Silver Art Jewellery  
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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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I read (and react on) every message!

Cheers,
Helga

 

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Festina Lente - Make Haste Slowly

The Tortoise & the Hare After reading an eye opening article called The Default Parent, I know why I am so frustrated lately.

A family needs a captain and in our house that’s me.

My work gives way to tasks concerning the household and the people in it. That’s no problem, I handle it, but in the end there is less energy left for LLJ.

Particularly if the energy left is used in blaming myself for not doing enough (what is enough anyway?). Or surfing online, comparing myself with other artists!

Slowly I have come to peace with the fact that my company LLJ will grow organically with the pace of a tortoise. Fortunately I have much affinity with this beautiful determined animal.

I am one of those lucky people that knows what she wants to do in life. I observe natures growing processes and translate them into jewellery, with help of my favourite material: precious metal clay.

So I have found solace in the fable from Aesopus the Tortoise & the Hare.
Make haste slowly – Festina Lente (the motto of my hometown).
I too will get to the finish in my own pace, on my own conditions.

From Quin McDonalds blog I learned to record my own progress in a journal.
Did I get one step closer to realization of my dream/goal today?

Good!

That’s enough.

No longer am I tempted to compare myself with other people, with other life’s.

I live my own life!

 

Enjoy Life, Ray by Ray.

From holiday to exhibition, a short story:

In September I presented my new jewellery in gallery ‘t Achterhuis in Roermond.  My pendant "Take Flight", finalist in the Saul Bell Award, has been the culprit of this new collection.  It's still a young series and I have yet to discover what it’s all about, but this is how it started:

Because we were in America for the Saul Bell Award gala we combined it with a holiday in Utah and Arizona. I became impressed by the incredible erosion forces that you see and experience in the Colorado Plateau. It’s a plateau lifted by landslides and eroded by water.

antelope canyonNowadays you can’t see much water anymore. Only the result of these powerful forces, like in Zion, Antelope and the Grand Canyon. You can see glimpses of that force in my pictures from this trip. Eroded earth under the influence of light show beautiful red and purple hues.  Especially in Antelope Canyon.

Back home, I was difficult to start working. Combined with a lot of turmoil in my personal life a creative crisis with total standstill occurred. It seemed like I had to start all over again.

I took up the most basic artist materials there are. Sketching was one of them. Then chalk & drawings on the floor. It made me feel free and gave me back the pleasure of plain creating.

During my trip to Malta in April, where I gave a lecture for the IPCA, I won a large amount of polymer clay. This big stash of Polymer just screamed:
Come play with me! So I did. I experimented freely and introduced colour into my studio where silvery white and yellow gold dominate.

Looking back at the pictures of our America trip, I began to discover shapes. I wanted to capture the patterns that fascinated me. With sketching I investigated it further. The shapes were hidden in light and shadow, the contrast showed me forms.

Mimicking the shapes with polymer was the next step. Slowly idea’s formed and I was following a tread that gave much satisfaction.

With the pressing deadline (the exhibition in ‘t Achterhuis) all the experiments fell into place. A new jewellery line arose from all the work inspired by water grinding and eroding down soil to create new forms. 

A new collection called Erosion.

Antelope close-up pendant

Report from the Saul Bell Awards

helga patrick dinnerWhen I heard in November 2013 that I was a finalist for the Saul Bell Awards, my partner Patrick and I decided to build a big vacation around the award ceremony that would be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico in conjunction with the Santa Fe Symposium. I wanted to attend the award dinner and the symposium, whatever the verdict, and I am so glad we did. Being immersed in the buzz of an award ceremony, meeting the winners from the other categories and hanging out with Anna Mazon was totally worth it!

helga anna yvonneThe whole evening was perfectly organised. Entering the large ballroom, guests encountered cases where the finalists' jewelry was prominently displayed. Each piece was carefully lit so viewers could see every detail. I was impressed to see that every selection gets the attention it deserves.

During dinner Yvonne Padilla, Content Manager at Rio Grande, introduced Anna and me to several people from the company; such a great group of people. The ceremony itself started with short videos of all the winning artists compiled in a charming and humorous way. Then Alan Bell, President of Rio Grande, called up the artists one by one for each category and congratulated us publicly. Standing there as one of the nominees made me feel proud of my achievement. Seeing Anna and Christie getting recognition for their hard work was priceless.

helga awardThis year was the first time the Saul Bell Awards ceremony was combined with the Santa Fe Symposium. It was great to mingle with the symposium attendees, a group that includes leaders in jewelry production technology from around the world. While casting, 3D printing and fabrication were well represented, I found that many attendees still didn't understand much about metal clay and the benefits it can bring to the field. Being at the symposium has given me a greater understanding of how the jewelry industry works and a new perspective on making production work to earn a profit.

Patrick and I took three weeks to explore the American Southwest, including a trek to the floor of the Grand Canyon. When I returned home, I received a handsome book that features all the finalists' pieces along with text from the artists describing the motivation behind their work. This will be a great tool to show during art markets and expositions as well as a meaningful reminder of this very special chapter in my life.

fly- 5083 Take Flight
Finalist in the Metal Clay category 2014.

Mandala's in a colourful collaboration

Colouring a Mandala.Beginning this summer I was able to buy a 2nd hand, un-used colour book from Rüdiger Dahlke.

It was full of fascinating patterns and explanations about mandala’s. I decided to work in this book during this summer’s Art Residence.

It was an excellent way to relax my brain while playing with colour. It doesn’t matter if you are called away, you can always start again.

After colouring several patterns, I felt the need to construct my own design. It helped me to intensify the experience and it was a lovely way to play with geometry.

mandala designWith a passer and ruler I drew several mandala’s. One particular I liked a lot. It’s a year mandala featuring the seasons. (remember my intention to explore nature a bit more) Left-upper part is spring, then clockwise summer, autumn, winter.

Towards the edge are 12 circles that represent the months. 52 weeks are hidden in the outer rim.

While drawing I had an idea to ask my Quantity Sketching group if they didn’t want to design a mandala for each of the 12 circles. When I explained this idea to Geerthe, a member of Quantity Sketching who came for a drawing date, she immediately wanted to have August. I proposed it to the group and within a few days, mandala’s where posted in the sketch group.

The total mandala is now on the floor in our future Gallery. I just love to draw on that floor with chalk. You can see them here in the picture. It turned out to be a lovely collaboration piece. I love my QS chums! I would never had had this idea if I wasn't united in this sketch group. I went with the flow and this came out of it.

mandala totaal 7850

The whole 6 meter wide mandala on the floor.

Making (and colouring) these mandala's has been very healing for me. I have been stuck all spring and early summer. This project gave me new energy, replenished my creative battery. I am able to tap into my child energy again, the one that could play for hours with pencils & chalk.

The closer I can stay to my own nature, the better.

 

mandala-QS-group

These are the 12 small mandala's made for each month.
The motivation of the artist is below.

 

Barb: January means snow, to me, so I made a snow flake. The curves with three circles represent a snowball rolling down hill and gathering size. January is a quiet month in Maine and a time when I am not yet tired of seeing snow.

Vicki: February means snow here so I made snowflakes nestled together. There are also women standing together with a few snowflakes between them.

Meenu: March signifies to me the beauty of spring and the promise of a wonderful summer. It is known as Falgun in hindu calender, the month of Spring and the festival of colors holi. I started with a star symbolising the sun. I drew goddess laxmi feet on the left and right, a symbol of praying for abundance and wellness for all. The next circle symbolizes the festival of holi, a celebration of colors. The outermost blossom represents the spring and the regenerative cycle of life.

Helga: April, Farmers ploughing and sowing seeds.

Helga: May mandala. Inspiration is from my favorite flower, the columbine. This flower has 5 leaves and 5 spurs. I have very stylistic made it into a 2D flower. I started with drawing several circles, after the drawing I erased the lines I didn't need.

Jennie: June. it's the lady breaking into June, carving out some space (and peace) in the calendar.

Carol: My birthday is July and this was loosely based on sunflower which is the colour of summer for me, though now I live in Australia July is middle of winter.

Geerthe: August...sunflower as inspiration...took the fractals from the center more to the outer center...to make it easier to draw.

Katie: September. The theme is Harvest, with the center representing a cornucopia (harvest basket) and the outer rings showing stylized shafts of wheat. In between the wheat shafts I have added seeds. These represent the cycle of growth/harvest/dormancy. Seeds that are buried at the end of season create new growth in the spring, thus allowing for another harvest.

Helga: October starts to be colder again, we turn inside for rest and contemplation.

Rohana: November. First ever mandala; my inspiration came from the stylised tulip in a stained glass panel I made years ago in a draughty Edinburgh shed one grey November.

Elizabeth: December, and I decided on Santa Lucia, her wreath with the candles, and the dark sky with stars for the winter solstice.

 

Develop Observing Skills with Sketching

In July 2013 I did a week long art retreat just in my own home.

I call it S.A.R.A.H.: Summer Art Residence At Home.  I experienced that it’s possible to do a retreat on your own. It just needs a plan and some discipline.

Why do I want to do an art residence?
What is it that I need?

It’s a way to reset myself to start looking with fresh eyes.
A holiday from my usual creative work.

Daisy between stones

If you go away to an outdoor retreat, you pick something that attracts you to grow further. Some of the program you will like, some of it not. They will provide you with a structure to focus totally on playing & creating.

When doing it yourself, you can tailor to your own needs and pick exactly what you want to focus on to grow. I wanted to focus on making a connection with nature. Not only what you see outside, but also within. What gives me creative pleasure? The downside is: having the discipline to keep on going.

KaibabLast year I managed to block out a whole week, which wasn’t possible this time. I am raising a new dog. As you know puppies demand a lot of attention and Kaibab is no different.

Instead of a focused week of Summer Art Residence At Home I spread it out over July and August.  Whenever the dog slept or occupied itself, I emerged myself in creative action. I chose activities that could be interrupted without ruining the result.

Like last year, I made a list of projects I wanted to do. Just following my own intuition what could make me grow. One of them was sketching.

Quantity sketching

Since the beginning of this year I try to sketch as much as possible. I even started a group with likewise enthousiast on facebook to encourage each other. You can read about it in this post. It’s an inspiring group which I love to have as my friends & sketch buddies.

Doing a sketch a day seemed like a very logical thing to do in this summer’s retreat. It only takes 20 minutes to a half hour and if necessary you can stop because of distractions. Paper is patient.

#DrawingAugust

To motivate me even a bit more I take part in #DrawingAugust. A challenge from @JeanStevens4 on twitter to draw every day in August. It’s a group of advanced artists, I feel like I just scribble. Click here for my twitter account.

Drawing Basil

Develop Observing skills

My drawing subjects are plants & flowers. I take close looks at them, noticing their everlasting beauty. It fuels my image library and makes me love the plant life on my farm even more.

The purpose is to develop observing skills, learn to look better. I enjoy counting the leaves and looking at positions of leaves. Like Basil, which has opposite leaves.  It’s like my series “Abundance of Nature” (which is observation with a photocamera).

I have now 102 sketches. Some you can find on my pinterest board.

A sketch a day, doesn’t take much time, but adding it up, it becomes a huge body of work. I am glad I incorporated it into S.A.R.A.H.

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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