Tag Archives: Jewellery Making Classes

Adventures in wax carving – Week 3!

So if you have been following my weekly diary of my 5 week Wax Carving Evening Class at the London Jewellery School you will know that after week 1 and week 2 we are getting close to finishing our first projects and spent most of week 3 refining and finishing our designs so our waxes were as perfect as possible before being cast!  Apparently it takes 3 times as long to fix any imperfections in silver as it does in wax so tutor, Sophie Arnott, spent a lot of time this week checking our waxes and helping us make those minor improvements that would save us precious time later!





There were lots of busy hands this week! 

In the case of my design – I had to burr out some of the wax underneath to reduce the weight of the final piece.  That was pretty hairy as I was using a burr in a pendant motor.  Now whilst I have used a pendant motor many times before over the years, I have only ever scooped out the underside of waxes by hand (and I typically use burrs in a pin vice and do by hand too) so using burrs in a motor was a new experience for me and it was very easy to slip!  I was worried about burring out too much wax but Sophie assured me you can usually take away lots more than you think.


My 1st Finished Wax

Once I had finished burring out the wax it was time to refine the finish of the wax so it was nice and smooth.  To do this we used many grades of sandpaper (haven’t met anyone who enjoys sanding yet and this class is no exception but it is necessary!) to smooth the surface and remove any scratches or imperfections.  I then finished off the surface with steel wool for a really nice smooth finish.  Finally, as I had a few curls of wax left on my piece that I couldn’t quite reach with the sandpaper or steel wool I wafted my piece over a flame which melted the excess and left a lovely smooth finish!  It is easy to overdo it and you do need to watch that you don’t melt your piece (or burn your fingers) but boy does it make a difference!

And as promised, here are some shots of my fellow students amazing waxes!





Aren’t their designs stunning!?  Quite extraordinary that 7 people taking the same course are using the techniques learned in such different ways!  I just can’t wait to see what everybody does for their second project!

Until next time!

Author: Karen Young

London Jewellery School Blog_Karen Young Bio

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!



Everybody hard at work on their designs! 


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.


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.


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.


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

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



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.


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


Our lives seem to get busier by the day, but every now and again it is worth taking some time out to invest in yourself. Short courses not only give you the opportunity to do something totally different, but they can energise other areas of your life, and even in some cases lead to a new career!

With so many choices available, how do you make sure that you choose the right short course before handing over your hard-earned cash? We’ve pulled together our Top 10 tips for choosing your perfect course.

London Jewellery School_Blog Post_Choose the right short course for you image 1


Understanding what you want to get out of the course is absolutely vital in helping you choose the right one. Are you wanting to try something that is totally different to your day job? Is it time to take up a new hobby? Are you looking to further your career by extending your skill set? Do you want to change career altogether? Understanding why you want to learn will help you achieve your goals.


It’s important to think about what you are really interested in when choosing a course. When investing financially in something, you ultimately want to make sure you finish it which is less likely if the subject leaves you bored stiff. Try and pick a subject that inspires you.


Do you like learning in the comfort of your own home? Are you happy to travel short distances to classes, or would you prefer to incorporate travel to more far flung destinations into the experience. Do you learn best during the day, evenings or weekends? Would you prefer to do a short course, or a more in-depth class over many days and weeks?


This one is a biggie. Do you flourish in a classroom where you interact with the tutor and fellow classmates? Or, would you prefer to learn at your own pace around other commitments and use technology to help you get there? There is a fantastic choice of both classroom-based courses, as well as an increasing number of innovative online courses that gives you great flexibility in terms of how, where and when to learn.


A great teacher can lift a course to a whole new level. Check how experienced the teacher is, and whether they have taught the course before.


Unless money is no object, you will have to decide whether you can afford the course you want. Remember to consider other expenses such as travel and accommodation. If it is going to be tight financially, are you able to pay in instalments to help you spread the cost?


Consider what you want to achieve after the course has finished. Do you simply want to spend time practicing your new skills, or do you intend to progress onto a more advanced level or qualification? Will your preferred course enable you to do what you want to do next?


Now you have a good understanding of what you are looking for, it’s time to do your homework and find out more about the options available. You can do a lot of your research online, and do check if there are any taster workshops or open days coming up to help you get an insight into what a course provider offers.

London Jewellery School_Blog Post_Choose the right course for you image 2


Once you have done all your homework, it is time to create your shortlist. We recommend having no more than 5 courses on your shortlist otherwise it is hard to come to a final decision. Use all of your research to help you decide which option is best overall for your needs.


Then be brave! Take the plunge, and look forward to getting started. You never know where it might lead!

The London Jewellery School provides a range of professional jewellery making courses for all levels at our London Studio. For more details about our classroom-based courses, go to http://www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk. Alternatively, we now offer our most popular classes as online workshops at http://www.jewelleryschoolonline.com.

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

Pre-Sale of new Online Silver Jewellery Workshop

JSO Silver Jewellery Workshop Banner

Here at London Jewellery School HQ, we love nothing more than seeing our students flourish and grow on their Jewellery making journey.  But time and time again you were telling us that although you love our courses, you don’t always have time to attend a class in person.  Or that the dates and times of classes don’t fit with when you want to learn.

So we listened, and we are in the process of creating our most popular courses in an online format available at www.jewelleryschoolonline.co.uk

And we are so excited that one of our most popular day and evening courses for beginners – The Silver Jewellery Workshop will be launching in an online format from 16th April! This fantastic, self-paced online course can be accessed anytime and anywhere via laptop, tablet or smartphone and you can dip into it anytime as a refresher.

And to celebrate we are offering the course at a special pre-sale price of £44.50 (50% off!) until midnight on 15th April.  Once the course launches on 16th April, the course price will revert to its regular price of £89.

By the end of the course you will have learned how to make two pieces of handmade silver jewellery – a soldered, textured ring and a silver cut-out charm or pendant for a necklace. Michelle will show you how to create your pieces with a few tools and materials which we can help you source so that is easy for you to make and create at home.  You can either make your pieces alongside Michelle, or pause the tape, get making and restart the videos when you need to.

Jewellery School Online_Silver Jewellery Workshop Examples

To get more information including the course outline, and to enrol at the special pre-sale price please go to http://learn.jewelleryschoolonline.com/courses/the-silver-jewellery-workshop?product_id=76745&coupon_code=PRESALESJW2016.  Or, go to http://www.jewelleryschoolonline.co.uk and use the discount code PRESALEJW2016 at checkout.

And, if you have already signed up and taken the beginners silver jewellery 1-day or evening class previously here at the School, you will get free access to the course once it is live!

As part of the course you also get access to our wonderful online community on Facebook where you can share your progress with fellow students, ask questions and get support from the School’s expert jewellery tutors.  All this will make sure that your learning continues long after the course has been completed!

We would love to see you on the course and in the online community soon!

Happy making! x

New Studio Sale – 20% off all day courses booked during September 2014

We are so excited about London Jewellery School’s move to our bright new studios by Brick Lane that we have decided to share the celebrations with you.

So we are offering a 20% discount on all day classes booked before midnight on 30 September 2014.

And that doesn’t just mean classes taking place in September but includes every full day class on the website right now.

So what better excuse to come along and check out our new home in Whitechapel.

To get your discount, quote the code 01091401 when you call to book or when you check out on the website.

Classes resume from Tuesday 2 September so we hope to see you very soon.

Happy making

The LJS Team

The Great Jewellery School Move: We’re on our way

The time has finally arrived for London Jewellery School to move to the studios near Brick Lane.

So the last few days has seen the team packing and packing and, well packing. Followed by stating to unpack today in our new home.

The move has taken over 100 packing boxes, a couple of miles of tape and a lot of bubble wrap.

Marketing co-ordinator Bronagh even managed to get the packing mentioned on Radio 6’s Steve Lamacq show – nice to get some encouragement.

It takes a lot of boxes to pack the school - here are just a few

It takes a lot of boxes to pack the school – here are just a few

The new premises in the E1 Business Centre on Whitechapel Road – just beyond Brick Lane – are only a minute’s walk from Aldgate East underground station, and close to plenty of other tube and mainline stations making it even easier to reach us. And don’t worry, if you are coming to a class with us in the next few weeks we will make sure you get a reminder of the address and directions before your course.

london jewellery school

The area offers plenty to inspire jewellery makers with a strong art and design culture. The Whitechapel Gallery is almost next door to the new studios, and there are lots of exciting design-led shops off nearby Commercial Street, in Spitalfields Market and at the Old Truman Brewery complex on Brick Lane.

Classes resume from 1 September and we plan to be back to normal right away.

LJS will continue to offer more than 85 jewellery courses, private tuition and jewellery bench rental across three teaching studios at our new Whitechapel base, so we hope to see you very soon.

Look out for a picture tour of the new studios very soon.



Welcome to our new studios

The big move has happened.

We are now in our fabulous new studios at 7 Hatton Square Business Centre, 16-16a Baldwins Gardens, London EC1N 7RJ.

That’s the same building as before but now we are downstairs.

The first class in the beading studio this morning was technical drawing for some of our Diploma students.



The silver studio is ready for a wedding ring workshop.


And the new refreshment area is gleaming – and don’t worry there are plenty of biscuits.


But we still have unpacking to do in the third studio…


…. and the office isn’t quite sorted yet. But the tranformation is amazing – come and see for yourself with a class soon.