2016 marks an exciting time for LJS as we are launching some new online jewellery making classes on our website jewellery school online. These classes are designed for students who can’t attend classes with us or who want a refresher for the classes they have attended. LJS tutor Anna Campbell has filmed two of the new courses for us, stone setting in metal clay and she has contributed to the business course. In this post, Anna talks about the experience of filming and what to expect from the courses.
In the beginning …..
I was very pleased to be asked to film some tutorials for jewellery school online by Jessica Rose, the founder of the London Jewellery School. Julia Rai has already filmed an online course in making silver metal clay charms which is excellent and teaches a wide variety of skills which, once mastered, can lead to so many different designs.
Jess and I met to discuss how we could create a tutorial that was different and that helped metal clay artists develop their skills further while not repeating what was in Julia’s tutorial. Jess wanted to do something with stone setting and we agreed that we would like to make it as widely useful as possible so we decided that all the projects needed to be torch fired.
Trial and error – making the samples
Stone setting in metal clay, sadly, is not as easy as pushing a stone into the clay. Many stones are damaged by the heat of the torch or kiln firing as natural stones have fissures in them. When heated, the heat expands the air inside these fissures and the stone shatters (for an excellent breakdown of which natural stones can be fired with a torch or kiln see this article from Cool Tools).
So, I had to find a way to torch fire pieces for three different stone setting projects – not an easy task! I did some practice pieces and in the end settled on the following three projects
- Setting a man made stone in clay e.g. cubic zirconia or lab created sapphire, ruby, spinel etc
- Setting a dichroic glass cabochon (I know, not technically a stone but the effect is the same as stone setting)
- Setting a fine silver bezel for a stone to be set inside afterwards
This meant that the tutorial covered firing stones in place, firing glass with a torch (which is not something that is taught usually) and setting a stone that cannot be torch fired.
I enjoyed playing about with designs, trying to make pieces that were different and that could show the students the possibilities of the techniques.
My filming day started at 5.30am.
Filming was to start at 7.30am and I had to travel to south London so it was an early start for me. I needed to take some tools and some of my own jewellery for display which you can see to the side of me in the shots sometimes. I was nervous as I knew there was a film crew! There were actually three members of the film crew but luckily they put me at my ease. I had a microphone clipped on (one of the crew had headphones on so he could hear everything I was saying!).
I sat in place so that the lights and cameras could be set up. There were three cameras focussing on me. One directly in front of me, one to one side and one directly above my hands to film what I was doing. Luckily I was able to have a cup of tea while everything was fiddled about with.
And then we started. There was an actual clapperboard with the takes written on it. Which is just as well as we had to film everything out of sequence because the clay had to dry in between takes.
There was a lot to get through and I was conscious that I didn’t have a lot of time to make mistakes, firstly because of the hot filming lights the clay was drying very quickly and secondly I knew the crew were filming another tutorial in the afternoon. It went well and we managed to get everything filmed and done by 12.30pm which was quite a feat. For some reason there were a lot a ambulance or police sirens that morning and we kept having to stop to wait for them to recede.
As well as access to the videos, students on the course also get written notes. I wrote these after the filming, based on the notes I took to the filming day (I had wanted to make sure I wouldn’t forget to say something important!). These did take some time to write but are important as a reminder for you when you are learning so I hope you will find them useful.
I am grateful that I am not involved in the editing process. It takes hours to do this – to synch the camera footage with my audio and make sure everything is clear for the learner.
Then the tutorial is ready for you to purchase and watch over and over. I really do hope you learn something new and I would love to see what you create, please do share photos with us on instagram, twitter or facebook.
To access Jewellery School Online click on the link and watch a trailer before you purchase your course. You can choose from a wide variety of jewellery making courses including silversmithing, wax carving, metal clay, jewellery business and wire wrapping. Anna’s Stone Setting in Metal Clay course will be available from the end of February 2016 – you can pre-order it a half price now from the Jewellery School Online site.
Anna Campbell is a metal clay artist, one of only ten people to hold the Higher Diploma in Metal Clay. She holds both Art Clay and PMC Rio Rewards certifications and is a member of the Metal Clay Masters Registry.