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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 ...
please leave a comment.

I read (and react on) every message!

Cheers,
Helga

 

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Dragonplay 2016

For over a year I have been living, together with hundreds of other volunteers, towards The Dragonplay.

Now we are right in the middle. The first show has been and we can see the result of all our hard work.

We can be proud!
15.000 tickets have been sold over 6 performances with as final a historic parade through our village Beesel.

My part has been the organisation of making the props of the play. With a group of 6 people we did a lot of work.
The Dragonplay is only once in 7 years, it is a big time investment in the village. We are doing it all together!

But now it is about time I get working on my own creations again. 

The Dragon from the dragonplay in Beesel.

 

A Silver Hydrangea Pendant

One of the most beautiful flowers in my garden are the Hydrangea's. They blossom in pure white, soft pink and deep blue. Each one with their own personality. My favorite is the blue variety. I never get tired at watching this particular color. It has been often subject of my photografic sessions.

hortensia blauw zilver

When I got a commision for making a pendant inspired by a Hydrangea I didn't hesitate. Working from pictures and the real flowers I designed a few pieces. 

On the pictures you see a part of the building proces.

 hortensia silver making off

  

hortensia zilveren hanger

 

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 

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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