book-klein5178In the afternoon I made a small A6 notebook with 32 blank pages. I used a picture of the tree bark from Monday on the back. On the front you seen my own hand made bark pattern in clay.

A lot of things are falling into place. I call this retreat SARAH, the initial letters of Summer Art Residence At Home. That is why I put it on the front of my notebook.

But before I was even thinking of this retreat I was already working with the name Sarah. My pinterest board called Sarah is already 40 weeks old. I set it up to collect inspiring sites and images about self-development and creativity. I have a feeling you might like some of the links there.

Last thoughts about Fences

A tree has fences/borders but they are open, osmosis can happen. CO in, O2 out. There is a healthy communication between the two sides.

It’s important to be aware of my borders but in the meantime be open to new inspiration. Only in this time frame with so many distractions like tv/social media /mobiles,  those borders are very diffuse and easily crossed.

It's sometimes difficult to know when to close a border because of a system-overload...
Doing this retreat gives me fine-tune time to find out what I want, where I stand for.

With that knowledge I can confidently come back to the flow of life.


More pictures in my google+ album: Art Residence - Friday 19 July

Next read: Day 7


This is the sixth day of Helga's Art Residence At Home.
Previous posts are:

- Making plans 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
- Day 4 - Fence & Fairytales
- The 5th day of the art retreat

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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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