Category Archives: Tutors

New book from tutor Julia Rai ‘Making metal clay jewellery’

We interviewed LJS metal clay tutor Julia Rai about her exciting first book ‘Making metal clay jewellery’

 

julia-rai-london-jewellery-school-blogJulia Rai is an artist, writer and teacher working predominately in metal clay. She has a teaching studio based just outside St Austell in Cornwall, UK and is a visiting tutor at the London Jewellery School.

Well known in the international metal clay community, she has been working with metal clay since 2004 and teaching it since 2007. She holds a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, the Higher Metal Clay Diploma, PMC Certification from Rio Grande and is an Art Clay Senior Instructor. She also holds the City and Guilds 7407 Further Education Teaching Qualification.

She is the Director of the Metal Clay Academy, an online resource for everyone interested in metal clay. Her spare time is currently taken up with working on projects for the metal clay Masters Registry and she has achieved Registry IV, the first person in the world to achieve this level.

She writes regularly for a number of magazines including Making Jewellery and Dolls House in the UK and the international Metal Clay Artist Magazine which is now online at Creative Fire.

She has just completed her first book ‘Making metal clay jewellery’ which is now available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

 

julia-rai-making-metal-clay-jewellery-london-jewellery-school-blogWho is the book for?

It’s aimed at those new to metal clay and/or those who are dabbling at home and need a reference book. I’ve covered all the types of fine silver clay – lump, sheet/paper type, paste and syringe in separate chapters so people can refer directly to the type of clay they are interested in. And of course, there are ways to combine these types covered in the book.

 

What types of project feature in the book?

It’s all jewellery. I’ve focused on making pieces of jewellery using the different types of silver clay and also included using glass, stones etc with the clay. There’s a chapter on making rings and one on hollow form beads too.

 

Do I need a kiln to make the projects in the book or can I use my torch?

Some require a kiln – like the glass and metal clay project – but many can be torch fired. I make it clear in the book which firing method would be best for the project and were the requirement is for kiln firing. For instance, it’s not pleasant – or safe – to fire something with a cork or wood clay core using a torch.

 

What is your favourite project in the book?

That’s a very hard question to answer as I enjoyed making everything. I think if I had to choose, it would be the glass and metal clay piece as this is colourful. As the book focuses on silver clay, the pieces are all silvery so having a bit of colour makes a nice change.

 

Why do you like working with metal clay?

Ever since I first discovered it, I’ve loved the accessibility and ease of working with it. The fact that you can teach a total novice to make a pendant and a pair of earrings in a three hour session is one of the reasons I love running taster classes. Often people say they didn’t believe they could make something so lovely and they are surprised by their own abilities. I love that.

 

Where can I buy the book and when is it published?

It is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US now. I will also be selling copies from the CSACJ website with the option for people to get a signed copy. And I’ll be taking some to the You Can Make It event being run by Metal Clay Ltd in March.

 

When will you be teaching at LJS this year?

I’ll be teaching the Art Clay Diploma Level 1 on 14th – 16th April and Level 2 on 26th – 29th May.

 

 

Our jewellery making christmas list!

With christmas just around the corner we asked some of our staff what is on their jewellery making christmas list!

 

Jessica Rose – Founder

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Source etsy: https://www.etsy.com/market/aquamarine_beads

‘Gemstones! I love working with gemstone beads, particularly citrine, blue topaz, aquamarine …’

 

Anna Campbell – Tutor

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Source: http://www.metalclay.co.uk/jooltool/

Jool Tool and metal clay bead builders

‘After a visit to Metal Clay last month I am definitely coveting the Jool Tool, a polishing machine that I got to see in action! I would also like some of the metal clay bead builders in my christmas stocking! They are special moulds for metal clay to make Pandora-style beads in different shapes.’

 

Karen Young – Marketing Coordinator

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Source: http://www.fretzdesign.com/pt-17-fretz-hammer-pendant.html

Fretz Hammer Pendant

‘This is on my xmas wishlist! It is a really cute replica Fretz hammer pendant. I love my Fretz Hammers so would be nice to have a mini one to wear’

 

Helen Walls – Tutor

 

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Source: https://www.hswalsh.com/categories/combination-rolling-mills

 

Durston Rolling Mill

‘I love recycling my silver (and gold when it’s about) so it makes a sound investment for rolling out sheet and wire as well as texturing sheet’

 

Penny Akester – Tutor

 

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Source: http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery-Tools/Sievert-Professional-Torch-Kit-prcode-999-AKZ1

 

Annealing pan and Sievert torch
‘An Annealing pan and Sievert torch (with a dedicated ‘hearth’ area in my workshop) – so that I can work on larger scale pieces and do more ‘home’ casting – I love experimenting with casting and making larger pieces and now I’m not working from home (in a block of flats with rather fussy neighbours) I can have a gas canister and full torch set-up – yay!
 
Mostly – just for me – a special treat – a Knew Concept saw – totally unnecessary, as I already have a fixed saw frame (my favourite), an adjustable one, and an extra deep one for cutting out big sections when a standard frame won’t reach, but this would be a real luxury treat gift – I keep hearing how lovely they are to work with, and maybe it will be so lovely to cut shapes out with, that it will save me the huge cost of the saw, in the reduction in broken saw blades? (I doubt it though!!) ;)’

 

Annie Mason – Tutor

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Source: http://www.cooksongold.com/Jewellery-Tools/-Range=Mandrels/-Size=0/-Type=0/-Brand=0/-Font=0/&prdsearch=y

 

‘Disc cutters and a large bangle mandrel!’

 

What’s on your list? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Adventures in wax carving – Week 2!

So last week I posted about week 1 of my 5 week Wax Carving Evening Class at the London Jewellery School.  We have now had our second week of our class and it is fair to say that we were all getting into the swing of things and powering forward with our designs!  Some of us made some changes to our designs this week as we had had the chance to think about our pieces and how we would realise them in wax!

So it was pretty much straight to business this week!  We all worked hard shaping the wax and scraping away and refining the waxes.  It was a very quiet class as we were all concentrating so hard!

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Everybody hard at work on their designs! 

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Our lovely tutor, Sophie Arnott, putting us through our paces 🙂

My own design is coming on.  I pretty much have the organic shape carved out and am just refining the surface with sandpaper and steel wool to make sure it is nice and smooth as any flaws in the wax will be picked up in silver (and are much harder to sort out once cast!).  I will waft my piece under some heat to remove any little curls of wax remaining so it is completely nice and smooth for casting.

Next week I will start burring out the underside of the ring to make the ring lighter (as it would be very heavy in solid silver, not to mention expensive to cast!) to make it nice and comfortable to wear using a ball burr in a pendant motor.  And I will hopefully make a start on my second design.

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My wax carved ring – almost finished 🙂 

I am really enjoying the course so far and although I still love fabricating pieces completely by hand from sheet metal, wire and tubing, I can see how this technique could be incorporated into my designs and collections.  Plus it is incredibly therapeutic peeling away layers of wax!

I can’t wait for week 3 and seeing some of the finished waxes of my fellow students!  Have a great week and will post pictures of how everyone is getting on next week!

 

Author: Karen Young

London Jewellery School Blog_Karen Young Bio

 

Adventures in wax carving…Week 1

I have been a silversmith for almost 7 years now, and have learned my trade exclusively through short courses including many of the London Jewellery School’s courses.  I love the fact that there is always a new skill or technique to learn in jewellery making as it is such a vast subject, and try and get into the classroom a couple of times a year to expand my skill set and try something new.  I always find that some time in the classroom rejuvenates my enthusiasm for this wonderful (but sometimes frustrating craft), and always pushes forward my designs and inspiration.

I largely hand-forge my jewellery and love the process of taking sheet metal and wire and transforming it into something that people will treasure forever.  However recently I have struggled to realise some of my design ideas using traditional silversmithing methods and began to wonder if carving my designs in wax might be the answer.  I decided to sign up for the 5-week wax carving evening class at the London Jewellery School, so sorted my childcare out on Tuesday evenings in October and November and started to look forward to the class!

I thought it might be interesting for you to see how I get on!  So over the next 5 weeks I will be sharing my wax carving diary with you!

Last Tuesday was week 1 of class!  The class is full and there are 7 of us so will be nice to get to know everybody over the course of the 5 weeks.  Interestingly there are only a couple of us with jewellery making experience – the vast majority are complete beginners so it will be nice to see their jewellery making journeys and watch them catch the jewellery making bug!

The evening class I am taking is taught by our silver and wax carving tutor, Sophie Arnott who has her own UK jewellery brand Anvil and Ivy and is also the founder of Carved Workshops which runs short wax carving course near her home in Essex.  A trained silversmith, Sophie now almost exclusively carves her jewellery designs out of wax.  I have known Sophie for a couple of years now after meeting her on a stone setting evening class at LJS, and know how passionate she is about wax carving so was very excited to be taking this class with her.

So, after making our introductions Sophie spent some time taking us through the different types of materials and tools we would be using over the next 5 weeks.  The great thing about wax carving is that the tools required are actually quite minimal compared to the likes of silversmithing, so my husband will be relieved that the scope for new tools is limited!

We also started to talk about the type of projects we could work on and what it is possible to achieve in the 5 weeks.  Sophie worked with each of us to establish what we wanted to work on during the course and helped us tweak designs to make sure they were realistic.

london-jewellery-school-wax-carving-evening-class-beginners-lost-wax-carving

The first task was to learn how to load the special spiral wax saw blades into a saw frame and then Sophie spend some time teaching us how to choose our wax ‘profile’, mark out and cut our ring slice ready to start on our design next week.  And then it was over to us!  We spent a bit of time playing with wax offcuts to get used to sawing the wax (it is pretty different from cutting metal!) and filling the wax flat before moving on to cut out and prep our slice of wax that we would be using for our 1st project.

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Before we knew it the 2.5 hours were up and we had to pack up – I think we all could have kept going as we were all having fun!  I am just itching to start working on my design next week (and might do a bit of practicing at home this week).  I can’t wait for week 2!

Author: Karen Young

London Jewellery School Blog_Karen Young Bio

Behind the scenes at Create and Craft TV

Metal clay tutor Anna Campbell made her live TV debut for the London Jewellery School on Create and Craft TV last week. She gives us a behind the scenes look at what goes into making the show

 

london-jewellery-school-blog-create-and-craft-logo

Earlier this year our founder and director Jessica Rose appeared for the first time on the shopping channel Create and Craft TV, showing a metal clay starter kit in action. It was very popular and Jess and the Create and Craft team decided to bring more London Jewellery School products and online courses to the channel. It was decided to continue the focus on metal clay. In January this year I had filmed the ‘torch fired stone setting in silver clay’ for Jewellery School Online so a stone setting kit was put together, along with the online course, to sell on the shows. Jess asked me if I would like to do the live TV demos and, of course, I said yes!

london-jewellery-school-blog-metal-clay-course-stone-setting-samples

 

Screen tests and samples

There’s a lot of work that goes into preparing to go on live TV. Firstly, I needed to travel up to Peterborough, where Create and Craft film their shows, to do a screen test. This was a fifteen minute demo of what I can do to check that I would be OK on camera. There’s a whole list of things you can and can’t say, can’t wear (some patterns etc can look funny on camera!) and there was even a helpful video to watch of dos and don’ts!

I had my screen test with presenter Martyn Parker who had just been on air so must have been ready for a break! To be honest, in my view it didn’t go that well! My metal clay wasn’t behaving but I was able to keep talking and was passed to go on live TV! It was a great learning experience and made me really think very carefully about getting everything ready for the real thing.

I needed to have lots of samples of finished pieces that could be made with both the beginners kits and the stone setting kit to show. This really helps people get inspiration about the finished products that can be made with the tools and the online classes. I also needed some ‘here’s one I made earlier’ pieces so there was no waiting around on the show. Luckily, Jess had the finished samples that she had used previously for the beginners kits so I could focus on the stones. I went to LJS to pick up some samples from the stone setting silver clay class and put them on chains and cords. I also made some more pieces myself to take for display and to show as work in progress.

 

On the day

My shows were at 4pm and 7pm on 7th October. I was glad that they were later in the day as I could travel up from home and back in a day.

When I arrived I went into the green room to get ready. I got changed and did my makeup and hair (sadly there are no make up artists to do that for you!). Then I was able to go into the studio to set up the display of jewellery and the demonstration area. You have to be quiet in there as the live show is filming in the same studio so I tried not to drop anything!

The staff in the studio were so helpful, helping me set up the jewellery, unravelling chains and generally remembering the stuff that I might have forgotten! There was a bit of concern about the torch firing demonstration. It is something we do safely every day in our own studios at LJS but I understand that they don’t regularly use butane torches and so were a bit wary!

london-jewellery-school-blog-create-and-craft-tv-metal-clay-demo-anna-campbell-screenshot-1

 

First live show

I was so lucky to have Natasha McCarty to work with as my first presenter on live TV. She had previously done a show with Jess and was excited about the silver clay. She really helped keep me at my ease and I so appreciated that as I was nervous. I did find that the time flew by and I quickly just got on with talking about the clay and doing the demonstration and forgot the five cameras that were pointing at me!

ljs-blog-metal-clay-create-and-craft-tv-metal-clay-kits-stone-setting

 

Feedback and making new samples

After the first show I went back to the green room for tea and custard creams! The producer came down to talk to me and asked if we could change the second show slightly to get to the polishing of a piece earlier. I could understand why, it’s important for people who hadn’t seen it before to be able to see how the clay turns into silver and the firing and polishing is the magical part.

This did mean, however, that I had to quickly made some new samples for the later show. I did this and dried them on the top of the kettle!

london-jewellery-school-create-and-craft-tv-metal-clay-kits-anna-campbell-screenshot2

 

Final show

My final show of the day was with Andy Love. He had been on air during the previous hour so I didn’t get much time to talk to him before the show started but he was also great to work with. I did two torch firing demonstrations in this hour (I’m sure they loved that!), one demonstrating the basic kit and one showing the glass setting.

Then it was time to pack everything back up to get the train home.

It was a long, tiring day but I really enjoyed the experience and hopefully I will get a chance to do it again!

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Why choose a private tuition class at the London Jewellery School

Tutor Anna Campbell has recently taught a number of private tuitions for us. She makes the case for choosing a private tuition and gives the case study example of one of our private students

 

london-jewellery-school-metal-clay-private-tuition-with-Anna-Campbell

Title: Pieces made during a private tuition (by the tutee and tutor)

 

At the London Jewellery School we offer over a hundred different courses ranging from one evening to one year. But many people aren’t aware that we also offer private tuition. Our private tuition sessions are typically one day in length (10-5pm), one to one sessions with an expert tutor covering the topic/s of your choice.

But a private tuition is more expensive than a one day class so why choose one?

 

You get a course tailor made just for you

You can pick and choose projects from our classes that you would like to do. Alternatively, you can ask to cover something that we don’t have a class for and we will endeavour to find a tutor.

 

You get one to one tuition

Based on what you want to cover, an expert tutor will be chosen to help guide you throughout the day. Your tutor is hand picked by our management team based on the projects you would like to work on.

 

You get more done

When you are working one to one we find that you can cover more in the time as you have a dedicated expert working just with you at your pace.

 

Good use of your time, especially if you’re not based in London

We regularly have private tuition students that are not based in the UK. This summer we had a private tuition student who came over from Japan! She did a number of days of private tuition with us and covered beading, silver clay and polymer clay with different tutors.

Even if you are from the UK it can still be more economical in terms of time and money. For example, if you would like to do projects from intermediate and advanced beading you would have to pay for two days of courses and travel to us twice. But you could cover projects from both in one day (note – not all of the projects!)

 

Dedicated private tuition space

We have a dedicated private tuition space in our new studios in the heart of Hatton Garden which means we now have more availability of dates and times. We are open 7 days a week so can accommodate weekends as well as weekdays.

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The dedicated private tuition workshop at the London Jewellery School.

How do I arrange a private tuition?

Contact us by email on info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk with as much detail as you can about what you would like to cover on your private tuition. Do include links to photos of the kinds of things you would like to achieve. This gives the management team the information they need to advise on what can be achieved in a day and to choose the tutor with the skills you would like to learn.

Also, please include a number of potential dates as we need both the room and tutor availability to match up with your availability. Please provide a phone number we can contact you on to help us do this quickly.

 

What have others covered in private tuitions?

Here are some things that have been covered in previous private tuition sessions. Please note, sometimes more than one day is necessary depending on the complexity of the work and number of projects you would like to make.

 

  • Making an engagement ring
  • Making a special gift e.g. for an anniversary, birthday etc
  • Jewellery business tailored advice
  • Support with a commission
  • Working in gold
  • Help in developing a collection
  • Glass and enamel work
  • Beading and wirework
  • Silver clay

 

Case study

K has recently taken voluntary redundancy from her work and would like to build up a part time jewellery business. After some discussion with our management team she booked two days of private tuition with me to work on silver clay projects.

 

K was able to pick and choose exactly what she wanted to learn from 4 different classes at LJS. These were:

Beginners metal clay

Intermediate metal clay

Soldering on metal clay

Fingerprint jewellery

 

Private tuition day 1

We covered topics from beginners metal clay and soldering on metal clay including

  • Silver clay earrings
  • A silicone mould and moulded silver charm
  • A cubic zirconia stone set pendant
  • Silver clay stud earrings
  • Silver clay cufflinks
  • Torch firing silver clay (all pieces were torch fired)
  • Soldering stud earrings and cufflinks

 

Private tuition day 2

We covered a mix of metal clay projects including

  • Fingerprint jewellery
  • Pendant with keum boo (gold leaf) and gold paste
  • How to make a silver clay bail
  • Silver clay ring with embellishment

 

(note – to cover all the projects K had to purchase some additional silver clay on day 2).
Would you like to know more about planning a private tuition? Give us a call on 0203 176 0546 to discuss what you would like to do.

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Free Jewellery Tutorial: Make a Beaded French Knit Necklace with Anna Campbell

Here at the London Jewellery School, all of our tutors are highly trained in a wide number of jewellery making techniques.  And they all love sharing their knowledge, skills and passion with the next generation of jewellery makers and artists.  Tutor, Anna Campbell, has created a short video tutorial on how to make a beaded french knit necklace using a French Knit Dollie.  Anna usually recommends the Clover Wonder Knitter as it has a wider hole in the centre which is great for larger beads.

 

We hope you enjoy making this project!  Have a go and let us know how you get on by sharing pictures on our Twitter and Facebook pages.

If you want to learn more jewellery making techniques you can find our face to face classes here, online courses here and a selection of other videos on our YouTube channel.

 

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Rent a jewellery studio or work from home – a journey

In March this year tutor Anna Campbell wrote on the blog about her thoughts about renting a jewellery studio versus working from home. She now has an update!

Whether to rent a jewellery studio or work from home was an issue that was at the forefront of my mind when I wrote the blog post a few months ago. I was wanting to further develop my jewellery business and teaching and it was one option to consider. I looked at whether there were studios available locally as I knew it was unlikely I’d want the cost and time of travelling too far. I hadn’t found anything that I thought would work for me. Luckily, serendipity happened to help me out! I was working one evening at the London Jewellery School alongside tutor Penny Akester and it transpired that she was looking for someone to share a studio with at Craft Central!

It was great timing and a good opportunity to share the costs as well as to have someone to work alongside.


studio before

I got my keys at the beginning of May and Penny and I spent a day building flat packed furniture to furnish our studio (here we are in action!)

London Jewellery School Blog_Penny-Akester and Anna Campbell new studio

 

We had a deadline to get up and running because there was an open studios at Craft Central for Made in Clerkenwell starting on 18th May and we wanted to be ready for this. We were and we opened up our studio to visitors that week. Thanks to all the LJS students who came to see us! It was appreciated.

London Jewellery School Blog_Penny-Akester and Anna Campbell new studio

My current thoughts and hopes for the future

I am pleased to have the opportunity to have a dedicated jewellery workspace. It is also great to have someone to discuss ideas with (and to share the costs!). Penny and I have very different styles and I think that is the best possible scenario as we can learn from each other to feed into our own work.

The bi-annual open studios also is a great opportunity to sell my work and get feedback from customers on my designs.

 

Do you rent a studio or work from home? We’d love to know your thoughts on this issue and see some photos of your workspace! Share them with us in the comments below or via our instagram, twitter or facebook pages.

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Why I work in wax…

Some of you may have already seen me sitting behind the desk typing away in the LJS office.  I’m the Deputy Manager at the LJS studios and I also make my own jewellery, under the name of ‘Anvil and Ivy’.  Juggling a jewellery business and a job can be tricky, but I wouldn’t change a thing!

Before I discovered wax carving as a technique, a lot of my work was very heavily inspired by geometry and architectural structures.  I would make three or four component parts and then create a collection using various combinations of them. I love constructing pieces using sheet and wire but have always felt that there are certain restrictions when it comes to design.

Sophie Arnott - Anvil and Ivy Geometric Jewellery Collection 1Pieces from Sophie’s hand fabricated geometric collection by Anvil and Ivy.

I was bought a wax carving class a couple of years ago for a birthday treat.  From the first session I knew I had found my ‘thing’.  The freedom of being able to create literally anything really excited me and before the end of the three day course…I was hooked.

As a result of this new medium, my work has become a lot more organic and sculptural.  Wax carving is essentially the removal of waste material in order to leave behind the desired shape.  I must admit, it was tough for me to get my head around the whole process at first.  I spent a lot of time at the start carving away too much material and cutting off bits that weren’t meant to be cut off…oops!  Like everything, it got easier with practise and an awful lot of experimentation.

Sophie Arnott - Anvil and Ivy Wax Carvings 1

Sophie creating some new wax carved pieces for her collection.

Wax as a material is really fabulous to work with.   Sawing is a breeze, filing is easy on the hands (it’s also a lot of quicker to remove material than in metal, which is really rewarding) and the fact that you can melt, shape and carve a small block of wax into something totally wearable still amazes me every time I get my castings back.  Obviously the castings still need to be finished and polished, so traditional metalwork techniques come into play in order to achieve the desired finish.

Sophie Arnott - Anvil and Ivy Jewellery - Wax Carved collection

A selection of Sophie’s pieces ready for casting.

As a whole I generally enjoy the process of jewellery making so much more now that I use wax to create my designs.  I’m an advocate of wax carving and will always encourage LJS students to give it a go!

If you are inspired by Sophie’s story and want to learn more about this fascinating technique do have a look at our day and evening wax carving courses.

Author: Sophie Arnott

London Jewellery School Blog - Sophie Arnott Bio

Free tickets for Made in Clerkenwell open studios in May

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Three of our tutors work from their jewellery studios at Craft Central, near Farringdon/St Pauls stations. They will be participating in the open studio event coming up, Made in Clerkenwell and invite you to come and nose around the studios!

 

What is Made in Clerkenwell?

Made in Clerkenwell ‘is a bi-annual celebration of Craft Central resident designer-makers and Network members. Held across two Victorian buildings, this is an opportunity for the public to look ‘behind the scenes’ and explore the studios of our renowned design community.

 

You’ll find jewellery, fashion, interior products, ceramics, accessories and traditional crafts by over 100 UK designer makers. Choose a gift, commission a unique piece, find a bespoke design service or just browse … this shopping treat is topped off by meeting the maker.’

 

LJS tutors

The LJS tutors that will be participating in the open studios are

 

Sima Vaziry studio 52, 21 Clerkenwell Green, London, EC14 0DX

Penny Akester studio 36, 33-35 St John’s Square, London EC1M 4DS

Anna Campbell studio 36, 33-35 St John’s Square, London EC1M 4DS

 

When?

Wednesday 18 May, 5 – 8pm

Thursday 19 – Friday 20 May, 12 – 8pm

Saturday 21 May 12 – 5pm

 

Where?

Craft Central have two buildings near Farringdon station where they rent out studios to artists and crafters. Your ticket covers entry to both buildings

 

21 Clerkenwell Green, London, EC14 0DX

33-35 St John’s Square, London EC1M 4DS

 

Free tickets

To get a free ticket you need to pre-register. Use this link here. Tickets will be £5 on the door.

Author:  Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs