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’.
Category Archives: Inspirational Jewellers
Our Founder, Jessica Rose, has sold jewellery for many years in boutiques and galleries, but recently set up her first Etsy Shop and started selling online in the name of research. And today she shares with you everything she has learned about successfully selling on Etsy!
Having sold my jewellery on and off for the past 9 years, alongside setting up the London Jewellery School, Jewellery School Online and various other, yes you guessed it, jewellery related ventures! I decided to have a go at setting up my own Etsy shop. One thing I love about running a jewellery business is there are always new things to try, new things to learn about and new mini-adventures to go on. Here is what I have learnt so far from my mini-Etsy adventure. To anyone who has an Etsy shop or is considering starting one – I highly recommend it, there is so much opportunity there, once you know how to access it…
I started out by quizzing everyone I know at the jewellery school about the pros and cons of selling on Etsy and learnt that it is really important to have a strong and extensive collection…
Tip 1: Aim for 100 items!
Ok, maybe not all in one go, but a few colleagues mentioned that their shop really increased in activity once they had passed this magic 100 mark. I would not have guessed that. Traditionally when selling jewellery, less is more and we don’t want to over-crowd our stalls or fill our collections up with ‘jumble-sale approach’ pieces. However it does make sense that more-is-more from a ‘being seen’ point-of-view in the Etsy Search Engine. The more items we have, the more pages we have and the more chance of showing up in the Etsy search results. So build your collections as you go.
The next lesson shared with me, which is one I’m always banging on about anyway, is of course, the importance of killer images.
Tip 2: Images that make customers fall in love!
Photo credit: Karen Young Jewellery
If you want some examples of this, look no further than our very own Karen Young’s lovely etsy page. It is not enough anymore to just have beautiful jewellery on a white background (although of course that is nice). We need ‘lifestyle’ pictures, showing customers how the jewellery looks in relation to other things, be it a nice piece of wood, shells, teacups, vintage books, a pretty flower, some gemstones – the world is your oyster. The important thing is to show different angles and, through your images, speak to the customer about how this jewellery will make them feel inside.
What about the process of setting up an Etsy shop? – Well its pretty straight forward but I would dedicate some time to it. A day or two for photography and writing descriptions and a day or two to upload everything, depending on how large your collection is. Make sure you have at least one item, photographed and ready to go as you are creating your shop. You can’t activate your shop without an active listing.
And Etsy offer a lot of help! They are actually running a special email series to help you get your shop up and running called the Etsy Resolution which starts on 27th Jan – you can find out more here.
That brings us on to product descriptions…
Tip 3: Informative, engaging and compelling product descriptions
Whether you are new to Etsy/ selling online or have done it for many years, we can always do with improving our descriptions. Of course they need to be informative – to include all the info a customer needs to buy, exact materials, lengths, any variations such as different gemstones, gold or silver, is it plated, filled or solid? The more you can say the better. Alongside the information don’t forget your brands tone-of-voice. Let your personality come across.
Tip 4: The people want to know about YOU ☺ – Yup, it took me a while when starting my business to work this one out, that anyone buying handmade wants to know about the designer behind the work, the entrepreneur behind the business. And why not? You are awesome after all….
Jokes aside, it is important to fill out all of the sections in your etsy shop with a little about you, your values, why you are selling your jewellery, your process, what materials you work with etc…
All of that is well and good but what about some practical action we can take to improve sales in our etsy shop today?
Tip 5: Be sure to post regularly;
- On Facebook, and it may be a good idea to ‘boost’ posts relating to selling your jewellery on Etsy so that a wider audience can see it. Or set up a Facebook ad for yourself in Ads Manager.
- Post on Etsy itself in the ‘Updates section’ it helps communicate with your customers and helps your shop to look up-to-date and active.
- Also you can post on your blog if you have one, start one if you don’t; or select your favourite social platforms, such as instagram, twitter, pinterest… the list goes on.
And another practical tip for those more technically minded…
Tip 6: Match your Tags, Titles and Materials
SEO, search engine optimisation, is key on Etsy to get your items seen. We can help that along a bit by;
- Listing items regularly (each time you list an item it goes towards the top of the results)
- Using all the characters in your product titles, include keywords in there
- Match your tags to the titles, include all those words in the ‘tag’ section too
- And be as detailed as you can on the ‘materials’ section. List every material used to make that piece
Phew! That’s quite a lot to get through. Like anything that is worthwhile, in business (and in life) building a strong sales base and following on Etsy takes time. And effort. No uploading a bunch of items and then leaving it and hoping for the best (that is how we get disheartened!). But what Etsy has shown to me over the past few weeks of experimenting, is that it can work, and it can work really well. If you are prepared to put the time and effort in. Which of course we are ☺
On to my final tip (for now)
Tip 7: Quality is essential
It goes without saying, but building your skills as a jeweller and business owner so that you are confident in the quality of your work, your processes and your business knowledge is essential. None of us are perfect but we usually want our jewellery to be, so investing in your training and your skills, in my opinion, is always a worthwhile investment. Make sure each piece you send out is of the highest quality and is something you would love to receive.
If you would like to learn more about setting up and running your own successful, profitable and sustainable jewellery business then it’s not too late to join me for our brand new comprehensive 8-week online intensive course: The Jewellery Business Bootcamp, find out more and enrol for a spot here > (http://learn.jewelleryschoolonline.com/p/the-jewellery-business-bootcamp)
We start this Friday 27th January and I would love to have you join me and our lovely community of budding and growing jewellers. Everyone is welcome.
All that is left to say is best of luck for anyone trying out Etsy for the first time, I’m with ya! And for all the Etsy old-timers, we would love to hear more of your knowledge and wisdom, so do share a comment or two below about what works for you.
Until next time, Happy Making
Author: Jessica Rose
Special Business Week offers
Our founder, Jessica Rose is hosting a FREE webinar masterclass on 26th January at 6.30pm on Boosting your Online Sales. Grab your spot on the webinar here.
And don’t forget our special offers on business courses for this week only we are offering 25% off business day classes held here at the School using the code 23011701. This code can only be used over the phone so please call on 020 3176 0546 to book your place. This discount is only available on bookings made during Jewellery Business Week 21-27 January 2016 inclusive.
This Christmas tutor Anna Campbell has been inspired to make her own wirework Christmas decorations. Have a look at some of these fabulous ideas:
Wire christmas ornament hangers via WireExpressions
Holly decoration via Earth Balance Craft
Celtic tree ornament via Nicholas and Felice
Christmas globe via Eni Fenyvesl
Christmas wreath via Louise Goodchild Designs
Beaded angels via Dotty Beads
Swarovski snowflake via Rosie Willett Designs
Wire christmas tree wall hanging via Better Homes and Gardens
Beaded star and tree via Minimalisti
Snowman via wiremajigs
Are you inspired to take one of our one day wirework jewellery classes? We have a couple of places left for December classes and have classes scheduled into 2017
Author: Anna Campbell
Have you got your christmas jumper? Anna Campbell has been looking for some Christmas-themed jewellery to wear over the holiday season…
Wire wreath earrings via Shiney Rocks
Swarovski christmas tree brooch via Morning Glory Antiques
Sterling silver cracker bracelet charm via Nick Hubbard
Silver deer earrings via Kaya Jewellery
Red glitter bulb earrings via Claires
Christmas tree cufflinks via DH Gate
Christmas holly brooch via Rosie Bull Designs
String of fairy lights necklace via Village Silversmith
Poinsettia bracelet via Around the beading table
Holly necklace via CSL Designs
Are you inspired to create some Christmas-themed pieces this festive season?
Author: Anna Campbell
In March we featured a blog post about the Pass it Along Project, a jewellery collaboration project spearheaded and collated by LJS tutor Penny Akester to challenge jewellers to work with others from around the world on the same piece of jewellery. LJS tutors that participated include Penny Akester, Hayley Kruger, Helen Walls, Anna Campbell, Annie Mason and Natasha Williams. The first iteration of the project is now complete so we thought we’d share some of the finished pieces.
What is the Pass it Along project?
The Pass It Along project is a group jewellery making challenge – it is open to any jeweller who was interested in challenging themselves. It was designed to enable unexpected and unplanned collaboration between makers – to generate new ideas and inspiration, as well as connections with other jewellers. The idea is based on the idea of a chain letter, game of pass the parcel, or a game of consequences – everyone taking part is allocated one of three themes, and starts to make a piece of jewellery, they didn’t complete the piece however, they passed it along to someone else in the group who continued to work on the jewel. It was then passed along to a third person who put the piece together and completed it / made it wearable, then on to a fourth who got to keep the piece, and who shared images of the piece. It meant that everyone who signed up got to take part at each stage of the project, and everyone got to keep a jewel too.
Some examples of the pieces collaborated on by LJS tutors
Piece no 32, was created by Tilly Wilkinson, using copper sheet and enamel, changed by Anna Campbell, who used wire, collated by Penny Akester, who used tercel yarn to add kumihimo braiding and created a necklace.
Piece no 13 was a collaboration between Angela Dickson, Ana Pina and Annie Mason
Piece no 35 was created by Rosa Elena Rivera using bronze metal clay, silver clay, Pebeo paints and bronze tubing to ‘create’ the pendant. Dicle Erver then ‘changed’ the piece by using wire binding techniques with craft wire in varying shades of purple to compliment the subtle tones originally created by Rosa with the Pebeo paints. Natasha Williams ‘collated’ the final piece by adding brass chain, which provides a backdrop for the whole piece and enables Dicle’s wire addition to wind it’s way around the chain and pulling the whole piece together.
Piece no 38 was started by Jeannette Froese LeBlanc in etched aluminium, changed by Hayley Kruger using ink, pencil crayons, paper, perspex, saw piercing and finishing techniques.
It was collated by Lisa Welbourn using sterling silver, silver clay, lava beads, rubber neck cord.
Piece no 56 was made by Julia Dainty, Helen C. Walls & Aimée Cope in Silver & Peridot.
Where can I see all the finished pieces?
You can view the online exhibition of pieces here
How can I get involved in the next Pass it Along round?
The Pass it Along project is a great challenge and learning experience for jewellery makers with any level of jewellery making experience. You can find out more information about the current project and can sign up to be involved in the next round here.
Author: Anna Campbell
My inspiration came from the recycled materials I use in my work, as well as many found objects – in this piece it was from a small sapling, relating the piece into gardening enhanced by the literal interpretation of having green fingers.
How and when did your jewellery making journey start?
My interest in jewellery started at a very young age, I have grown up with my mum collecting, making and selling jewellery and always bringing home weird and wonderful items. I also grew up with the stories of my grandad making glass animals in Brighton and was always interested in following in this by creating my own jewellery/wearable art.
Have you had any formal training?
I studied jewellery design at Hereford College of Arts and graduated with a 2:1 upper second class in 2013.
Where do you typically find inspiration for what to make next?
I have always been a magpie for collecting items on my travels at home and overseas, I have a huge collection of items that I draw inspiration from and use within my work, such as rocks, glass, plastics, bubble wands and much more. I also spent most of my childhood growing up by the beach and I love beachcombing, this has inspired my most recent collection of jewellery called ‘I can hear the sea’.
What are your favourite techniques or medium?
With my recent collection, I am using a lot of silver granulation, I love this technique as it is simple and can achieve excellent quick results, I also love to use lots of found objects within my work as I love the idea of recycling, repurposing and the history in a piece.
What are your favourite tools?
I am a bit unconventional when it comes to some of the tools I use, although my torch, piercing saw and pliers and like extra limbs for me I also like using less conventional tools such as spoons to help stone setting and nails as centre punches, whatever is comfortable to achieve the desired finish.
What is your favourite thing(s) that you have made to date?
As previously mentioned I am working on a new collection ‘I can hear the sea’ and since moving away to the countryside in 2015 my love for the sea is very important. I love all the pieces I make and get attached to a lot of my work once its completed which makes it very hard to part with but I am especially fond of some of the early pieces I made from my plastic doll series of work as I feel these reflect the beginning of my journey into becoming a mixed media jeweller.
What is next?
I hope to build up my collection of work and eventually practice fulltime as I currently only make part time whilst working full time, I also aim to participate in more craft shows and build up my online presence.
Where can we see more of your work?
Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! We just love your work and can’t wait to see your new collection and what happens next for you!
You may have seen that we have metal clay classes at the London Jewellery School but what exactly is metal clay and how can you use it? Metal clay artist and tutor Anna Campbell updates you on the latest developments
Metal clay has been around since the 1990s but many people have never heard of it so I thought I would give a general overview and a rundown of the latest products available on the market. This year there have been a lot of exciting advances and new brands/products entering the market so the metal clay market is growing.
Just to note, I am focussing here on the brands that are easy to purchase in the UK without import costs. There are other brands available but at the time of writing these are not as easily accessible as those featured here.
What is metal clay?
All metal clays have the same basic structure – metal particles, a binder to bind the metal particles together and some water to form the clay. This can be moulded, shaped and textured before drying and firing – either with a jewellers torch or in a kiln to form metal.
All metal clays can be hallmarked by the assay office.
The two main manufacturers of silver clay are Aida (Art Clay Silver Clay) and Mitsubishi (PMC3). We use Art Clay Silver Clay in our classes at the London Jewellery School but if you have used one you can use the other in exactly the same way. Fine silver clay is also known as 999 meaning that for every 1000 particles, 999 are silver and 1 is copper.
Silver clay is available in different forms which lend themselves to different ways of designing. These are clay, syringe, paste and paper.
The syringe allows you to do finer silver work e.g. filigree. It is also useful for filling in any cracks or gaps in your work. Both Art Clay and PMC have syringe clay available.
Paste is a watered down version of clay that acts like a glue, perfect for sticking two pieces of clay together. Artists like Terry Kovalcik also use paste for painting amazing designs on their pieces.
Silver clay paper is a flat, dry sheet of clay that can be cut, woven and folded. I have recently written a blog post on origami with silver.
PMC flex is a type of fine silver clay that is flexible and has a longer drying time. Perfect if you find you need a little more time to create your pieces, it can be torch or kiln fired.
Art Clay Silver 950 – sterling silver clay
Sterling silver clay
Sterling silver is also known as 925. This means that there are 925 particles of silver to 75 particles of copper. Sterling silver is widely recognised in the UK and is stronger that fine silver so is perfect for making rings, bangles or other pieces that need more strength. You can also roll it out a little thinner as it maintains its strength and is a little stronger in the greenware stage (when dry but before firing) although still take care when you’re filing! It carves and engraves well. However, it does have to be kiln fired, torch firing is not sufficient.
Previous incarnations of the sterling silver clay needed a two firing system using carbon but this year both Art Clay (Art Clay 950 Sterling silver clay) and PMC (PMC sterling onefire) have released one fire clays. For more information you can have a look at a previous blog post I wrote about trying out Art Clay 950.
For those that are selling their metal clay pieces sterling silver clay is an attractive option as customers know what it is and are confident buying hallmarked sterling silver however the need for a kiln can put people off.
At the time of writing 3g of Art Clay gold is £259.95! Youch! It may not surprise you to know that I have not tried using it! However, there are other ways of adding gold to metal clay. I have had success with accent gold for silver which is 24 carat gold that you can paint onto fired on unfired silver clay. It is still costly, £92.95 for 1 gram, but a little does go a long way as you are only painting a layer onto the surface of the clay.
You can also use keum boo, a gold foil that is adhered to fired silver clay. You can learn how to do this on our one day intermediate metal clay class.
Base metal clays
Base metal means non-precious metals e.g. bronze, copper, iron and steel.
Copper clay is available from a number of manufacturers, for a full list see here. Art Clay Copper (at the time of writing) is the simplest of the clays to fire as it can be torch or kiln fired. Copper clay is an affordable option although not everyone likes to wear copper jewellery. However, it could be a good option for making larger pieces like bracelets.
I have enjoyed experimenting recently with bronze clay. I have been using Goldie Bronze. It is also very affordable and comes in many different colours. It arrives in powder form and is easy to make up into clay with ordinary tap water (I have a two minute video on how to do that here). This allows you to mix up the amount you need when you need it. Hard is great for making bangles and rings whereas soft is easier to carve and texture so a mix of both has, in my opinion, given me the best of both worlds. Firing Goldie Bronze does also have to be done in a two part schedule in the kiln in activated coconut carbon and, if you do it right, it works! In the UK you can purchase Goldie Bronze from Metal Clay Ltd. Metal Clay have also recently started stocking the Aussie Metal Clay brand and I’m looking forward to having a play with it. There are other brands of bronze clay on the UK market including Metal Adventures and Prometheus.
Other base metals
The original fine silver clay is still the most reliable to fire. However, it is among the more expensive of the metal clays to work with so doing some experimenting with other metal clays could prove worthwhile, particularly if you have a design for a larger piece in mind. I really wanted to make a chunky bracelet in metal clay and am currently doing so in Goldie Bronze. The cost of the same amount of clay in silver would have been prohibitive.
You do need to fire the majority of metal clays in a kiln (with the exception of art clay copper) but you may be able to find a kiln firing service in your area if you don’t have one yourself.
The final thing to note is that you do need separate tools for working with the different metals. Contamination from one type of clay to another can result in the piece not firing correctly and all your work is wasted. My main set of tools is for silver clay (as I started working in it I have more tools for silver!). I have a box of tools, texture sheets, clay roller etc that have just been used for bronze clay. Make sure you mark your tools clearly. In practice it hasn’t meant buying too many duplicate tools and I think the opportunity to try other metals has made the added investment worthwhile.
For a more in depth run down of the different brands of clay on the market see this excellent article from Metal Clay Academy
If you’ve been inspired to try a silver clay class why not join us for a day? The following classes are in silver clay:
Intermediate metal clay class – in this class you get the chance to add gold to your silver clay in one of the projects.
Would you like to try working with paper clay? Enrol on our silver paper clay class.
Author: Anna Campbell
As I’m sure you noticed, the mindfulness craze for 2015 was adult colouring books. For 2016 it has been origami. But did you know that you can do origami with silver? Tutor Anna Campbell gives you the lowdown.
For many of us jewellery making is a hobby; a way to relax and create away from our day to day lives. The need to concentrate on what we are doing allows us to be consciously aware and focussing in the moment rather than worrying about the future or thinking about the past. This is the elusive state of mindfulness.
I’m sure you can’t have missed articles and books on mindfulness over the last few years. Through research, mindfulness has been found to be beneficial to
- Reduce rumination (going over and over things in your head)
- Reduce stress
- Boost your working memory (this is an element of your short term memory)
- Improve your focus
- Increase flexibility in your thinking and problem solving abilities
(For more information on this see the research from Davis and Hayes, 2012)
There are a number of ways to add periods of mindfulness to your day to day life. Activities like yoga, tai chi and meditation have been famously studied but concentrating on a hobby is also on the list.
Last year, adult colouring books became all the rage (my personal favourites were Secret Garden and the Orla Kiely colouring books). I think the mindfulness aspect was one part of it but there is also the simple pleasure of going back to childhood and the only things to be concerned about – choosing the right colour and colouring inside the lines!
In 2016 origami was introduced to the mindfulness trend. Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures.
Origami with silver looks impressive but is hard to achieve with traditional silversmithing techniques. However, it is something we can achieve with metal paper clay.
Both the main brands of silver clay, Art Clay and PMC, have their own version of paper silver clay. Both are a dry, flat sheet of metal clay that can be cut, folded and shaped before being kiln fired.
Here are some examples of silver origami that have been created in our one day Metal clay – paper clay class
Paper Clay ‘Windmill’ earrings by Anna Campbell
Paper Clay ‘Paper Aeroplan’ earrings by Anna Campbell
Paper Clay ‘Origami’ Pendant by Anna Campbell
Why not join us for your own mindfulness day and leave with some silver jewellery?
During the paper clay class you learn three different techniques
- Weaving with strips of clay
- Quilling (rolling and shaping strips of paper)
Our next class with places available is Monday 27th March 2017. More dates can be found on our website.
Author: Anna Campbell
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Vlad. Your work is just outstanding and we are so proud to have played a small part in your jewellery making journey. All of us here at LJS wish you the very best of success!
In August we ran our 2016 Jewellery Maker of the Year competition and were overwhelmed by the outstanding entries! And so many of you have been wanting to know more about our winners and what inspired their winning pieces! So today we are talking to Kim Styles of Kim Styles Jewellery about her Morganite and Sapphire Cluster Ring that won second place in our competition!
Congratulations Kim! Your Morganite and Sapphire Cluster Ring is simply gorgeous. Can you tell us a bit more about the piece and the inspiration behind it?
Thank you LJS! I have been making some very pretty rings for clients and I thought it was about time I had one of my own as a show piece so potential commission clients can see at first hand exactly what I do.
How and when did your jewellery making journey start?
I started my jewellery making journey way back , my 3D foundation course tutor suggested jewellery might be a good direction for me as I loved making small highly detailed things. I signed up for a four year degree course at Sir John Cass in London, ‘Jewellery, Silversmithing and Allied Crafts’ and from the very first day I knew it was what I wanted to do.
Have you had any formal training? If so where did you train?
I trained at Sir John Cass in London. I graduated in 1987 with an honours degree and after that I worked for various well known jewellers in and around London for a few years.
Where do you typically find inspiration for what to make next?
I find inspiration all around me, my best pieces come from the most unexpected sources, like a piece of twig with large pods on it that I found at the edge of a road, or a neighbours flamboyant Passion Flower growing over the fence. Once something sparks my imagination I have to make it!
Floral Cluster Ring by Kim Styles Jewellery
What are your favourite techniques or medium?
My favourite medium is precious metal, silver is lovely to work with but my absolute favourite is yellow 18ct gold, so rich and easy to work with. My favourite techniques are piercing, forming and shaping metal and soldering. I also love engraving all the very fine details on the leaves and flowers I make.
What are your favourite tools?
My most treasured tool is my grandfathers Archimedes Drill, but my piercing saw and my torch are the ones I use constantly every day.
Do you offer workshops or classes?
I do occasionally offer one to one classes upon request.
What is the favourite thing(s) that you have made to date?
My Spring Necklace, the first life size floral necklace I made. My Peridot Garden Ring which was a commission and my Morganite and Sapphire Cluster ring.
Spring Necklace by Kim Styles Jewellery
Peridot Garden Ring by Kim Styles Jewellery
What is next for Kim Styles Jewellery and what do you hope to achieve in the next 18-24 months?
I have a packed itinerary of craft fairs for the next few months, including ‘Handmade at Kew’ and ‘Desire Winchester’ among others, interspersed with a few commissions and probably some new rather quirky designs. Over the next 18-24 months I hope to widen my client base, see my work in more galleries and continue to build on the success of the last couple of years.
Do you have a website? How can we see more of your work?
Examples of my work is also on display and can be seen in the following locations:
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Kim. Your work is just stunning and we are so thrilled you shared it with us. All of us here at LJS wish you the very best of success!
Thank you LJS, it’s been a pleasure talking to you and I am so thrilled to achieve 2nd place in Jeweller of the Year!