Tag Archives: polymer clay

What can you learn in an evening?

Here at the London Jewellery School, we have classes of different lengths but which do you choose if you’d just like to try out a new technique? Tutor Anna Campbell gives you the lowdown on our taster classes

 

What are taster classes?
Our taster classes are short evening classes designed to get you started with a new technique. What’s great is that by the end of the class you will have made at least one piece of jewellery and will have a good idea about whether you would like to take a longer or more advanced class in that technique.

 

When are taster classes run?
Our taster classes are run on weekday evenings from 6.30-9pm so are perfect for those who work in London to attend. You can see the complete list of all our taster classes here along with the scheduled dates for the year.

 

What can I learn?

Our expert tutors teach taster classes in a wide variety of subjects including

Beading

Cocktail rings

Silver clay

Soutache

Perspex jewellery

Make a fascinator

Hand stamped silver

Silver stacked rings

Wax carving

Polymer clay

Introduction to gemstones

 

And more!

 

Here are a few of the classes that are coming up

 

Wax carving

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Next available date: Tuesday 23rd May 6.30-9pm

Learn to make a simple but beautiful wax carved ring in just one evening! And your ring will be totally unique!

This class is a great introduction to wax carving and is often taken before doing our Beginners Wax Carving course and is a great one to do with friends as a fun evening out.  

Throughout the evening our experienced tutor will guide you through the process of sizing, shaping and carving the wax using hand tools and heat, adding a texture to your ring if you like.

By the end of the class you will have created your unique wax carved ring which we will then arrange to be cast into your choice of metal (silver, copper or bronze), and it will be completely polished and finished for you ready to wear. Your ring will be posted out to you within 3 weeks of the class or you are welcome to collect it from the School. Best of all this is included in the cost of the course!

 

Perspex taster class

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Next available date: Wednesday 24th May 6.30-9pm

Perspex is a hugely versatile material that can be used for small subtle piece of jewellery as well as large fashion pieces.

Perspex is a brand of acrylic plastic that is often used as a substitute for glass. It comes in a rigid sheet and can be sawn or laser cut and bent using heat. It is available in a wide variety of colours and finishes and there’s almost no limit to what you can make. Also, with a little thought and preparation perspex jewellery can be made from home as it needs minimal equipment.

Techniques covered in this class include:

  • Sawing and cutting perspex from a template
  • Filing, sanding and polishing
  • Drilling
  • Attaching stones  

 

Cocktail rings taster class

party jewellery

You can find a range of ring projects in this tutorial – and make one to match every outfit.

Next available date: Thursday 25th May 6.30-9pm

Come along for a few hours make a beautiful cocktail ring (or two).This is a fun-filled, creative class (non-creatives are very welcome!)

Throughout the evening our expert tutor will guide you through the full process of making your own ring from scratch. We use a mixture of colourful beads combined with silver or gold-plated wire to make your bling statement ring.

Once you know how to make them you will have lots of orders pouring in from friends and family for their very own rings – you have been warned! 

 

Silver clay taster class

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Next available date: Wednesday 7th June 6.30-9pm

Learn to make your own personalised silver pendant in just one evening…

You will be using a great material called metal clay. Metal clay is a clay-based substance containing millions of tiny silver particles when you fire the clay under a torch or in a kiln all of the clay burns away and you are left with a solid silver piece – it’s like magic!

This is an excellent class to take if you have limited space at home and would like to make silver jewellery.

An expert tutor will guide you through the whole process from making the piece, through to firing and polishing.

Absolutely no experience is necessary as this is a beginners level class and complete beginners are welcome.

What would you like to make in a taster class? Let us know in the comments below

Our shortlist for the Jewellery Maker of the Year 2016!

Wow, we have been overwhelmed by all of the beautiful entries submitted to our 2016 Maker of the Year Competition!  You are all a talented bunch!  Thank you to everyone who entered and shared their beautiful work with us!

It was so hard choosing our short-list of candidates!   We absolutely love each and every one of these designs for their exquisite craftsmanship, design and presentation.  Choosing a winner is going to be tough!

Have a peruse at our amazing shortlist who are presented in no particular order!

Mihaela Coman - A cup of tea

Mihaela Coman – A Cup of Tea

Mihaela had the Katherine Mansfield short story in her mind when she made this ring. The delicate ring has 6 silver little pieces soldered together to create the tea cup and the citrine is cleverly set in the tea cup.

 

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Vlad Zoldak – Interstellar Ring

The ring was inspired by Vlad’s fascination with space and its elements, primarily an element that gives live to everything living even in the most hostile places; water. It is made of sterling silver and 20ct terminated Aquamarine. The entire ring is handmade and soldered together.

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Suzanne Ross – Lapis Maki-e Pendant

The inspiration for this piece came from the colour of the lapis lazuli itself. The colour reminded Suzanne of a peaceful ocean sailing with clear blue skies. Suzanne chose labradorite beads as they change colour with movement like the sea. The gold painting on the lapis is done in the traditional Japanese gold decorating technique called “maki-e” where urushi ( a tree sap) is painted on and gold powder is sprinkled onto the wet ground. When it has set, the gold is sealed with urushi and then sanded with charcoal and polished.

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Robyn Golding – Green Fingers Ring

This piece is called Green Fingers and is a double ring connected with three short chains. The piece is inspired by gardening but also from the materials used within this piece, It is made from 100% recycled silver and reclaimed plastics, the green hand is also flocked to give it its green colour. The hand is also removable and is a lid of a small container to reveal a real plant inside.

 

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Anca Druga – Starry, Starry Night

This design is inspired by “Starry Night over the Rhone” – Vincent Van Gogh. The pendant was hand painted and handcrafted using acrylic colors on polymer clay, fixed in a wire wrapped support to emphasize the texture and depth of the design.

 

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Claire Housden – Morphology #2 Necklace

This is a leather necklace which I designed in 3 colourways (black&black, black&white, and black&red). The inspiration for the morphology collection is vegetable tanned leather itself; and how it can be manipulated to hold a 3-D form. Claire has  developed a unique technique to texture and fold the leather, which she uses throughout this collection.

 

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Theodora Gould – Holy Island Bangle

The Holy Island Bangle is inspired by a small and magical island off the western shore of Lough Derg in Southern Ireland.  Theodora wanted to make something that had an ancient and celtic feel but also reflected the colours of the island. Made from sterling silver, the stones are 5mm cabochons; garnet to represent the rambling roses, sapphire for the water and the expanse of sky, peridot for the lush Irish grass, citrine for the yellow lichen which covers the tumbling ruins and dark and lavender amethyst for the wild flowers.

 

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Kim Styles – Morganite and Sapphire Cluster Ring

This morganite and sapphire cluster ring, with wild rose and hydrangea flowers in white and yellow gold. The morganite is set in rose gold to echo the beautiful pale pink of the stone. Kim wanted to make something really pretty that she could wear as an example of what she does. It is entirely handmade from 18ct gold sheet and wire.

 

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Nichola Foster – Wirework Lampwork Bead Pendant

Nichola is a lampwork artist and recently learnt how to wire weave which she finds really enjoyable and very addictive! Here is one of her lampwork glass beads which she has set and decorated with copper. The design emerged as she worked, and demonstrates her love of curves and scrolls.

 

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Scott Shead – The Kracken Ring

Sterling Silver ring with a large Pearl. The ring is designed to sit on one finger and have a tentacle curl around another finger.  Scott lives on a Scottish Island which inspires him and he handcraftedthe Kraken Octopus ring to be a statement piece. The ring is designed to be comfortable to wear and also to make a great addition to a steampunk or nautical style outfit.

To check out all of the competition entries – please have a look at the Facebook Competition Post!

Don’t forget!  The prize winners will be announced on 5th September!

Good luck to all of the Shortlisted Candidates!

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

Inspirations: Polymer clay jewellery

At London Jewellery School we think that polymer clay is sometimes unfairly seen as a only for kids. That may be because it is often displayed in primary colours and children’s kits.

However, it is a versitile material which you can use to create sophisicticated effects as you can see here.

 

polymer clay bracelet

The flower design on this beautiful cuff by Polymer Playin has been impressed into the clay and then enhanced with hand painting.

 

Meleanie West polymer clay

This hand-formed, carved and laminated polymer and epoxy Melanie West bangle features her signature cane work.

 

knitted polymer clay

Knitted polymer clay. This cuff is by Claire Wallis . You can see a variety of knitted clay techniques here.

 

faux gemstone polymer clay

Faux mahogany and spiderweb turquoise ring by Cara Jane.  You can find out more about creating faux effects in polymer clay on our evening course

 

polymer clay jewellery

This scarab beetle is made from polymer clay and not metal as you might expect. The artist is Aniko Kolesnikova of Mandarin Ducky and it well worth browsing her gallery to see what can be achieved in clay

Mixed media and polymer clay – new classes coming your way

From Missoni to Marni, fashion houses have been featuring more affordable materials in their jewellery ranges such as wood and Perspex, which makes it the perfect time to launch some new classes to help you achieve striking effects in materials that won’t break the bank.

mixed media jewellery classes

Wood, Perspex and metal can be combined to create fashionable statement pieces

Two options for a new Mixed Media Jewellery class are already available for booking. In either a two-day workshop or a five-week evening class, you will learn techniques to combine Perspex, wood and metals to create striking geometric pieces and dramatic statement jewellery.

The techniques in the class include:

  • Transferring designs
  • Sawing wood and Perspex
  • Piercing base metal
  • Filing, sanding and polishing
  • Drilling
  • Cold Connections and gluing
  • Heat forming Perspex
  • Polishing and preservative treatments for wood

We’ll also be adding a taster class for Perspex techniques and an evening class featuring intermediate polymer techniques.

These will be added to the website in the next few days but to wet your appetite we have a few images to share.

perspex polymer clay jewellery classes

Faux gemstones in polymer clay

Here at London Jewellery School we are already starting to work on the 2016 timetable and prospectus which means we are thinking about new classes for next year (and may be even this year).

One area where are students have asked for more classes is in polymer clay – especially about more intermediate techniques and effects such as creating faux gems, etc. We are currently researching the options which means we are looking at all the possibilities out there – so to inspire you in the meantime, while we design some new workshops, here are some interesting tutorials we spotted.

polymer clay faux gems

Lapis Lazuli is a favourite stome of several of the LJS team so we were impressed to see the pieces produced from this tutorial by Desired Creations

 

polymer clay faux gems

Opals can provide a lot of inspiration for polymer gems as with this project from Polymer Clay Central.

 

polymer clay faux gems

This tutorial for translucent pieces is a translation from a French site and it will give you lots of ideas for creating effects in clay.

 

polymer clay faux gems

Everyone loves turquoise and this tutorial from Reese Dixon shows a couple of options for creating faux pieces plus has a very helpful tip on polishing for a high shine.

 

In the jewellery workshop: Cutting your clay

Polymer and metal clay fan Emily Jones takes a look at the options for getting cleaner cuts and more unusual shapes with your clay.

If you like me love to create jewellery from polymer clay or metal clay, you probably have a collection of cookie cutters in a variety of shapes and sizes. If you are also like me and aren’t such a massive fan of sanding multiple little hearts, stars, circles etc when you are making things like buttons or charms, then you might also find the tiny jagged section caused by the join in some cutters annoying to have to remove each time. So I’ve been looking at the best ways to get clean cuts without this problem

Metal cutters

 

metal clay cutting

These cutters from Metal Clay Ltd are soldered so that the inside edges are smooth on the cutting edge

The obvious choice of course is to buy really great quality metal cutters which have been joined in a way that leaves the ‘cutting’ edge completely smooth. But there are other options to think about (and some may not involve much outlay).

Plastic cutters

Another option is to use plastic cutters: these are great for large shapes, perhaps decorations made from polymer clay. But given the cost of silver metal clay you are unlikely to be making pieces that large (Copper or bronze clay is considerably cheaper than silver clay, but both types require a kiln).

Plastic cutters don’t always give you such a clean cut as you do with a metal cutter, but they are more readily available, cheaper and come in a wide variety of shapes. Baking or cookery shops are a great source of both plastic and metal cutters.

Plastic cutters come in a range of shapes both traditional and more unusual.

 

DIY cutters

Another option that could appeal to your creative side is to make your own cutters to get the exact shapes you want. A browse on Pinterest came up with the following three ideas to get you started.

 

clay cutters

2) Use drink cans: You could modify/refine the joining edge here to make it as minimal as possible.

 

clay cutters

3) Use food tins: This tutorial is in Spanish, but the illustration is very clear for anyone to understand – plus I really like the shape!

 

Alternatively, if you can use found things, for example:

  • Bottle tops/lids
  • Yoghurt pots
  • Cardboard (works best if it is quite robust, but not too thick)

Or go freestyle, using a craft knife to cut out the exact shape you want.

If you have any other DIY cookie cutter making methods, we would love to hear from you and see pictures of both the cutters and items they’ve created. Please send anything you would like to share with us to: info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk

Book review: Polymer clay

This is the first in an occasion series of post where London Jewellery School staff, tutors and perhaps even students tell us about their favourite jewellery books or review new ones. Today’s post is from Emily Jones, the school’s deputy manager and a self-confessed polymer clay addict.

I love making jewellery and other things with polymer clay. It is a really colourful, fun and versatile medium to work with, but best of all it is relatively inexpensive compared to silversmithing or metal clay.

I have learnt most of what I know about working with polymer clay from these two brilliant books.

The Art and Craft of Polymer Clay  by Sue Heaser

This is the first ever polymer clay book I picked up and reading it quickly cemented my love for this medium, as well as making me eager to buy some clay and get making.

Sue Heaser explains a variety of techniques from the basics to more advanced including simulations, inclusions and sculpting. There are a lots of great projects to try, several of which I have done and do come out in accordance with the photos (my skills aren’t quite equal to Heaser’s, but even so, the results are reassuringly similar).

What is great about The Art and Craft of Polymer Clay is that Heaser also explains about the different types of clay available, tools, equipment and other materials that you can use with polymer clay.

The Basic Technique section is really clear and well laid out with the combination of step-by-step instructions and accompanying images. The colour-mixing page is also great as is the description of how to blend colours.

I have no qualms in recommending this book to anyone and would give it 5/5
The Art of Polymer Clay Millefiori Techniques  by Donna Kato

Donna Kato is such a fan of polymer clay that she developed her own version Kato Polyclay.

The best thing about this book is that it is written by a true polymer clay artist.

At the beginning she goes into detail on the ‘characteristics of polymer clay’, explaining about the different polymer clay brands and how they can be used together.

The joy of this book lies in the detailed Millefiori techniques – as well as the variety of cane ideas/techniques – including kaleidoscope, checkerboard and tiles. Like Heaser’s book, it made me want to get making, so this book became a happy addition to my polymer clay library. This is a great source of inspiration and I would give it 4/5 –  in some places it isn’t as easy to follow as Heaser’s and it is possibly not for the beginner, but definitely has projects to aspire to.

London Jewellery School has both of these books in our library, so if you would like to have a look through before purchasing your own copy, please do come and have a look, Mon – Sun, 10-5pm. If you have a specific book in mind that you want to look at, it would be worth calling us on 020 3176 0546 before you come in, to check whether it is being used in a class.

And if you want to share a review of an inspirational jewellery book, drop an email to press@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk.

Bella’s jewellery looks good enough to eat

There’s a new addition to the wide range of London Jewellery School taster classes and this one is quite mouthwatering – jewellery based on some of our favourite sweet treats.

Polymer clay specialist Bella Skye is joining the ranks of the LJS tutors with a class on creating “sweetie jewellery” including Oreo pendants and Love Heart Rings.

So we decided to find out more about her fascination with jewellery good enough to eat.

sweetie jewellery

Oreo, Love Heart and lollipop jewellery by Bella Skye

What gave you the idea of creating things like Oreo pendants?

I’ve always loved classic British and American sweets, they’re like a part of our culture. So when I found out I could make sweetie-like jewellery, I was hooked.

I looked everywhere for classes, but couldn’t find any for this specifically, so I trained myself through the internet and books.

Do you make other things in polymer clay?

Yes, I’ve made polymer flowers for necklaces and even little polymer people.

It’s so versatile you can make pretty much anything with polymer.

What other types of jewellery do you make?

I love Swarovski crystals and anything that sparkles.

Creating wise, I love working with pliable materials like copper and silver clay too.

If you had unlimited resources what piece of jewellery would you make?

That’s a great question! I’d make a rotating time-turner necklace like the one in Harry Potter…so I can travel back and forth in time.

And finally what is your favourite biscuit (edible kind) or snack to fuel your making?

Always TeaPigs tea – Jasmine pearls or peppermint is best! I don’t get that hungry when I’m focused on jewellery making.

oreo necklace

You can learn to make an Oreo neckalce and then use the technique for the biscuit of your choice

Bella’s first sweetie class in on Thurs 6 March, find out more here.

Make jewellery at the Big Bead Show

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If you are planning to visit the jewellery maker’s delight, the Big Bead Show at Sandown Racecourse in Surrey on 6 April why not book in for a jewellery class with our very own Chu-Mei Ho.

Chu-Mei will be teaching two workshops – one each on fashion necklaces and chandelier earrings – and they are the perfect opportunity to take a break from your shopping to do something creative.

Classes are £14 each if booked in advance or £18 if you sign up at the show (assuming there are places left). You can find out more here.

And if you don’t know about the Big Bead Show – well, it’s the biggest all bead fair in the UK, with exhibitors stocking supplies for wirework, polymer clay, lampwork, silversmithing and beading. The organisers promise that  “you’ll never have seen so many beads in one place before!”.