Tag Archives: metal clay

Diploma in Silver Jewellery graduate feature – Leonie Marks

This week on the blog we will be featuring some of the graduates of our Diploma in Silver Jewellery as we have a free exhibition of their work this Friday, 7th July 2017, 6.30-8pm, at our London studios. You are invited to attend!

Today we feature jeweller Leonie Marks

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Where do you live? I live in Essex near the Blackwater Estuary

When did your interest in jewellery making start? I first became interested in making jewellery in 2010 when I thought how wonderful it would be to turn shells I had found in the Isles of Scilly and Essex into silver pendants.  I achieved this using metal clay and then started using sterling silver in sheet and wire form using basic soldering techniques to create different pieces.   

Why did you decide to take the Silver Diploma? I set a little studio up in my garden and then taught myself to set stones (in a fashion) which led me on to taking the Silver Diploma course as I desperately needed expertise in learning stone setting amongst numerous other techniques covered in the diploma course.   

 

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What was your favourite class on the diploma and why? I loved the whole diploma course as it covered so many different techniques and mediums which I would not otherwise have explored.  I would still say the Stone Setting was my favourite class.

What are your goals for the future? My goals are to continue to perfect my silversmithing skills – in particular stone setting – doing more short courses at the London Jewellery School.  I have a small business selling at fairs and online which I am aiming to expand over the next 12 months.  Since doing the online business course at The London Jewellery School I am currently setting up a new website which should be up and running in the next month.

You can follow Leonie and her work on Facebook https://m.facebook.com/leoniemarksjewellery

and Instagram – https://instagram.comleoniemarksjewellery

 

leonie-marks-bangle-london-jewellery-school-diploma-in-silver-jewelleryThe Diploma in Silver Jewellery exhibition is this Friday, 7th July 2017, 6.30-8pm

Where: London Jewellery School, Rear Ground Floor Studios, NEW HOUSE, 67-68 Hatton Garden, London EC1N 8JY How to find us

No need to RSVP, just turn up!

all images copyright Leonie Marks 2017

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.

 

 

You Can Make It metal clay residential conference

2017 brings us the first You Can Make It metal clay residential conference! LJS tutor Anna Campbell is among the expert teachers travelling from all over the world to teach. Here she gives you more information about the conference and how to book

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I’m really excited to be a part of the You Can Make It residential metal clay conference. If, like me, you have tried metal clay and love it, why not join us? You will learn so much from all the teachers and all your fellow metal clayers. People at all levels of experience with metal clay are welcome.

 

When? 24-26th March 2017

Where? Springfield Country Hotel Leisure Club and Spa, Grange Road, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5AL, England

 

What?

YCMI is a residential metal clay conference held in a spa hotel in Dorset. There is a selection of full day masterclasses, hands on sessions, demos and talks to choose from taking place over the weekend. There are so many techniques and projects you can learn over the course of the weekend – check out the website for all the information.

There is also the chance to get to know other metal clayers, take part in a charm swap (where you make a number of metal clay charms and swap with others to build up your own unique bracelet) and the ‘Your favourite make’ competition, visit the Make it Market and more.

The event is sponsored and subsidised to make it as affordable as possible. Check out the YCMI website for all the details and to book your place. You need to choose your masterclass and hands on sessions at the time of booking so don’t wait – you don’t want your favourite class to be fully booked before you get on! You can check class availability here.

 

Worldwide expert tutors

Tutors are travelling from all over the UK and the world and they include Wanaree Tanner, Anna Mazon, Joy Funnell, Tracey Spurgin, Julia Rai, Carol Douglas, Anna Campbell, Grainne Reynolds, Leigh Armstrong, Petra Cameron, Kim Paige, Shayna Bowles and a Japanese guest artist from Aida (manufacturers of Art Clay) tbc.

 

Check out the YCMI website for all the details and to book your place. I hope to see you there!

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

So what exactly is metal clay?

You may have seen that we have metal clay classes at the London Jewellery School but what exactly is metal clay and how can you use it? Metal clay artist and tutor Anna Campbell updates you on the latest developments

Metal clay has been around since the 1990s but many people have never heard of it so I thought I would give a general overview and a rundown of the latest products available on the market. This year there have been a lot of exciting advances and new brands/products entering the market so the metal clay market is growing.

Just to note, I am focussing here on the brands that are easy to purchase in the UK without import costs. There are other brands available but at the time of writing these are not as easily accessible as those featured here.

 

What is metal clay?

All metal clays have the same basic structure – metal particles, a binder to bind the metal particles together and some water to form the clay. This can be moulded, shaped and textured before drying and firing – either with a jewellers torch or in a kiln to form metal.

All metal clays can be hallmarked by the assay office.

 

Silver clay

The two main manufacturers of silver clay are Aida (Art Clay Silver Clay) and Mitsubishi (PMC3). We use Art Clay Silver Clay in our classes at the London Jewellery School but if you have used one you can use the other in exactly the same way. Fine silver clay is also known as 999 meaning that for every 1000 particles, 999 are silver and 1 is copper.

Silver clay is available in different forms which lend themselves to different ways of designing. These are clay, syringe, paste and paper.

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Silver clay and syringe by Jeanette Landenwitch

 

Syringe

The syringe allows you to do finer silver work e.g. filigree. It is also useful for filling in any cracks or gaps in your work. Both Art Clay and PMC have syringe clay available.

 

Paste

Paste is a watered down version of clay that acts like a glue, perfect for sticking two pieces of clay together. Artists like Terry Kovalcik also use paste for painting amazing designs on their pieces.

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Pendant, painting with paste by Terry Kovalcik

 

Paper

Silver clay paper is a flat, dry sheet of clay that can be cut, woven and folded. I have recently written a blog post on origami with silver.

 

PMC flex

PMC flex is a type of fine silver clay that is flexible and has a longer drying time. Perfect if you find you need a little more time to create your pieces, it can be torch or kiln fired.

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Art Clay Silver 950 – sterling silver clay

 

Sterling silver clay

Sterling silver is also known as 925. This means that there are 925 particles of silver to 75 particles of copper. Sterling silver is widely recognised in the UK and is stronger that fine silver so is perfect for making rings, bangles or other pieces that need more strength. You can also roll it out a little thinner as it maintains its strength and is a little stronger in the greenware stage (when dry but before firing) although still take care when you’re filing! It carves and engraves well. However, it does have to be kiln fired, torch firing is not sufficient.

Previous incarnations of the sterling silver clay needed a two firing system using carbon but this year both Art Clay (Art Clay 950 Sterling silver clay) and PMC (PMC sterling onefire) have released one fire clays. For more information you can have a look at a previous blog post I wrote about trying out Art Clay 950.

For those that are selling their metal clay pieces sterling silver clay is an attractive option as customers know what it is and are confident buying hallmarked sterling silver however the need for a kiln can put people off.

 

Gold

At the time of writing 3g of Art Clay gold is £259.95! Youch! It may not surprise you to know that I have not tried using it! However, there are other ways of adding gold to metal clay. I have had success with accent gold for silver which is 24 carat gold that you can paint onto fired on unfired silver clay. It is still costly, £92.95 for 1 gram, but a little does go a long way as you are only painting a layer onto the surface of the clay.

You can also use keum boo, a gold foil that is adhered to fired silver clay. You can learn how to do this on our one day intermediate metal clay class.

 

Base metal clays

Base metal means non-precious metals e.g. bronze, copper, iron and steel.

 

Copper

Copper clay is available from a number of manufacturers, for a full list see here. Art Clay Copper (at the time of writing) is the simplest of the clays to fire as it can be torch or kiln fired. Copper clay is an affordable option although not everyone likes to wear copper jewellery. However, it could be a good option for making larger pieces like bracelets.

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Bronze clay neckpiece by Anna Mazon (made from Goldie Bronze)

 

 

Bronze

I have enjoyed experimenting recently with bronze clay. I have been using Goldie Bronze. It is also very affordable and comes in many different colours. It arrives in powder form and is easy to make up into clay with ordinary tap water (I have a two minute video on how to do that here). This allows you to mix up the amount you need when you need it. Hard is great for making bangles and rings whereas soft is easier to carve and texture so a mix of both has, in my opinion, given me the best of both worlds. Firing Goldie Bronze does also have to be done in a two part schedule in the kiln in activated coconut carbon and, if you do it right, it works! In the UK you can purchase Goldie Bronze from Metal Clay Ltd. Metal Clay have also recently started stocking the Aussie Metal Clay brand and I’m looking forward to having a play with it. There are other brands of bronze clay on the UK market including Metal Adventures and Prometheus.

 

Other base metals

Other metal clays available include brass clays and iron clays.

 

Final thoughts

The original fine silver clay is still the most reliable to fire. However, it is among the more expensive of the metal clays to work with so doing some experimenting with other metal clays could prove worthwhile, particularly if you have a design for a larger piece in mind. I really wanted to make a chunky bracelet in metal clay and am currently doing so in Goldie Bronze. The cost of the same amount of clay in silver would have been prohibitive.

You do need to fire the majority of metal clays in a kiln (with the exception of art clay copper) but you may be able to find a kiln firing service in your area if you don’t have one yourself.

The final thing to note is that you do need separate tools for working with the different metals. Contamination from one type of clay to another can result in the piece not firing correctly and all your work is wasted. My main set of tools is for silver clay (as I started working in it I have more tools for silver!). I have a box of tools, texture sheets, clay roller etc that have just been used for bronze clay. Make sure you mark your tools clearly. In practice it hasn’t meant buying too many duplicate tools and I think the opportunity to try other metals has made the added investment worthwhile.

For a more in depth run down of the different brands of clay on the market see this excellent article from Metal Clay Academy

If you’ve been inspired to try a silver clay class why not join us for a day? The following classes are in silver clay:

Beginners metal clay class

Intermediate metal clay class – in this class you get the chance to add gold to your silver clay in one of the projects.

Would you like to try working with paper clay? Enrol on our silver paper clay class.

 

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

 

Mindfulness – Origami with silver!

As I’m sure you noticed, the mindfulness craze for 2015 was adult colouring books. For 2016 it has been origami. But did you know that you can do origami with silver? Tutor Anna Campbell gives you the lowdown.

For many of us jewellery making is a hobby; a way to relax and create away from our day to day lives. The need to concentrate on what we are doing allows us to be consciously aware and focussing in the moment rather than worrying about the future or thinking about the past. This is the elusive state of mindfulness.

I’m sure you can’t have missed articles and books on mindfulness over the last few years. Through research, mindfulness has been found to be beneficial to

  • Reduce rumination (going over and over things in your head)
  • Reduce stress
  • Boost your working memory (this is an element of your short term memory)
  • Improve your focus
  • Increase flexibility in your thinking and problem solving abilities

(For more information on this see the research from Davis and Hayes, 2012)

There are a number of ways to add periods of mindfulness to your day to day life. Activities like yoga, tai chi and meditation have been famously studied but concentrating on a hobby is also on the list.

london-jewellery-school-blog-mindfulness-orla-kiely-colouring-book  LJS-Blog-Mindfullness-secret-garden-colouring-book

Last year, adult colouring books became all the rage (my personal favourites were Secret Garden and the Orla Kiely colouring books). I think the mindfulness aspect was one part of it but there is also the simple pleasure of going back to childhood and the only things to be concerned about – choosing the right colour and colouring inside the lines!

In 2016 origami was introduced to the mindfulness trend. Origami is the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures.

Origami with silver looks impressive but is hard to achieve with traditional silversmithing techniques. However, it is something we can achieve with metal paper clay.

Both the main brands of silver clay, Art Clay and PMC, have their own version of paper silver clay. Both are a dry, flat sheet of metal clay that can be cut, folded and shaped before being kiln fired.

Here are some examples of silver origami that have been created in our one day Metal clay – paper clay class

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Paper Clay ‘Windmill’ earrings by Anna Campbell

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Paper Clay ‘Paper Aeroplan’ earrings by Anna Campbell

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Paper Clay ‘Origami’ Pendant by Anna Campbell

Why not join us for your own mindfulness day and leave with some silver jewellery?

During the paper clay class you learn three different techniques

  • Weaving with strips of clay
  • Quilling (rolling and shaping strips of paper)
  • Origami

Our next class with places available is Monday 27th March 2017. More dates can be found on our website.

Author: Anna Campbell

LJG Guest Blogger - Anna Campbell of Campbell Hall Designs

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

 

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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

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

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

 

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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

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.

anna-blog-photos-7

 

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

 

Diploma in Creative Jewellery – An Alternative to a Degree in Jewellery Making

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It’s Summer time here in the UK and whilst the holidays are in full swing, we are busy getting ready to welcome our new Diploma Students in September for a year of fun, hard work and creativity!  We offer a number of different Diplomas and options here at the London Jewellery School, but our signature Diploma is our 1-Year Diploma in Creative Jewellery which is a great alternative to doing a degree in jewellery, as you can work flexibly around other commitments and work as you spend 1 day a week with us!

This comprehensive Diploma Course is fantastic, as it introduces you to a wide range of jewellery making techniques, both traditional and contemporary, and really helps you to find your jewellery making ‘voice’ and unique style.  The Course will take you from a beginner in jewellery making to a professional standard and focuses on combining a mixture of traditional jewellery skills such as silversmithing, stone setting, wax carving and enamel but is unique also in its focus on more contemporary methods and materials such as resin, perspex, metal clay, fashion jewellery and polymer clay.  Although, the focus is on mastering the technical skills and techniques, over the Course of the diploma you will also learn essential skills for starting and running your own jewellery brand including technical drawing, photographing your jewellery  and a jewellery business day focusing on branding, USP and all the legalities of running your own business.

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Diploma exhibition pieces by Maria Lampitelli, Julia D McKenzie, Maysooun Homsi Touban and Kemi Awokiyesi (in April 2016)

The Course runs over 3 terms of 12 weeks and Classes run 1 day per week with a maximum of 7 students per Class.  Each term, your work will be marked by an expert Tutor and constructive feedback will be given to ensure you are progressing and pushing yourself and your jewellery designs forwards.

We understand that the Diploma is an investment both in time and money, so, we offer 3 flexible payment plans to help you along the way.

We are proud of the fact that our Diploma Course changes the lives of our Students and opens them up to a world of techniques, friendships and experiences.

We have spoken to some our former Diploma Students about their Diploma experience and how they have gotten on since they graduated.  This week we talk to Zoe Porter of Zoe Porter Jewellery and next week we will be hearing from George Galula of GV Jewellery and Linski Kilcourse of Linskiloolar Jewellery!

So Zoe, tell us a bit about how you started your jewellery making journey and what ultimately made you decide to do a diploma with LJS?

I started taking night classes with an incredible Danish jeweller in Wellington to try something new and quickly fell in love with silversmithing. It was a hobby that only developed when I went travelling around Europe for a year and realised how much I missed it. That’s when I started looking into diplomas in Europe and the U.K. and The London Jewellery School offered exactly what I was looking for.

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Zoe Porter Jewellery – Walnut Pendant

What was your favourite part of the diploma?

Learning so many new techniques and processes was great but the work experience I did with Just Castings, Hatton Garden really opened my eyes to a heap of possibilities I hadn’t realised when working with both silver and gold.

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Zoe Porter Jewellery – Pineapple Cufflinks

What was the biggest challenge for you during the diploma?

I had only worked with silver, gold and stones before the diploma, so the mixed media pieces were something I had difficulty with at first. It was however during the design of my final piece that I tried my hand at woodcarving for the first time and really enjoyed it!

What difference has doing the diploma made to your jewellery skills, designs and/ or business?

There were processes I knew nothing about, such as wax carving, that now play an integral part in my design process but one of the most helpful (and simplest) things I learnt was how to recycle silver and gold and make my own wire and sheet metal.

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Zoe Porter Jewellery – Molten Ring

What would you say to students thinking about doing a diploma with the London Jewellery School?

Just do it! The amount you’ll learn and take home from the course is great. Take notes – more than you think – and sit down and practice.

Don’t be scared to make mistakes, you can always melt it down and start over.

Where next for Zoe Porter Jewellery?

I’ve just launched my website and the response has been great. As a certified Fair Trade Gold user I think it’s really important to educate people on where their gold and silver is coming from and I’m hoping to visit Fair Trade mines in Sotrami, Peru, and help raise awareness.

For now, I’m just enjoying myself, working mostly on commissions and loving designing and making a number of engagement rings. They’re really special and personal pieces to be trusted with.

How can we find out more about you (website, Facebook, instagram?)

I sell online via my newly launched website – www.zoeporter.co.nz and I post regularly on Facebook and Instagram.

Thanks Zoe – good luck with your business and we are so thrilled to have played a small part in your jewellery making journey!

Our Diploma Classes are quick to fill up, so book now to avoid disappointment. There is currently availability for September intake 2016. For more details on Course dates and how to enroll, please visit the London Jewellery School website www.londonjewelleryschool.co.uk or call 0203 176 0546.

And due to popular demand we have loaded up the 2017 January and September dates onto our website for those of you who like to plan ahead!

Until next time,

Happy Making! x