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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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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

Golden Evening Primrose

"Plop" and then it was open, the Evening Primrose.

Days in the planning inside the flower bud.
It’s a pioneer plant that grows on suddenly open fields with big yellow cup shaped petals.

The flower, who has a delicate and sweet smell, opens very quickly.
It's an amazing sight that I managed to capture in this real-time video:

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This summer was a time of reflection.

I had to turn my eyes inside and answer some questions. What are my motives to go on with La Leipsig Jewels? How can I serve my customers best? Am I still a fan of metal clay? What have I accomplished till now? How does my energy level work now I am getting older?

My son left the house in May. Having only one child, this made me an empty nester. That had to get a place too. The last year we had more fights than that it was fun at home.

It was an erosive power. (No wonder I have a fascination for earth’s most powerful process!)

So I gave myself time to rest, to get a fresh perspective. I made long walks with our shepherd dog, worked in the garden. Took responsibility for my weight loss and consulted a food-coach (with good result, I gained 3 kilo).

On the business level I invested in 3 courses on Creativelive. First was Tara Gentile's Build a Stand-Out Biz, second Megan Auman's Make a living Selling what you Make and last but not least an online conference about improving your holiday sales.

I love learning and being able to do this at home at my computer suits me. You get top education geared towards new technologies. It’s a mental investment, it helped me to answer the questions I had and to gain more body, to mature ...

With this knowledge I am ready to make changes in my company. I will retire several collections.
(with my first-ever sample sale, subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to know)

Then I'm going to focus on the remaining collections and deepen the series.

I feel now as the Evening Primrose, ready, no, eager to bloom!

It's time :-)

 

evening primrose

 

How to wear the necklace Take Flight

LaLeipsig photoshoot setupTwo weeks ago I got a request to show the necklace Take Flight while I was wearing it.

After the first contact I didn't manage to find somebody to get a good picture of me. Then there where some life issues (my son leaving the house) and before I knew it, I was already a week late in responding to Greetje.

I paralyzed instead of taking action.
I know, I know, not smart but sometimes it happens to me.

A few questions kept going around in my brain: How do fashionbloggers record their outfits? How do they manage to take great pictures from themselves everytime? Do they all have a personal photographer at hand?  I don't think so! I guess most of them manage to do it themselves with aid of a tripod.

Last Saturday I took my tripod out but was utterly unhappy with the result. Not a good background and no good focus.

Today I made a second try. Now I got the bright idea of using an old mannequin so I could focus on the right spot. [duh!] I also found a good spot in my garden that had a neutral green background. Then I went through my closet to find the best suitable dress. Take Flight is a one-of-a-kind silver & gold necklace and it deserves a prominent place.

I chose an a-symmetric little black dress that I bought years ago at Donna Donna, a lovely shop in Venlo. The dress is one of my favorites. Easy to wear and it shows of the necklace perfectly.

This is the result as good as I can get. On this moment.

LaLeipsig take Flight necklace 6085

LaLeipsig take Flight uitsnede

Greetje, I hope you do get a better view of this special necklace. Thank you for pushing me a step further in showing my work. Greetje is blogger at No Fear of Fashion who I love to follow because of her vivid & fearless style.

 

Blog around the World

vickie cloud-broochIf my memory is correct I met Vickie Hallmark in 2010 in Purdue on the 4th PMC conference (PMC=precious metal clay). Through facebook we were able to keep in touch and met again in 2012 on the last PMC conference in Cincinnati.

Vickie is an artist who develops several sides of herself, knowing how difficult this can be, I admire her growing process.

Her question to participate in this bloghop I couldn't resist. This was an opportunity to grow!

Vickie and I share a mutual interest in making jewelry with Metal Clay. She combines Metal Clay with Argentium, in a lovely naturalistic style with birds & flowers & trees.

vickie birdOn a deeper level I have a click with her affirmation drawings and book making.

Inspired by her I made a little affirmation book myself. I felt the power of working with my artist side to create a deeper connection with myself.

I guess we do follow each other as we recognize a similar style in developing our abilities to create. 

 

The core of this bloghop are 4 questions that we all have to answer. They made me re-think my motives in making jewelry and that’s a good thing! A question can bring new insights.

 

What am I working on?
I just finished an inner star ring. My Inner Stars stand symbol to what’s important to you, how do you let your star shine?

In this case it was a custom design: I got a picture from the customer of her cat with a striking fur pattern. I re-worked it in photoshop till it fitted the template. I like the process of working together with my client to make a custom reliëf that will be applied to the surface of the stars. It makes the stars really theirs.  

helga Gizmo-ster-ring

 

Parallel to the jewellery work, I am working on a few personal issue that stop me from creating new work. It has been a bit of a weird year. My new Erosion collection has to do with it. The grinding of daily live can take a toll but what survives is often of beauty. The most striking structures in Nature appear when erosion has played its part.

I’ve given myself some time to find out what is going on. It’s part of my creation process (sorry if it sound a bit vague but it is part of being in the middle of a process).

 

How does my work differ from others of its genre?
More stylized & abstract then most of the Metal Clay work I think. I combine my traditional metalsmithing skills with Metal Clay to create strong & elegant jewelry.

 

Why do I write/create what I do?
I just have to, it’s part of me. My creation process is part of understanding who I am. Often I don’t know yet what I want to say with what I make. I see metaphors in Nature, often they explain what I couldn’t understand beforehand.

ring furrow earthTake for example my ring Field#1 from the earth series. I was attracted by farmers ploughing, the lines in the fields. I shot pictures of the iron plough entering the earth, tearing it open. Through the process of ploughing it’s possible that water and air enters the earth so seeds can grow.

This mingled with my own life perception. It was necessary that I opened myself for new experiences so I could grow.
With this image I started to work with little silver square elements pushing them into the Silver Clay. Simulating the primitive forces and experiencing the process myself.

The result is a powerful ring in which you recognize the lines of a ploughed field. The gold rim symbolizes the active process that is involved.

 

How does my writing/creating process work?
Intuitive following threads, taking lots of pictures, writing on my blog, drawing, thinking, playing, lots of tests with porcelain clay. Now repeat all this many times over.

 


Unfortunately I was unable to find bloggers to hop after me. So I am making a twist here and guide you towards Sue McNenly a wonderful artist with a lot to say ;-) who does the bloghop as well.

I just love her new series: Secret Garden.

sue egg3

 

Then I am adding these friends just because I can:
Evelyn Pelati with stylish art deco inspired designs
Maggie Bergman in Australia, the enamel & experimentation queen.
Angela B. Crispin in France, because I still want to visit her :-)
Catherine Witherell because of her ever expanding enthousiasm.

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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