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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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Blogging is a Tool, Use it!

This is a picture of my handmade goldsmiths hammer. I had to make it during my internship in Sweden with Kerstin Ohlin-Lejonklou. She gave me a piece of steel, a paper with the sizes and wood for the handle. It took a week from start to finish to saw, file and polish.

Helga's handmade goldsmith hammer.You can see me holding this handmade hammer in the picture
on the about La leipsig Jewels page.

It’s the best tool I have. A perfect grip and the connection I have with it, is just WoW!

werktekening hamerIt taught me an important lesson in what you can make yourself.  If you can make a hammer, you can make everything.

It’s a mindset.

One which a goldsmith needs. You have to be inventive and figure out a lot of things. Very often it involves making a tool specific for the task at hand.

With this do-it-yourself spirit I learned to make my website. It’s a tool specific for selling my work & knowledge. During all the incarnations it had, I started to consider it a jewel. But my site is a tool, and tools get dirty.

Blogging is a tool as well, a tool to tell the story behind my creations.

If you start out making a jewel, it isn’t perfect. Through trial and error and a lot of practice you will be able to make it perfect.

Blogging is still early days for me, so bear with me while I figure it out! I am not  lacking idea’s. On the contrary, there are too many, something that can block me.

organize Post-itYesterday I found a way to cope with the Abundance of ideas. I made a brain-dump on post-it papers and stuck them to a larger paper.

Today I sorted them by subject.
Then I had to pick one and write the post today.

No excuses possible.

And that’s how I am going to do it:  One. Post. A. Week.
Like hammerblows on silver, will I make my mark!

Helga's handmade goldsmith hammer.


Updates by E-mail:------------------------

I don’t have the perfect landing pages or opt-in form. I have gorgeous jewellery that I focus on. I strive for perfection but in the meantime I work.

If you want to follow me on my path to perfection, feel free to add your email to my bloglist so you’ll get the posts automatically in your box.

Etruscan Gold Fibula

Etruscan Gold Fibula, back.This last May holiday I had the pleasure of spending a few days in Rome. Ofcourse I went to the Vatican Museum to see the many art objects that live in this place.

Among the treasures there was the Etruscan departement. The Etruscan were one of the most important civilisations of ancient pre-Roman Italy. Their skills in working with gold were amazing. The piece that I want to show in this post is a Fibula. But a very special one. It's a very big parade-fibula, around 30 cm high. It has been dated 675-650 B.C.

Technique's used are embossing (gold worked in relief with punches) and granulation (micro-soldered spherical drops used to create decorative designs).

Animal motives are used that are typical for the ancient traditions of the Near East.

As I state on my Pinterest board Jewellery through the Ages, I am always amazed what my fellow craftsmen from long ago could accomplish without the means of electricity. 

Etruscan Gold Fibula

Etruscan Gold Fibula, detail.

Why I need to be playful

playfulness-anemoonPlayfulness is a state that makes me happy. If I play, I stop being critical. When I want to explore new ground it's necessary, because if I keep having a brake on my brain, nothing new can come out.

If I am in the play state, ideas flow easily. Actually too many ideas come up. I welcome it and are thankful for it. In a later state I will have a critically look and weed out the not so useful plans, but I do not throw them away, they stay in the inspiration map.

To get in the play state, I have to be happy. Going out in nature helps me to get in that state. Taking my camera with me makes me observe it in an intense way. It also feels like I invite ideas to come to me. Showing you the pictures I made last week of the Anemones gives you an impression what I mean. You can find even more in album on the La Leipsig facebook page: Abundance.

So here I sat on the ground absorbing all the beauty. At home it led in a certain way to new designs in my jewellery. That's why I love & need to observe nature.

Get outside & Keep playing!

A silver necklace named Playful Dragon, 'cause Dragons play too!

Silver necklace Playful Dragon.

Another blogpost about playfulness, my intention word for 2013.

The best reasons to travel to jewellery events.

Last weekend I was in Munich to visit Schmuck and Talente in the Handwerksmesse. Ofcourse I had a great time catching up on what's going on in the contemporary jewellery world, but for me it's not the main reason to go to Munich.

Christine Graf, enamel work.What I like best about these events is to re-connect with people I know from previous visits, like I did with Christine Graf.
Together with her, I visited the Galerie für Angewandte Kunst to see "Transit, contemporary jewellery from Israel". Afterwards we went for a coffee and talked about our developments in work and what we liked about the activities in Munich. Christine lives & works in Munich and has a relaxed way off approaching the shows. She can spread them more out over a week while I had to smash them into two days. With the massive amount of shows something I had to plan ahead and take good walking shoes with me!

Spring in Munich.We had so much luck with the weather, it was sunny although a bit cold. But I could spot the spring already in the trees. (Well, I can't help that I always see nature although I am in a big city).

Another reason to go is to meet new people. So in my opinion the best show to go too this time was Handshake, a project that I supported through Pledge. I wanted to meet the makers and shake hands with them. Well... I did!

It's an enthousiastic group of people from New Zealand, who are brought together by Peter Deckers & Hilda Gascard in a mentoring project. It connects emerging jewellers with their chosen jewellery hero from across the world. Read further about HandShake on their own blog.

Sarah Read in Munich for HandShake.I made a wonderful connection with Sarah Read, one of the participants. Her hero is Iris Eichenberg. The resulting project is called Home from Home. It's all about serendipity and flying out when necessary.

"The project is designed to extricate me from my comfort zone and open up avenues of exploration that I cannot yet imagine. I'm looking to travel – in my work as well as in the world – via a series of short-stay research residencies in the homes of friendly strangers."  -Sarah Read

And guess where she's gonna stay?

Yup, in my house. Spontaneously I jumped into the project and we'll see what happens. I even got the last gold plated key. It will be a two-way stay, so one day I have to go to Sarah in Wellington, New Zealand. I am already looking forward.

More about the jewellery in the next Munich post...

Sarah Read's gold plated key, symbol of the Home from Home project.


Jewellery in Munich during Schmuck 2013

schmuck catalog 2012Every year in March makers, wearers and onlookers of jewellery are gathered in Munich, Germany, to see and talk about studio-jewellery in all its aspects.

How did this happen?

It all started with the first special jewellery show “Schmuck” in 1959, initialized by Herbert Hoffmann. It was and still is, part of the Internationale Handwerksmesse (trade fair), an annual sales exhibition in Munich.  The fair in 2013 exists of 6 big halls where around 900 businesses representing more than 60 trades are displaying their innovative products.

Hal B1 is dedicated to Handcraft & Design, showing woodwork, bavarian clothing, glasswork and more beside independent jewellery designers. This hal B1 is also were the jewellery exhibition “Schmuck” is located.

Since 1973 the Herbert Hofmann Award is given to work in this exhibition.
The work that is awarded is weight on “innovativeness, originality of conception, outstanding execution, and ornamental effect”, according to the catalogue.
In 2012 prizes were awarded to Alexander Blank, Despo Sophocleous and Tore Svensson.

In conjunction with “Schmuck” there is, since 1979, also Talente. Here young artists till 35 year can send in work to be juried into the exhibition. Quote from the Fair site: “TALENTE is an international competition for young craftsmen and women in design and technology. This special show reflects the ideas of young people in the context of an experimental approach to materials and craft techniques. The best entries are awarded the highly sought-after TALENTE prize”  Talente 2012 winner was Märta Mattsson.

Marta Mattson talente 2012

Galleries in Munich town soon saw the opportunity of the people already gathered around this prestigeous prize and made sure they offered gallery openings with new work. So the Schmuck exhibition became the name giver of the whole event of showing and talking about contemporary jewellery in Munich. It’s also known as “Jewellery in Munich”.

It attracts many jewellery aficionados, as I am one. This compact leaflet Jewellery in Munich 2013 gives you an idea of all that happens in town.

In 2012 I joined the organized trip from Art Jewelry Forum to being led around in the city of Munich. This was an excellent choice because of the opportunities to visit studio’s of artists, the Academy of Fine Arts and several galleries with a tour. The complete review about my 2012 trip to Munich is published on their site:  Art Jewelry Forum in Munich.

Helen Britton explaining her jewellery to AJF members.


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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