Tag Archives: inspiration

Birthstone for September-Sapphire-Barnacles of Bling

Sapphire is the birthstone for September and is famous for its deep blue colour, caused by the presence of iron and titanium. But these stones can be found in almost every colour and when non-blueness occurs they are termed ‘fancy’. A nice compliment, although it makes the gemstones less valuable.

It’s tough to write about sapphires without mentioning ‘that ring’ (you know, the one that now belongs to Kate). However, I intend to sidestep it to not seem like a big fawning royalist and just say it’s iconic. (Iconic enough that my American brother-in-law thought it might be mandatory to propose to British ladies with a blue-stoned ring. He didn’t, but I like the story.)

If you are born in September you are graced with the qualities of tolerance and wisdom. You are also inspirational. So here is Elizabeth Taylor in a swimming pool wearing her diamonds and sapphires. She has also brought along her trusty parrot. Liz was not a September baby, but let’s pretend so that I can justify the use of this great image.

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If sapphires match your eyes like this don’t be too worried if it’s not your birthstone.

The thing is with these gemstones, they do lend themselves to be used in significant pieces of jewellery on account of their value. So they may be better for inspiration rather than aspiration for now.

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Even this little skeleton merperson brooch by Lydia Courteille has an indicator of once being a marine monarch in its dinky crown.

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Yet jeweller Polly Wales has left no stone un-cast in these two examples of her signature technique of casting stones in place rather than setting. The skull encrusted with sapphires of different sizes could be the remnants of an underwater pirating accident producing a facial of sparkling barnacles of bling.

Maybe Leo wouldn’t have come to such a sticky end if (the other) Kate’s blue diamond necklace had been a sapphire instead. That ‘heart of the ocean’ could have gone for a light dip in a pool with a parrot rather than being brutally chucked into the waves by old lady Kate.

Anyhow, all’s well that ends well. And even if it’s not your birthday, don’t get the blues. Give yourself a present and join us on one of our stone setting courses and learn techniques to bring your own inspiration to the nation.

Stone setting in silver (2 days)

Intermediate stone setting

Channel setting in silver

Collet setting in silver

Grain setting in silver

Stone setting in metal clay

Introduction to gemstones (evening taster class)

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

August Birthstones-Spin Spin Spinel

Well, August child, not much to live up to here, but you are the best person anyone will ever know!

Your birthstones are Peridot, Sardonyx, Spinel, so you are spoilt in this area as well as having a splendid personality. Peridot will protect you from evil with its greeny magic and bring you good fortune. Spinel can masquerade as Ruby (which can only be a good thing). In fact, the Black Prince’s Ruby that dominates the front of the Crown, of the Crown Jewels fame, is a sneaky little (or not so little) Spinel (it weighs 34g). And Saydonyx with its layered formation, which is traditionally crafted into cameos could be used to capture your no doubt delightful profile.

Only the most fabulous of jewels could be appropriate for you August lion kings and queens. Go wild with the possibilities of summer colour as here with Solange Azagury’s marvellously fruity ring brings us an opal sandwich with spinel bread.

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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.

Who needs beads? The (w)hole of civilisation

It is National Beading Week so we have been taking a look at how beads have been used in contemporary jewellery designs

A bead can be anything threadable. The first pieces of jewellery were beads made from shells, while the trading of beads was one of the first forms of currency leading to the development of language. Oh yeah and they are pretty too.

It’s worth keeping your beady eye on the graduates spilling out of this year’s degree shows. They are fresh and dynamic and completely varied. Some of the bright young things of Central Saint Martins have favoured using beads this year and are creating some great examples of the potential for striking results that can be achieved. Rosanna Batt uses delicate threads of shimmering beads to trace the outlines of the body to create garments that challenge traditional ideas of function in clothing and jewellery as decoration.

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Rosanna Batt

Bead counting toys have been a traditional sight in the doctor or dentist waiting room aiding the development of fine motor skills in children. Also used as the inspiration for Dani Lane’s Abacus Maximus rings, a delight for any kidult stuck in a dull meeting.

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Dani Lane

Teri Howes takes simple bead threading to another level with her knitted and crochet fine jewellery pieces.

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Terri Howes

The tiny beads on Just Rocks and Coral’s yellow waterfall necklace work as a team to make for a bold statement and a cool cascade of colour for the summer.

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Just rocks and coral

Words can’t explain the staggering potential of the humble concept of these items of adornment, but it may be thanks to them that we can use language to attempt it.

Take a look at this video by our founder/director Jessica Rose explaining a simple and effective way of making a quartz crystal bead necklace that can be used for any type of bead.

Inspired? Take a look at our beading classes run at our London studios and our free online course with Jewellery School Online

 

 

 

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.

10 wirework christmas decorations to inspire you

This Christmas tutor Anna Campbell has been inspired to make her own wirework Christmas decorations. Have a look at some of these fabulous ideas:

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Wire christmas ornament hangers via WireExpressions

 

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Holly decoration via Earth Balance Craft

 

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Celtic tree ornament via Nicholas and Felice

 

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Christmas globe via Eni Fenyvesl

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Christmas wreath via Louise Goodchild Designs

 

 

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Beaded angels via Dotty Beads

 

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Swarovski snowflake via Rosie Willett Designs

 

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Wire christmas tree wall hanging via Better Homes and Gardens

 

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Beaded star and tree via Minimalisti

 

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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

Beginners wire weaving

Beginners wire wrapping

Wire jewellery with Linda Jones

 

Do share your creations with us on Facebook or Instagram!

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

 

Goldie bronze tutorial – Bronze tassel necklace

 

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Tutor Anna Campbell has been testing out and reviewing products for Metal Clay Ltd including Goldie Bronze one of the Goldie clays that is now available through Metal Clay in the UK. Anna wrote this free beginners tutorial to help get you started.

 

In this project you will learn how to roll your clay to an even consistency, how to use a stencil to cut out your design and how to add embellishments after firing. It’s the perfect first project for a beader who wants to try out bronze clay.

Please note, Goldie Bronze needs to be kiln fired. If you don’t have a kiln you can follow these same steps to make a pendant in Art Clay silver clay and torch fire your piece instead.

Also, ensure you clean your tools thoroughly when making pieces with different types of metal clay to avoid cross contamination.

 

Tools and materials

Goldie bronze mid (Approximately 10g, mixed and ready to use. See the video tutorial for instructions)

Playing cards

Clay roller

Mat

Deep texture

Olive oil or badger balm

Quik art stylus or needle tool

Quik art clay saving stencil 55180

Sanding pad

Cocktail stick

2 x flat pliers e.g. snipe nosed and flat nosed

Kiln

Aluminium firing pan

Coconut carbon

Heat proof gloves

Barrel polisher or brass brush and 3M polishing papers

2 x black aluminium jump rings, 0.81mm (or other jump rings)

1 x black tassel (mine came from a strand of gemstones I had already purchased. You can also buy tassels at upholsterers or haberdashers)

Rubber necklace or chain

 

 

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Goldie Bronze comes in powder form, you just need to add water. Mix up your clay as per the instructions, see the video for extra guidance

 

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Choose a deep texture as these work best with bronze clay. Lightly oil your texture (with olive oil or badger balm) to ensure the clay doesn’t stick.

With metal clay we use playing cards or spacer slats to roll out our clay to an even thickness. Put eight playing cards each side of the texture, ensuring they overlap the texture. Put the clay in the middle and roll it out, ensuring the roller is touching the playing cards on both sides

 

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Take the clay off the texture and put it on a mat, lay your stencil on top, press it down firmly to ensure it doesn’t slip around. Cut the shapes out with your stylus. Ensure your stylus needle is vertical and touching the sides of the stencil. Do this slowly and regularly remove your stylus and clean it of any residue clay

Note – I used the smallest stencil shape to complete this piece

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Leave the clay aside on a flat surface to dry completely

 

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File the edges with a sanding pad to neaten them

 

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It can be difficult to get the sanding pad into the small holes so use a cocktail stick. You can also wrap a small piece of sandpaper around your cocktail stick if you need additional friction to file inside any holes

 

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Pour 1cm of coconut carbon into your stainless steel pan. Place your piece/s on top of the carbon. If you have made more than one piece make sure you leave at least 1cm gap in between each piece

Fire in your kiln on a full ramp up to 350 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes

 

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Safely remove the stainless steel pan from the kiln – either use heat proof gloves or wait for the kiln to cool completely. Leave the pieces in the pan (they are fragile at this stage as the binder in the clay has burned away). Cover the pieces over with at least 1cm of coconut carbon and fire on a full ramp To 820 degree centigrade for 40 minutes. Wait until the kiln is cool before removing the pieces

 

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I used a barrel polisher to polish the bronze. You can also polish by hand using a brass brush and soapy water to start with then use the 3M polishing papers to rub the piece.

Use your pliers to open a jump ring and add the tassel to the piece, closing the jump ring. Also add the rubber necklace with a jump ring
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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.

 

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

Previewing Art Clay 950

A couple of weeks ago LJS received a parcel from Metal Clay Ltd with a preview packet of the not yet available to buy Art Clay 950. Metal clay tutor Anna Campbell was very excited to have a go with it!

 

Art Clay 950 is a new formula of clay that is also being called sterling silver clay. I have written more here about what Art Clay 950 is in a previous blog post so do have a look back at this before reading the results of my testing.

With the preview packet we received I wanted to test out the following features of the clay and compare them to original Art Clay

  • Strength – both in the dry form and once fired
  • Ability to carve the clay in the dry form stage
  • Shrinkage (particularly important for rings)
  • Setting a fireable stone
  • Enamelling

I was able to make three projects with the clay:

 

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Ring shank with holes

I wouldn’t even try this in original Art Clay! I wanted to test the shrinkage and strength when I hammer it around once fired. It was 5 cards thick before firing.

 

Results

This shows why it is important to do a test of your kiln before you start firing a new clay. My ring shank broke very easily suggesting that my kiln is underfiring (is firing at a lower temperature than it says it is). It should have been strong enough to hammer around into a ring band.

When trying out a new clay for the first time I suggest you make one or two test strips of the clay that are 5 cards thick and about 6cm long. Fire them to the manufacturer’s guidelines and test them carefully when they come out of the kiln. Can you bend them without breaking? If they break it suggests that there may be a problem with your kiln firing and you might need to adjust your temperatures or length of firing. If that is the case I suggest contacted the clay manufacturer for advice.

 

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Ring

With the ring I wanted to test the shrinkage, ability to set a fireable stone and carving.

I made the ring and dried it. I made a paste with 950 and tap water and was easily able to stick the dried set stone to the dried ring. Carving was a dream! I really love that having tried to carve original Art Clay and found it was easy to break it!

 

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Finished stone set ring

Results

The piece fired well with very little warping. The stone did change colour but this does sometimes happen with cubic zirconia stones in the blue colours. I was advised to re-fire the piece in carbon as this sometimes changes the stone back to the original colour but did not in this case.

I am really pleased with this ring. I will be using this clay for all my rings in the future because it is so much stronger than the fine silver of the original Art Clay.

 

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Enamelled pendant

I used a Quick Art template and the Quick Art stylus from Metal Clay to make this pendant.

I rolled the stencilled section out at 3 cards thick. It was easy to cut out the stencil using the stylus which has a really fine tip. My previous needle tool made that quite difficult because the needle was thick so it was difficult to get a neat line.

I dried and filed the stencilled section. I then added it to a 2 card thick layer of wet clay. Once dried I cleaned the edges with baby wipes to ensure no join was visible.

 

Results

The piece had bowed slightly after firing, nothing that I was not expecting.

 

Enamelling

Original Art Clay is excellent for enamelling because it is fine silver and therefore does not require depletion guilding to counteract the effect of the copper. I was interested to see how different this would be to enamel.

I went about enamelling this piece in the same way as I would enamel fine silver (by this I mean I did no depletion guilding).

I cleaned the metal with pumice and dried it carefully. I used the wet packing technique to fill the cells that I had created with opaque enamels. I had already tested my chosen enamel colours on scrap silver to ensure the colours would work well.

I did two firings of the enamelling for about 1 minute 30 seconds each time. On the second firing I added more blue and red enamel as the cells didn’t look quite full.

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Coming out of the kiln the piece looked like this. There were some brown spots and some enamel on the silver (next to the top left blue cell)

I used a medium diagrit (a diamond impregnated mesh that is used like sandpaper to remove excess enamel from metal surfaces) and was easily able to clean the marks off the silver.  I then used a fine diagrit, wet and dry papers and 3M polishing papers to finish the piece.

I’m really pleased with the result. It was much better than I expected as I had expected to see more of an effect because I didn’t depletion guild.

 

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Finished Enamelled Pendant using Art Clay 950 by Anna Campbell

Conclusions

I am very impressed with this clay. I certainly plan to use it for my own pieces because of the strength, ability to hallmark as 925 sterling silver (which is popular with customers) and the price.

At LJS we have been discussing whether to create a class in Art Clay 950. I certainly think that an intermediate class would be popular and different from our current classes but the long kiln firing makes it difficult to fit this into our usual one day class format. We will certainly let you know if/when we launch an Art Clay 950 class and would love to hear from you about what you would like to learn to make with it. Please let us know in the comments below.

Art Clay 950 is available to buy now from Metal Clay Ltd and currently you also receive 10% extra free!

I’d like to thank Metal Clay for the opportunity to test out this clay before general release.

 

Come along for a demonstration

I will be demonstrating Art Clay 950 and showing all the samples of pieces I have made at the free Studio Warming at London Jewellery School in our new studios on 29th September 2016 from 6.30pm. There will also be demos of water casting and stacking rings.

RSVP by 20th September to info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk

 

Studio address: London Jewellery School, Rear Ground Floor Studios, NEW HOUSE, 67-68 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8JY.

I’d love to see you there and chat to you about this new clay!

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

 

Innovative Jewellery Packaging

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If you are in business the packaging you market your pieces in is important both aesthetically and practically. Tutor Anna Campbell has a look at some of the considerations.

Packaging is one of the issues we talk about on the jewellery business courses at LJS and rightly so as it is important. Firstly because you want your work to be presented in the best possible light. Secondly because many of us sell primarily online and we need to ensure that the jewellery arrives in pristine condition anywhere in the world.

Here are some things to consider when choosing your packaging.

 

1. Branding

Branding is about having an identifiable look for your business, whether online, on marketing material etc. If you have spent time and money designing a logo, choosing colours, designing your website etc, it makes sense to carry this same theme into your packaging. You can do this in a number of ways:

 

                  a. Colour

The most affordable way to incorporate your branding is to use the same colour packaging as your logo/website colours

 

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Although the LJS logo has recently changed, the colours have remained the same and so the choice of colour of these bags works well.

 

                 b. Logo

You could also have your logo printed onto your boxes/bags etc. This is a great idea as customers are likely to keep these and so will have a reminder of your business name and will hopefully be repeat buyers.

 

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Jewellery boxes from Posh Totty

 

2. Pouches versus jewellery boxes

This is an interesting debate. I started out using jewellery boxes for my pieces but I had some feedback from a celebrity client that a pouch would have been preferred. I was surprised at this as I had sourced a lovely wooden box for this commission and was really pleased with how the piece looked in the box. However, I was told that this actress had a lot of jewellery and the jewellery box wouldn’t fit in her storage area so was given to her children to play with! Since this experience I send pieces out in these anti-tarnish pouches rather than boxes, unless a box is requested. This has also helped cut the cost of postage as boxes can be bulky and heavy.

 

3. Postage

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Large letter postage box from the Tiny Box Company

The Tiny Box Company (and others) sell boxes designed to be sent via large letter post in the UK. This does cut the cost of postage significantly so is worth a look. These can also be customised with your logo.

 

4. Innovations in packaging

I have really enjoyed looking at some of the innovative packaging ideas that jewellery designers use. I hope you also feel inspired by these ideas.

 

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Wooden jewellery box by Klotz

 

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Fresh by Recarlo

 

 

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The Clifton by Andrew Zo

 

 

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Plywood boxes by David Trubridge

 

 

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Heartbreaking packaging (made of plaster) by Stephen Einhorn

 

 

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Tube packaging by HKO Jewelry

 

 

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Little treasures necklace packaging

 

What kind of packaging do you use? We’d love to see your packaging and business logos so please share with us on our twitter and Facebook pages.

 

Author: Anna Campbell 

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

 

Festival Style

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Source: http://pitchfork.com/news/64875-youtube-launching-360-degree-live-streams-with-coachella-2016/

Anna Campbell has been looking at jewellery – festival style!

Apparently summer is coming. Apparently. When summer comes we optimistically think we might be able to spend an extended period of time outside. Some years we’re right. Sometimes, well, summer is a bit more intermittent!

Are you going to any festivals this summer? When I think of festivals I usually think of music festivals like Glastonbury or the Isle of Wight (I know it’s called Bestival now but I can’t quite get used to that!). However, there are now many more local festivals, literary festivals, arts festivals etc – as well as the more traditional open air music events; meaning whatever your age and interests there is probably a festival out there for you. As long as there’s glamping. And real bathrooms. Or at least a camper van. (How do you find your tent again in a sea of identical tents from Millets in the dark? Especially if you’ve enjoyed a glass of Pimms or two?).

According to Glamour magazine, the festival fashion essentials for the UK are a warm jacket, slouchy jumper and a hardy pair of shorts. I think I’d add comfortable shoes to that but perhaps I am showing my age (or belief in comfort over fashion!). Oh and a head torch. OK, I admit, a head torch may be the opposite of fashion but it’s essential nonetheless if you ever want to find your tent again before morning.

SOMERSET, ENGLAND - JUNE 26: Festival goers dance in the mud in front of the Pyramid stage at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, at the 2004 Glastonbury Festival, 26 June 2004. The festival spans over 3 days and runs until June 27. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

SOMERSET, ENGLAND – JUNE 26: Festival goers dance in the mud in front of the Pyramid stage at Worthy Farm, Pilton, Somerset, at the 2004 Glastonbury Festival, 26 June 2004. The festival spans over 3 days and runs until June 27. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Traditionally, festival jewellery has included the less expensive, more throw away items; you really don’t want to lose a platinum diamond necklace in a field!

With the definition of a festival shifting and changing it’s hard to really pinpoint ‘festival style’ but I think when we go, whatever our age, we are definitely channelling a 60s and 70s vibe. I suspect that vibe comes from seeing footage of American festivals like Woodstock and mistakenly forgetting that while it’s actually warm and dry in New York in the summer it may not be in the UK. And then we end up rolling in mud like Glastonbury 2009. Apparently the medics there prepare for treating trench foot. TRENCH. FOOT.

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Beaded bracelet from Collections by Hayley

 

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Bunting necklace from Tatty Devine

 

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Hippie chic friendship bracelet from OOAKjewlz

 

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Feather drops and ear cuff from Claire’s Accessories

 

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Rings and bracelets from Thomas Sabo

 

Nose-piercing

Fake septum ring from Elisha Francis

 

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Feather ear cuff from Feathers and Thread UK

 

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Bohemian coin necklace from Indie and Harper

 

Some final advice – make sure your phone is charged up. My Mum and Dad lost each other for a whole day at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970. I can’t quite believe they found each other again. Or that they saw Jimi Hendrix. Now that is a festival experience to remember.

 

Are you going to any festivals this year? We’d love to know which and your festival survival tips! Please 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

Men’s Jewellery Part 1 – Father’s Day is coming…

London Jewellery School Blog_Men's JewelleryFather's Day 19th June

With father’s day rapidly approaching in the UK (19th June in case you need to mark it on your calendar!) tutor Anna Campbell has been having a look at some of the trends in men’s jewellery. In the first part of this series on mancessories (is that a new word?!) she has been looking at cufflinks.

Cufflinks are a traditional form of men’s jewellery for those that choose to/have to wear formal shirts. However, they are a great way to show a little personality! Which of these would suit the fathers in your life?

Traditional

Douglas Spell Cufflinks

Sterling silver oval cufflinks by Douglas Spell

 

Personalised

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Personalised cufflinks by Oh So Cherished

 

Initials

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Initial cufflinks by Penelope Tom

 

Hipster

Hipster-Beard-Cufflinks-1024x670Hipster beard cufflinks by Iron + Oak

 

Skulls

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18CT Yellow gold skull cufflinks by Theo Fennell

 

Tattoo inspired

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Silver ASOS swallow tattoo inspired cufflinks

 

Steampunk

Steampunk Cufflinks

Vintage watch movement cufflinks by Steampunk Jewelry Designs

 

Traveller

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Silver coordinates cufflinks by Sally Clay

 

Sport

Football Cufflinks

Football cufflinks by Jewel Co

 

 

Patriotic

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Union flag cufflinks from Menswearstore

 

Gardener

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Enamelled silver welly cufflinks by David-Louis Design

 

Cyclist

Cyclist cufflinks

Bike chain cufflinks by Katie’s Bike

 

Happy Shopping for all those Fathers and Father figures out there!

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs