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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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Egyptian goldsmiths inspired by Blue Water Lily

Historic Jewellery talks but you have to listen carefully – part 3

Part of the reason why I am doing this series is that I want to research what the oldest goldsmiths did.  Unfortunately I didn’t encounter any ancient images of my profession during the writing of my post for the beautiful jewel from Mesopotamian.

Egypt however, has more to offer.

In Saqqara I found the oldest evidence in the Mastaba from Vizier Meruka. The tomb is from the 6th Dynasty (2500BC) when Farao Teti reigned. There you will find a relief on the East wall of chamber A3 picturing goldsmiths. On the first line you can see how metalworkers first melt and then pour the gold and finally (of what survives) the beating of the solified gold into foil. The second line shows the production of collars and pectorals. (mouse over the image to see a line drawing)

lotus-mereruka-goldsmith-sullivan

The 2nd image is in Luxor  (Thebes) in the tomb of Nebamon and Ipuky from the 18th dynasty (1390–1350BC). In it is a coloured display of metalworkers. The drawing here is from N. de Gares Davies who made it in 1921.

Afterwards the mural faded and was damaged by tomb robbers! Lucky this painting exists. If you click on the image you can see it full-size on the Met-museum site.

lotus-Nebamon-mural-goldsmith-metmuseum

Both read like a comic book. It starts with weighing of the gold and then the processing steps in making jewellery. Take note to the fact that in those days the craftsmen only had bronze tools!

One of the typical Egyptian craftsmanship was the ability to shape a hard stone like Carnelian or Lapiz Lazuli into an inlay to fit snugly within a cloison. Instead of stone they also knew how to make glass that they used as substitute for stones, a skill that was regarded highly.

lotus-ring-art-waltersTake this example of rings from the 18th dynasty (1400-1200BC) that are in The Walters Art museum in Baltimore. There are 2 gold rings with symbolised flowers.

The ring on the right with the red Carnelian and Lapiz Lazuli even has small buds of the flower in gold.

The ring left with the delicate granulation rim uses light and dark blue glass. The white is also glass with small purple speckles.

Both are made in the typical Egyptian cloison style.

The Walters calls them Lotus rings but the actual flower that inspired the goldsmith was the Blue Egyptian water Lily.

The Lily is known for opening up each morning showing the intense golden center set against the blue petals. An imitation of the sun in the sky while releasing a sweet perfume. In the afternoon it would close again only to open up the next 2 or 3 days. Because of this pattern, that reminds of the rising and setting of the sun, its religious significance was great.

lotus-lily-egyptianFor the Egyptians it was a symbol of re-surrection or rebirth and connected to the sun god Ra.

It still is the national flower of Egypt.

You can find a lot of stylized lilies in the art work of the Egyptians. To the right you see a sketch I made from an art work depicting a Lily.

Egyptian artists are well-known for their faithful representation of nature and at the same time combining it with the magical and spiritual.  I wonder if the ancient people made a distinction between amulet and jewellery?

 

 

You can find more images on my pinterest page

Sign up for my newsletter to follow these series

 

 

 Historic Jewellery talks but you have to listen carefully
 - an ongoing reseach by Helga about the origine of metalsmithing -

 1 Why the king of Ur ordered a Lion-headed Eagle

 2 75.000 year old shells considered jewellery material

Quantity Sketching 2014

Last year I enjoyed some leisure activities because of my intention word PLAY. It released me from doing everything with a purpose. It has been a good word for me to explore my motivations for creating.

Play was also a big part in my Summer Art Residence At Home. In it I re-discovered my love for sketching. It helped me to research my subjects deeper. Throughout autumn I noticed I was scribbling more onto paper. Eventually they showed up in some of my blogs.

Zwaluwen-tekening


Since December I am pondering about doing a sketch every day.
I like sketching but tend to forget to do it regularly.

I was even more inspired when I read John Muir’s blogpost about drawing called: Quantity, not Quality.  Among other very valuable advise he says that the best approach is simply to make lots of drawings.

John Muir is an illustrator with a deep love for Nature and shares his knowledge on his blog. He states that “journaling makes you a better observer, naturalist, and artist and opens a world of beauty and discovery”. I agree with him.

Then I read on Facebook that Elizabeth Agte was looking for a new challenge in 2014. I told her about my intention to sketch. A few people immediately asked if they could join. Which made me decide to start a facebook group so others can join me in my intention and that we can encourage each other.

I invite you to join me in this Facebook group called Quantity Sketching 2014 (inspired by John’s post). There we can share our drawings and challenge each other to keep on track.

As I love to use Pinterest I already started a board to collect my sketches in one place. I hope when you decide to participate that you have a digital spot where we can look at your drawings. It is also possible is to make an album in the fbgroup and collect them there. It is up to you.

I am not going to do anything fancy. I’ll take a few white sheets of paper, staple them together and start sketching on the first of January. It will be about quantity and I will see what it will bring me.

On the road to Christmas ...

It have been some busy weeks. My original blogplan didn’t work out but sometimes you have to be a bit flexible when other things are more important.

inner-star-silver miniIt started with the preparations for the Christmas market in Amsterdam. I designed a new display to show my jewellery. It took a lot of time but was very satisfying to make and worked really well. Then I made more small versions of the Inner Star, as some people add them to charm bracelets or use them as tiny pendants.

It’s always the challenge to calmly finish all the plans you have for a marketday. Then you can enjoy encountering new people and engage in fun conversations. As was the case on the Sunday market.

This time my son assisted me. He has a very good eye for construction and is more organised than I am. While I was busy arranging the jewellery he also made sure I had an internet connection. This is important because I now have a payment solution so people can pay with cards, very practical!

Then I went to stay with Yolanda Nieuwboer in Almere. I had applied for a private lesson focused on soldering. I wanted to step up my technical skills. Taking lessons from a master goldsmith with a lot of teaching experience is the way to go! Thank you Yolanda, you have taught me a lot that I can use in future designs.

soldeer les Yolanda

Last was a workshop Branding on Tuesday at the local Chamber of Commerce. Anja van Rijen, a fellow artist (working in ceramics), had invited me to come along. It really felt like a present. I learned tons and made new contacts as well. But then my head was full of knowledge and my studio a mess.

It was time for a day off.

Having a good sleep and a long walk with the dog was a good start. Working in the garden, such as raking leaves and pruning conifers for Christmas decorations is something that gets the tension out of me.

Christmas is coming fast now, I always turn inward, it’s a time of reflection. I look back on what I've accomplished this year and be grateful for it. I want to celebrate what I have achieved. Only then it can get silent in me and am I able to listen what I want to achieve next year.

I wish you all merry days,
enjoy this beautiful time of the year with your family and friends.

 

inner-star Cambia-goud-accent

Words and themes connected to Water symbolism

water-cuba-zeeSince my blogpost Symbolism in Helga's jewellery, I am struggling with my story about the symbolism of water. I wrote many lines of what it means to me.

Very difficult because in the end I couldn't choose. It was as if a dam had been built somewhere in the river. The water couldn't get through, but it kept rising.

Fortunately my intention word for this year came to the rescue: PLAYFULNESS

It occurred to me that I shouldn't have to make it that complicated. It can be a kind of game to explore what it means. Show you which words and themes are associated with water and are important with respect to my jewellery. I don't have to make any revelations, it's about the associations.

So what did I do?

I put all the words that historically and intuitively belong to the symbol water on an A4. Then I started playing. If something was important to me, it got big letters.  Through colours I could indicate an emotion (and yes, colour was used symbolically).

My former job as a graphic designer came in handy while playing. The fonts also have a certain kind of feel that I used for the words.

In this way, my creativity began to flow again, and I had fun in the process.
And that's exactly the point.

The green words on the card are my own associations with water.

 
water-symbols

A practical overview of words and themes that historically and intuitively
are connected to water symbolism
.

 

La Roux, a new collection

La Roux silver pendant La Roux is a happy and playful series that originated after a cooking accident and some great comments from friends (online and offline). In this blog you can read how the burnt roux was converted into a mold and the 1st silver La Roux pendant was created.

Then I made a matching pair of earrings and took these La Roux jewellery to the different art markets. There they were exposed to a larger audience . It is a series that always manages to catch a lot of attention (especially if I tell how it's created).

Karin was one of my clients who fell for the charm of these jewels. She bought the pendant and earrings that I had with me and then ordered a ring and a year later the bracelet. She now has a matching set and wears them with pleasure.

I am very pleased with the La Roux jewelry, in the course of a year they have become a mature collection. It seems such a simple series but there is an incredible force in them, the power of collaboration and fun.

Like the power of a waterfall, sparkling and flowing.

Zilveren armband La Roux serie - La Leipsig Jewels.

It's about time that the La Roux collection is put online (butterflies in my stomach - exciting). I'm curious what you think of it.

Every picture clicks through to the jewelery section where you can find more information. Ordering is done by sending me an email with the name of the piece.
Then we will talk about size and any other requirements.

 

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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