Tag Archives: inspiration

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:


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

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



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


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


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




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



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



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




Leave the clay aside on a flat surface to dry completely



File the edges with a sanding pad to neaten them



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



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



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



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


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:



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.



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.




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!



Finished stone set ring


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.



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.



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



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.



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.



Finished Enamelled Pendant using Art Clay 950 by Anna Campbell


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


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


london-jewellery-school-blog-jewellery-packaging-inspriations-ljs packaging

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.



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


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.



Wooden jewellery box by Klotz



Fresh by Recarlo




The Clifton by Andrew Zo




Plywood boxes by David Trubridge




Heartbreaking packaging (made of plaster) by Stephen Einhorn




Tube packaging by HKO Jewelry




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


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.


Beaded bracelet from Collections by Hayley



Bunting necklace from Tatty Devine



Hippie chic friendship bracelet from OOAKjewlz



Feather drops and ear cuff from Claire’s Accessories



Rings and bracelets from Thomas Sabo



Fake septum ring from Elisha Francis



Feather ear cuff from Feathers and Thread UK



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?


Douglas Spell Cufflinks

Sterling silver oval cufflinks by Douglas Spell



personalised-cufflinks by oh so cherished

Personalised cufflinks by Oh So Cherished




Initial cufflinks by Penelope Tom



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



theo fennell skull cufflinks

18CT Yellow gold skull cufflinks by Theo Fennell


Tattoo inspired



Silver ASOS swallow tattoo inspired cufflinks



Steampunk Cufflinks

Vintage watch movement cufflinks by Steampunk Jewelry Designs




Silver coordinates cufflinks by Sally Clay



Football Cufflinks

Football cufflinks by Jewel Co





Union flag cufflinks from Menswearstore




Enamelled silver welly cufflinks by David-Louis Design



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


Encouraging inspiration to strike

Inspiration can come to you in many ways, sometimes in the middle of the night when you suddenly awake, reach for the notepad you keep by the bed for these very moments – or from something you see or overhear in the street…or it doesn’t come to you at all.

It is likely that every creative person has experienced both of a wealth and a dearth of ideas, so here’s a few things that we like to do to try and get some inspiration when it is proving illusive.

First stop, Pinterest…

But NOT for the thing you are trying to design, e.g if you are trying to design a necklace, don’t search for necklaces (as you might end up inadvertently copying somebody else’s design) – but try one or all of the following searches:

  • Patterns (you can be general or specific, depending on the colours or materials you have available)
  • Fabrics
  • Photography (again, general or specific, eg. Photos of trees)
  • Countries
  • Colours – sometimes just searching a specific colour or colours can trigger design ideas

Visit a library, museum or art gallery…

Any of these three places are a fantastic source of inspiration because you can do the following in them:

  • Just sit in one of these places, which are usually quiet and let your imagination drift
  • Actively watch the other people (you never know, the angle at which someone holds their arm, hand or head might just be the exact thing you have been looking for)
  • Look at the books, objects or paintings – (again be careful not to look at similar things to what you are designing).

When looking, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What one word springs to mind when you first look at this item?
  2. What jewellery does this item make me feel like wearing?
  3. Do I like the use of colours?
  4. Are there any interesting textures?
  5. If this item was in my house, which room would I put it in?
  6. Would I give this item as a gift to someone? If so, who and why?
  7. Can you see any shapes or patterns in this item?
  8. If you had to give this item a name or title, what would it be?
  9. Is this item light or heavy?
  10. If this item had a volume, would it be loud or quiet?

Write down the first 10 words that you think of…

  • This can be quite fun and make you realise or formulate ideas that have been buzzing around in your head, but not quite formed yet
  • You can then move onto being more specific with your 10 words, e.g the first 10 colours, or textures, or types of pattern (e.g herringbone, checked), places you’d like to visit.

Choose two or three shapes…

  • Then using only your chosen shapes, start to draw them in the following ways:
    • Set a timer for 1/2/3/5/10 minutes
      • Keep your pencil/pen on the paper for the entirety of the allocated time and repeatedly draw these shapes, so you will end up with a connected mass of shapes
      • Keep your pencil/pen on the paper for the allocated time – but don’t look at what you are drawing
      • Create a repeating pattern using these shapes – e.g circle, square, triangle
      • Try using your non-dominant hand to draw these shapes – try both looking at what you are drawing and not looking


The most important thing when trying out these ideas is to not limit yourself or stop because you think they aren’t ‘good’ or ‘interesting’ – keep all of your sketches, drawings, doodles, ideas and lists because although they might not give you inspiration today, but they might tomorrow or in 2 years when you know you’ve thought about something before, but can’t quite remember…

As a little experiment – I typed ‘Inspiration’ into Pinterest and these are the first five images that appeared…what do they make you think of?

Remember to look not just at the words/image – but the patterns, colours and other thing within the image, e.g the circles of the little girl’s wings, or the pattern of the yellow boarder.

Tell us what they made you think of and showus your resulting creations in the comments below.

jewellery inspiration

jewellery inspiration


jewellery inspiration

jewellery inspiration  jewellery inspiration




Quick weekend make – memory wire bracelet tutorial

 Because January is a month for trying new things, we are sharing a tutorial from our sister site Jewelry From Home that is perfect for anyone trying beading for the first time as well as fun for any jewellery fanatic – beautiful jewel colored memory wire bracelets.


They are really simple to make and there is so much variety in what you can do, depending on the beads you choose. You can have a lot of fun creating bracelets in a variety of styles/themes and even layer several for an on trend look.


Memory wire (bracelet size) – a minimum of three coil loops, more for a larger bracelet
Round nose pliers
Selection of beads in a mix of sizes

Step 1. Cut the memory wire with the wire cutters, we cut two complete loops but you could cut two and a half if you wanted a fuller bracelet. Decide on the design of the statement beads we decided on a pink and blue mix and then a purple and turquoise mix.


Step 2. Thread your statement beads onto the memory wire so that they are in themiddle. Then add the smaller beads either side. When you get to about 1.2cm from the end of the wire make a loop to hold all the beads in place – you can find out how on the free Jewelry Making For Absolute Beginners tutorial.


 We hope you give this tutorial a try it’s really simple and perfect if you are just getting the wonderful world of jewellery making.

Autumn leaf jewellery

This week a jeweller told us on Twitter how inspiring they found Autumn because of the colours the leaves turn. So that has prompted a look at autumn leaf jewellery.  Copper metal clay and fold formed copper are obvious choices for creating leaves in autumnal shades but it is striking how many jewellers are using resin, leather, plastic, textiles and glass to represent leaves or their colours.

Here are a few of our favourites to inspire you.

autumn leaf jewellery

These Catherine Chandler copper leaf earrings have been heat-treated in order to produce their vibrant colour

autumn leaf jewellery

Sue Gregor has developed her own method of dying and embossing plastic which she calls Fossilized Plastic. It captures fine details on the embossed surface, as in this cuff

autumn leaf jewellery

You can capture actual leaves in resin as with this piece by MGArtisanPendants


autumn leaf  jewellery

Or use leaves in resin as a background to silver. Resin and silver leaf pendant by Blue Brick.

autumn leaf jewellery

Textiles give you the movement of leaves and allow you to create wearable statement pieces such as this embroidered necklace by Shirley Anne Sherris.

autumn leaf  jewellery

Leather gives you movement, shape and is great for autumnal shades. Selection by by Jo at Chic-ycow Designs