Advanced Jewellery Diploma review – back to school again!

Back in September 2015, after a year of jewellery making in an evening class, I took the plunge and decided to use up a good chunk of annual leave on a two-week Advanced Diploma in Creative Jewellery Course at London Jewellery School.

Real school wasn’t easy peasy for me. As it turns out, I am a stealth dyslexic who muddled through, mildly stressed-out, until a lecturer found me out through the help of a particularly nonsensical essay. So I was slightly nervous rather than excited going into my two-week staycation learning holiday. I already knew I really enjoyed making jewellery, but had been making my first pieces in a very excited, thankful-it-was-going-well kind of way and was a little undisciplined when it came to perfecting techniques. I still work a little in this manner, cracking on with each new idea, as it’s what I enjoy about making. The structure of this course, with specific days for designing and the various methods of making (and focussing on the different techniques within this), really helped to control my natural inclination to work in a scattered way. Although this course was ideal to rein in and consolidate ideas, I feel it would be equally beneficial to students approaching these weeks looking for creative inspiration.

Having whole days devoted to making was such a treat, I felt like a proper jeweller. All the tutors are practising, exhibiting and selling their work, so the conversations in the classes were often helpful beyond the subject being covered and I felt genuinely encouraged by people who knew their onions.

Speaking of onions… One of the areas where I had little formal training and had practiced at home the least was wax carving and so in that way that it felt that it was stretching me to learn – these two days of designing and making were a little like going back to school. I love the products (or should I say produce) of these days. These bad boys are perfect for me, they are heavy, ridiculous and pun-tastic. The expertise of the tutors was there to make the heavy and ridiculous aspects non-essential qualities of this design. This advice always assumes that you may want to start your own business; these pieces could be made lighter and more wearable and it considers the cost of casting as well as the customer experience of the piece.  I also could not have managed to create such spheres without the patient help of an expert.

Onions

Another thing that attracted me to sign up for this particular course was the prospect of the work placement, usually a week long, that staff will help you to arrange within an area that is of interest to you. I did mine with JC (Just Castings in Hatton Garden) and it was an invaluable insight into the process of casting, CAD design, plating, 3D printing and finishing jewellery to professional standards –but this is another story in itself. I wear the silver ‘haribo’ ring I made there every day. Along with many other pieces from my happy little jewellery holiday.

I would recommend (and have recommended) treating yourself to this course, I signed up after a quick visit to the studios but there are taster classes and you can visit on an exhibition day (next one is 7th July 6.30-8pm, no need to book). Essentially I left the course feeling like I had achieved real goals I didn’t even realise I had at the beginning and with a certificate to prove it!  It also led to the potential to sell my work, something that I have mostly kept in my back pocket until the opportunity to sell through an immersive art show last December presented itself.

Polishing up your potential

The small class sizes at the London Jewellery School means that you get a lot of expert tuition in the classes, making it possible to cover a range of techniques in these weeks. The course description gives a really good idea of what you will learn but here is a quick run through of my experience on the course.

The course starts with a design day, a great chance to think about what you want to make and ways to go about making pieces for the projects ahead. As we were a very small group, we also had time to start experimenting with resin.

Day two was for learning cold connections, truly riveting stuff! This involves looking at ways to join materials without soldering, a great technique for moving pieces or mixed media. I made a decorative hinge that I later used for an oyster card holder, various animal shapes as testers to hold metal pieces together, a technique I later used on a Perspex and sea glass silver ring.

Fold forming was next, a really fun and loud technique for creating shapes and textures through excessive hammering. We made silver origami frogs amongst other experiments (I attempted my usual crane but a simpler design that another student knew was more effective), seen here with the squashed frog necklace. When fold forming goes wrong it can still be pretty interesting (I love this piece but would recommend a simple boat as a fail-safe alternative.)

2017-05-07 15.59.05_Edited (1)

The two days of mixed media jewellery making were a total dream of experimenting and resolving ideas through different techniques. Making a sea glass, silver and perspex ring with rivets, a wooden neckpiece with a tube of multi-coloured macramé and perspex fastenings to hang from, some ‘Banana handbag’ earrings and a spirit level cuff. So not a bad haul at all. This was so useful as a chance to explore different materials and how to work with them. Great for exploring colour, shape and using bits and pieces you may not have considered using before.

The two days of stone setting were honing specific techniques that could be employed in any piece after the course and also resulted in 3 wearable items. Each of these techniques was challenging in its own way and I felt that each was improving my making skills in a recognisable way. These were channel, collet and claw settings and pictures of these 3 pieces were posted on the Schools’ Instagram account, a small gesture that was really encouraging, as probably only friends would have seen my work before.

Bean

Bean ring (magic beans for growth)

The last day of the taught course was recycling silver. I had done a little bit of silver recycling before so didn’t expect that going through the process in a structured manner would shed that much light on a technique. However, melting my silver scraps in the crucible on this day produced a really fun ‘Bean’ ring, a product of the natural shape and texture that can be achieved with this technique. I had already made some cast vegetable jewellery so it fits into my little collection nicely and its smoothness makes it distinctly more wearable than my Romanesco Cauliflower ring. One of the tutors recently reminded me to follow up the ‘food jewellery’ and get selling my work. This really illustrated to me how much they genuinely care about nurturing any ambitions you might be trying to shy away from and keep you making jewellery! Magic beans indeed!

Interested in finding out more about the Advanced Diploma in Creative Jewellery? Our next intake is Monday 4th September 2017. Take a look at our website for more information. Have questions? Give us a call on 0203 176 0546

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

 

Summer sale – 25% off day and evening classes!

The weather may be changeable but our hot hot hot summer sale is here! Get 25% off day and evening classes!

You can book any available class in 2017 and can book on as many eligible classes as you want! But hurry, places go quickly so make sure you book early to get the class and date you want.

Day classes

You can choose from any of these day classes with available places

Beading and wire

Glass and enamel

Metal clay

Silver jewellery

Resin and perspex

Fashion and design

Wax carving

Polymer clay

Jewellery business

 

Evening classes

Or any of these evening classes!

 

How to book

You can book online or over the phone (0203 176 0546) with discount code 04061701

 

Which class have you had your eye on? Now’s the perfect time to book your place!

 

The pesky terms and conditions

25% discount is available on day classes and evening classes

Discount available on eligible classes while places are available or until 30th June 2017

Discount can be used as many times as you like!

Discount cannot be used on taster classes, certification classes, diploma courses, products from our shop, online or distance courses

Please check class dates carefully before booking as we regret we cannot give refunds or transfers

 

Smog Diamonds – World Environment Day 5th June

How jewellery will save the planet!

What a relief. I was wondering who would do it. (All my hopes were on Leonardo Di Caprio)

Although jewellery is often inspired by the natural world there is often little opportunity to give back to mother earth. Last year Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde invented a way of creating jewellery whilst cleansing the skies. His towers in Beijing were designed to scoop up polluted air, filter out the filth and release it back into the city up to 75% cleaner. The carbon from the smog is then transformed by pressure into diamonds in under half an hour.

Roosegaarde doesn’t like waste, so fingers crossed for our portable diamond producing face masks to pound the London pavements in style, as I am fairly sure there might be some spare smog round these parts.

smog diamond

Ideas for saving the world with jewellery are always welcome. Or, for now, save your pocket in our Summer Sale with 25% off evening and day courses using code 04061701 when booking online or over the phone (0203 176 0546).

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

 

Born to Rock! – Birthstones for June

June is just around the corner so our Sunday Studios manager Lil has been looking at some birthstone inspiration!

If you are born in June apparently you are romantic and curious. Even if you don’t believe everything the internet tells you about yourself, it is interesting to look at the birthstones for next month.

June babies get the choice of Moonstone, Alexandrite or Pearl and each presents its own type of mystery and romance.

Moonstone was once believed to be moonlight captured in solid form by ancient civilisations. Alexandrite, is capricious – changing colour from emerald green in the day to ruby red at night while Pearl is a naturally forming rarity from the depths of the sea.

For some reason I could never quite get on board with the appeal of a pearl until now. Pearl obviously lends itself so well to dainty pieces and bridal jewellery that I had dismissed them as a bit twee for me. However the following jewellers have managed to convince me of this stone’s potential to rock and a new appreciation for the traditional use of these calcium carbonate layered spheres. Metalurj is probably my favourite jeweller for unusual and interesting ways to set stones.

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Here the juxtaposition of the smoothness of a pearl next to oxidised silver means that these pieces have never been further from prissy. Another two designs that steer away from conventional trappings are this monochrome fishing net style ring and elaborate octopus hand piece-both cleverly referencing the pearl’s marine origin.

Sevan Bicakci 

Why not discover the potential of your birthstone and join us on one of our classes in Stone Setting or our Introduction to Gemstones classes? Or, if your birthday is around the corner, you might want to treat your curious side to a Pearl Knotting class.

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

Jewellery inspiration – the Shape of things

Recent visits to the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin and the Mies Van der Rohe and James Stirling exhibition ‘Circling the Square’ at the RIBA in London have inspired Lil to consider the design power of basic geometric shapes.

Shapes can be fascinating and inspiring and their simple, dynamic qualities can be enough to inspire a lifetime of jewellery making. A triangle is nature’s strongest shape and is often utilised in construction and engineering. The artist Giotto was considered a genius for his perfect drawing of a freehand circle, so it’s potentially worth practising in your spare time to fast track your Mensa application. Squares have much to recommend them too; they are regular, reliable, foldable and mathematically very handy.

Kandinsky, who began teaching at the Bauhaus experimental art school in 1922, believed in a system where certain shapes attributed themselves to particular colours. He felt that yellow belonged as a triangle, squares should be red and circles blue. He also had some interesting feelings about green. Sadly he felt this colour was self-satisfied, like a fat cow, but with hidden strength. I love green, but also cows, so maybe he was onto something.

The current exhibition at the Royal Institute of British Architects, documents the debates of one site in the City of London.  Here we can see two architects, designing years apart and in different styles, result in one building after decades of controversy. Architectural drawings and meticulously conserved and reconstructed models illustrate the project’s processes with accompanying videos and paraphernalia to contextualise the building that never was and the one that might never have been. Both schemes have a lot to recommend them in terms of ‘shapespiration’ (inspiration from shapes, hoping this will catch on), from Mies’s famous quote ‘Less is more’ to the handling of Stirling’s building that now stands at No.1 Poultry, with its interplay of shape and colour. If Stirling’s sketches don’t leave you inspired and the beautiful 1930’s building of the RIBA headquarters doesn’t hit the spot, hopefully some of my favourite shapely jewellery finds below will.

Thinking just about within the box with this circle band trapped in a cube ring by Etsuko Sonobe.

 Kioko Hashimoto allows this circular cabochon to brazenly defy its true (Kandinsky designated) colour.

 

Rhona McCallum shows us how to circle with squares with this angular silver marvel.

Not so square-jeweller Amy Glenn utilises these two handy shapes in her edgy ring designs.

If you are looking for a great way to fast track shaping your ideas into a wearable beauties like these check out our Diploma Courses in Creative Jewellery Making.

Boxing clever or circling the drain? Let us know how your projects are going in the comments below. Are you inspired by geometric shapes? How do they relate to your designs?

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

 

 

 

What can you learn in an evening?

Here at the London Jewellery School, we have classes of different lengths but which do you choose if you’d just like to try out a new technique? Tutor Anna Campbell gives you the lowdown on our taster classes

 

What are taster classes?
Our taster classes are short evening classes designed to get you started with a new technique. What’s great is that by the end of the class you will have made at least one piece of jewellery and will have a good idea about whether you would like to take a longer or more advanced class in that technique.

 

When are taster classes run?
Our taster classes are run on weekday evenings from 6.30-9pm so are perfect for those who work in London to attend. You can see the complete list of all our taster classes here along with the scheduled dates for the year.

 

What can I learn?

Our expert tutors teach taster classes in a wide variety of subjects including

Beading

Cocktail rings

Silver clay

Soutache

Perspex jewellery

Make a fascinator

Hand stamped silver

Silver stacked rings

Wax carving

Polymer clay

Introduction to gemstones

 

And more!

 

Here are a few of the classes that are coming up

 

Wax carving

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Next available date: Tuesday 23rd May 6.30-9pm

Learn to make a simple but beautiful wax carved ring in just one evening! And your ring will be totally unique!

This class is a great introduction to wax carving and is often taken before doing our Beginners Wax Carving course and is a great one to do with friends as a fun evening out.  

Throughout the evening our experienced tutor will guide you through the process of sizing, shaping and carving the wax using hand tools and heat, adding a texture to your ring if you like.

By the end of the class you will have created your unique wax carved ring which we will then arrange to be cast into your choice of metal (silver, copper or bronze), and it will be completely polished and finished for you ready to wear. Your ring will be posted out to you within 3 weeks of the class or you are welcome to collect it from the School. Best of all this is included in the cost of the course!

 

Perspex taster class

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Next available date: Wednesday 24th May 6.30-9pm

Perspex is a hugely versatile material that can be used for small subtle piece of jewellery as well as large fashion pieces.

Perspex is a brand of acrylic plastic that is often used as a substitute for glass. It comes in a rigid sheet and can be sawn or laser cut and bent using heat. It is available in a wide variety of colours and finishes and there’s almost no limit to what you can make. Also, with a little thought and preparation perspex jewellery can be made from home as it needs minimal equipment.

Techniques covered in this class include:

  • Sawing and cutting perspex from a template
  • Filing, sanding and polishing
  • Drilling
  • Attaching stones  

 

Cocktail rings taster class

party jewellery

You can find a range of ring projects in this tutorial – and make one to match every outfit.

Next available date: Thursday 25th May 6.30-9pm

Come along for a few hours make a beautiful cocktail ring (or two).This is a fun-filled, creative class (non-creatives are very welcome!)

Throughout the evening our expert tutor will guide you through the full process of making your own ring from scratch. We use a mixture of colourful beads combined with silver or gold-plated wire to make your bling statement ring.

Once you know how to make them you will have lots of orders pouring in from friends and family for their very own rings – you have been warned! 

 

Silver clay taster class

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Next available date: Wednesday 7th June 6.30-9pm

Learn to make your own personalised silver pendant in just one evening…

You will be using a great material called metal clay. Metal clay is a clay-based substance containing millions of tiny silver particles when you fire the clay under a torch or in a kiln all of the clay burns away and you are left with a solid silver piece – it’s like magic!

This is an excellent class to take if you have limited space at home and would like to make silver jewellery.

An expert tutor will guide you through the whole process from making the piece, through to firing and polishing.

Absolutely no experience is necessary as this is a beginners level class and complete beginners are welcome.

What would you like to make in a taster class? Let us know in the comments below

From Junk to Jewels: a new trend for 2017

Eclecticism and extra-large jewellery peppered the catwalks of the collections for Spring/Summer 2017.

Could this be the long-awaited backlash against minimalism and the dainty?

These two trends really appeal to a hoarder- jeweller like me. I save all sorts of objects that I know will one day become something more than their original purpose. While the designers are reaching for lighters, ropes and bike chains, I favour LEGO, toy soldiers and sea glass. Bringing unconventional items into the mix can be a great way of introducing colour to metal work, presenting interesting challenges in setting or creating special findings to show them off.

 Vionnet

I recently discovered New Zealand contemporary jeweller Lisa Walker whose carefully-selected objects for neckpieces include children’s toys, pebbles, kitchen utensils and (in the most unwieldy case) a laptop suspended on a braided rope necklace. (As a wearer you may want to avoid going so big that you can’t leave the house – maybe stick to a Gameboy!) What’s interesting is that Walker is not averse to a more delicate piece of wire work. This contradiction left me feeling that it was the selection of the objects that was key rather than a consistent or conventional aesthetic. Items we select to keep close to us and statements made on gallery walls are not too far removed from each other.

Lisa Walker, 0+0=0 exhibition at Christchurch Art Gallery

So why not embrace your inner hoarder and make a statement? For courses that may help with utilising your found objects in your jewellery making, like Cold Connections, Mixed Media Jewellery, Introduction to Jewellery Making and Make Your Own Silver Findings visit our website or give us a call.

Treasure shouldn’t stay buried

One of my own favourite pieces is a melted LEGO police containment unit. This came from an idea that goes way back to when my brother (now a chef) put a LEGO car in the oven when we were children and it melted into a cool, wobbly but still defined, shape. (Disclaimer: not endorsing melting LEGO in your oven!) The police unit piece is threaded onto a cord from a haberdashery with simple copper wrap finding to secure. It is one of my most complemented necklaces. So it’s always worth keeping hold of broken bits and pieces or experiments for jewellery projects.

 

Hopefully helpful hints:

-See what you have, keep a bead box, keep your mistakes, keep objects and images that interest you or remind you of a particular trip or a time. In the past I have made paper beads by rolling up strips from a comic or the insides of envelopes and securing with pva glue (not a necklace to wear in the shower).

-Find interesting ways of connecting them, see what looks good together. At this stage I find interesting pieces of broken chain or failed experiments from other projects come in handy. Drawing ideas or making a mock up before constructing them can always help develop something more interesting and avoid mishaps with your precious treasures.

What has inspired your personal collection so far this year? Tell us what you have been making.

Lil Adams is the London Jewellery School Sundays Studio Manager. Lil studied Fine Art in Leeds and lived in Melbourne before travelling about and settling in London. She now works at the British Architectural Library and enjoys making jewellery with found and natural objects and is shamelessly addicted to casting.

 

 

 

New mini documentary on jewellery designer Annoushka Dukas

Have you seen the 1000 Londoners project? Produced by Chocolate Films, they are 3-minute mini-documentaries that ‘aim to create a digital portrait of a city through 1000 of the people who identify themselves with it’.

We wanted to share the documentary from the founder of Links of London and Annoushka, Annoushka Ducas MBE who talks about being a jewellery designer and a mother.

Job opportunity at the London Jewellery School

sunday-studios-manager-blogger-vancancy-london-jewellery-schoolWe are hiring! The London Jewellery School are looking for a Sunday Studios Manager and Blogger

We are looking for a passionate and creative individual to join the team one day a week (on Sundays) to look after the opening up and daily running of the school for the day whilst contributing regularly to our active and popular jewellery blog: https://blog.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk/ Our blog is rated in the top 10 of jewellery blogs worldwide according to Feedspot

This role is every Sunday from 9am-6pm in our studios in Hatton Garden. An ability to arrive on time each week is essential as you will be opening up!
Pay: Competitive rates as well as access to training budget for LJS courses 
Times: 9am-6pm 
Location: Hatton Garden, London 
The ideal candidate will be reliable, great with customers, engaging, friendly and welcoming. Have an ability to write well, knowledge of jewellery making and jewellery business for blog writing and most importantly tonnes of enthusiasm and a willingness to learn. 
Deadline for applications : Sunday 22nd March 2017 
Please do forward this to anyone you feel might fit the bill!

New projects for our beading classes

Did you see that we have designed all new projects for our beading classes? We run one day classes for beginners, intermediate and advanced beaders. And now there are all new techniques to learn! Here are the projects and some photos to inspire you!

 

Beginners beading

This course is designed for complete beginners or those who would like to practice and develop their core skills.

 

Earring project

london-jewellery-school-beginners-beading-beaded-drop-earrings

In this project you will learn how to

  • Make your own bespoke earring wires
  • Use bead caps
  • Make neat and even loops in wire
  • Open and close jump rings

 

Stacking bangles

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In this project you will learn how to

  • Make your own bangles from wire
  • Create your own finish on the bangles including a hammered texture
  • Add charms and beads to your bangle

 

Necklace with decorative components

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You will learn how to

  • Add beads and charms using wire and jump rings
  • Add chain

 

Double-row necklace

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You will learn how to

  • Use stringing materials e.g. tiger tail
  • Effectively design your piece so it hangs well
  • Use crimps
  • Professionally finish your pieces

 

Intermediate beading

Designed for those that have attended beginners beading or those with some beading experience, you will learn a wide variety of more advanced skills on this one day class

 

Cluster cocktail ring and single stone cocktail ring

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You will learn how to

  • Make and size your own ring with wire
  • Wire wrap beads to decorate your ring
  • Make a wire ring with a focal bead

 

Tassel earrings

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You will learn how to

  • Make your own bespoke earring wires
  • Create a rosary link
  • Add chain to make a tassel

 

Bracelet

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You will learn how to

  • Design your own bracelet with multiple components
  • Create a rosary link chain of beads
  • Link elements with wire and jump rings

 

T bar and toggle clasp

london-jewellery-school-blog-beading-course-london-handmade-findings-toggle-clasp

You will learn how to

  • Make your own bespoke findings to match your jewellery designs
  • Make an effective toggle clasp out of wire

 

Lariat necklace

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You will learn how to

  • Make a lariat clasp in your choice of shape
  • Make a cluster bead pendant
  • Attach chain

 

Advanced beading

Designed for those that are ready to take their skills to the next level, some more advanced and complex skills and the opportunity to work on your own mixed media project with tutor support

 

Cuff

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You will learn how to

  • Weave beads and chain to make a cuff
  • Design your own mixed media variation including cord, buttons etc
  • The same techniques can be used to make other types of jewellery including earrings

 

Structured earrings

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You will learn how to

  • Make your own wire frames
  • Add beaded elements
  • Use these design to make a pendant, necklace, lariat etc

 

Freestyle project

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You will learn how to

  • Use the techniques you have learnt to design a statement piece with tutor support
  • Experiment with mixed media including wire, beads, chain, buttons, cord, fringing, ribbon etc

 

Hopefully we have something new to tempt you to come and visit us in our studio at Hatton Garden, London! For more information on our beading classes and to book online click here. Alternatively give us a call on 0203 176 0546

If you have any ideas for courses you would like to take/skills you’d like to learn please do let us know. We’d love to hear from you in the comments below