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

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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

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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

Introducing our latest silver jewellery classes

As you may have noticed, our tutors have been working on some exciting new additions to the courses we offer at LJS for both beginners and more advanced practitioners and we’d love to invite you to book a place!

Here are our newest silver jewellery classes (click on the links for more detailed information)

One day classes

Silver stacked bangles

Intermediate level – learn how to shape, texture and solder silver wire into stacking bangles. Students usually make 2-3 bangles

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Make your own silver findings

Advanced level – Learning to craft your own findings such as ear wires, clasps, and brooch pins allows you to customise your designs and add a truly handcrafted and bespoke element to your work. (We recommend that all students complete the soldering masterclass before taking this class or that you are confident working with the torch. As this is an advanced silver class and we recommend that students are familiar with silver jewellery making and are comfortable using hand tools in a workshop environment)

silver-findings-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

Granulation and fusing

Granulation is the technique of creating numerous tiny spheres of metal with which to decorate your jewellery. They are not soldered into place, but are instead “fused” with the surface and to each other. Learn this technique in our one day class.

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Channel setting in silver

Advanced level – Learn to set stones in a ‘channel setting’ – a setting commonly used to set multiple stones along a strip of material, either across a pendant or around a ring (to do this course you must have completed our two day stone setting course and soldering masterclass or equivalent elsewhere)

channel-setting-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

Collet setting in silver

Advanced level – Develop your stone setting abilities in this class and learn how to create a collet setting (to do this course you must have completed our two day stone setting course and soldering masterclass or equivalent elsewhere)

collet-setting-silver-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

Grain setting in silver

Advanced level – Learn to set faceted stones using the ‘Grain’ setting technique. The class will really bring on your stone setting ability and add a new setting technique to your repertoire (to do this course you must have completed our two day stone setting course and soldering masterclass or equivalent elsewhere)

grain-setting-one-day-class-london-jewellery-school

 

Evening and taster classes

For those of you that are working in London during the day, check out our new silver evening and taster classes

Stacked silver rings taster (1 evening)

Learn to make four individual silver rings in just one evening!

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Soldering and stone setting in silver (6 weeks)

This 6-week evening class (run once a week) is perfect if you’ve attended beginners silver jewellery and you want to move onto the next step. Learn more advanced soldering alongside stone setting techniques including bezel setting, tube setting and gypsy(flush) setting

soldering-stone-setting-evening-class-london-jewellery-schoolClick on the links to find more and to book a place.

We love ideas for new classes so what would you like to learn? Let us know in the comments below

Jewellery making on TV

TV shopping channels are now featuring jewellery making and supplies. Tutor Anna Campbell turns on the TV (for research purposes, of course!) to see what’s happening

 

I have to admit, I am a fan of TV shopping! It seems many others also enjoy it but keep it a guilty secret but the need to feel guilty about it seems to be changing! There are a few channels that feature jewellery making tutorials and supplies and it is great to see how widespread the hobby and business of jewellery making has become on the shopping channels. I have had a look at the TV channels I can see and the jewellery supplies they offer. Just a note, I only have freeview so there may be more you can recommend to me!

 

london-jewellery-school-blog-jewellery-maker-tvJewellery Maker is perhaps the most well-known in the industry as it focusses solely on the craft of making jewellery. Previously owned by the Genuine Gemstone Company, that also runs Gems TV, Jewellery Maker sells a wide range of materials and tools including precious and semi-precious stone cabochons and beads, other beads including Swarovski, tools and materials. Always informative, they feature guest designers who show how the materials and tools can be used. LJS tutor Hayley Kruger is a guest designer with Jewellery Maker so watch out for her shows!

 

 

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Create and Craft TV feature all types of papercraft, arts and crafts including jewellery making. The London Jewellery School has a partnership with Create and Craft TV. In 2016 and 2017 LJS founder Jessica Rose and metal clay tutor Anna Campbell did shows demoing silver clay projects on the channel. Viewers were able to buy a kit of metal clay tools, which also included access to the Jewellery School Online course silver clay charms and torch fired stone setting techniques. 

Create and Craft have also partnered with Beads Direct so there are a lot of great beading and wirework products as well as other resources.

 

 

london-jewellery-school-hochanda-logo

Hochanda is the ‘home of crafts hobbies and arts’ and covers a large range of crafting and art including card making, stamping, patchwork, sewing, applique and much more. They feature a small range of jewellery making supplies.

 

What am I missing? Which channels do you like to watch? Let us know what you like to watch via the comments below

 

Five alternatives to selling at a craft fair

Selling at a craft market or fair is just one way to sell to the public. Think laterally; what other opportunities might there be in your local area?  Here are some ideas about alternative places you could sell your work!

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  1. Gallery or jeweller

The most traditional route is to approach relevant galleries or jewellers. Research your options carefully by visiting the shop on more than one occasion to see how busy it gets. Also look at the types of jewellery they currently sell and their price range. You want to ensure your pieces will fit in with the products they already stock but still stand out.

 

things-british-logo-london-jewellery-school-blog-alternative-retailers

  1. Rent a shelf

Check out local options to rent a shelf in a cafe, hair salon etc. If they don’t have the option available why not make an appointment to speak to the manager about trying it out?

One shop that works on a rent a shelf basis is Things British who sell items (not just jewellery) designed and made in the UK. The company currently has three shops – in St Pancras station, London, Greenwich market, London and Chatham, Kent. You pay a weekly shelf rental charge and anything you sell is yours (minus any card transaction fees). You don’t need to be based in London to sell at Things British, you can send items in by post.

 

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  1. Pop up shops

A pop up shop is an empty shop that is used as a short term sales space. You can do this alone or share with other designers. Search for these in your area or check out We are Pop Up or Appear here which lists opportunities to rent and share.

 

  1. Hotels

Hotels have a lobby area where a display cabinet of jewellery for sale could be successful as they have a steady stream of different customers through their doors. Find out who the decision maker at the hotel is (by asking at reception) and make an appointment to see them.

 

  1. Museums

Many of the larger museums have a competitive application process for selling your work but a first step could be to consider smaller, local museums especially if you have a range that would fit in with an exhibition they have. They are often receptive to work from local artists and makers.

 

Have a think about where in your local area to approach and start doing some research. What other ideas can you share with us? Let us know in the comments below

Look out for a coming blog post ‘Step by step guide to successfully selling your jewellery range to a retailer’

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

How to stay in the know in 2017

At LJS we often get asked the same questions. How do I find out about jewellery related job opportunities? Where can I find a bench to rent? How do I know when to apply for jewellery events and fairs? Do you sometimes discover that you find out about things too late? Here are some ways to stay in the know for 2017

benchpeg-jewellery-news-london-jewellery-school-blog-how-to-stay-in-the-know

Subscribe to Benchpeg

Benchpeg is an independent source of information for the British Jewellery industry and associated trades. If you subscribe you receive a free weekly email newsletter that includes industry news, jobs, opportunities, classified ads and more. It’s a fantastic source of information for everyone at any level of the jewellery industry.

How?

Click this link to subscribe to Benchpeg for free.

 

facebook-logo-london-jewellery-school-how-to-stay-in-the-know

 

Join a relevant Facebook group

There are thousands of jewellery facebook groups out there and they can be very helpful as the organisers and members share resources and give advice.

 

How?

Login to facebook and type the type of jewellery making you’re interested in the search box (or just type ‘jewellery making’)

Click on ‘group’ at the top of the screen and have a look at the names of the groups available. If you are interested you can click join to join the group

Also click on pages and like any pages that look interesting. If you find what is being shared isn’t relevant you can always leave the page or group.

 

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Get out and about to exhibitions

Even if you’re not exhibiting you can find out a lot about what is happening in the industry by attending exhibitions in your area. You can find a list of jewellery exhibitions that regularly run in London here but do check out your local press for events closer to home.

 

How?

Do an online search for previous events in your area and sign up for email updates to be in the know for future exhibits.

 

twitter-london-jewellery-school-blog-how-stay-in-know

Follow the right accounts on twitter

Social media is an immediate way to find out what is happening and twitter is excellent for this.

 

How?

Sign into twitter, search for and follow:

  • Local groups, markets etc
  • Exhibition spaces, museums
  • Selling websites e.g. etsy, folksy, misi, not on the high street etc
  • Jewellery magazines e.g. Making Jewellery

 

stallfinder-london-jewellery-school-blog-how-stay-in-know

 

Check out stallfinder

For upcoming events, craft markets and fairs in your area check out stallfinder

 

How?

Got to stallfinder

Do a search of your area to see what events are advertised and the closing dates

 

London Jewellery School Logo

 

Subscribe to the LJS newsletter and blog!

We keep our ear to the ground and let you know about opportunities via our email newsletter and our blog

How?

Subscribe to the LJS email newsletter

Subscribe to our blog – click here and click the ‘subscribe to our blog button’ on the left of the screen

 

How do you keep informed of jewellery industry news? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs