Tag Archives: wax carving

New – Wax Carved Jewellery certification course at the London Jewellery School

wax-carved-silver-pendants-london-jewellery-schoolWould you like to work towards a certification in wax carved jewellery?

We are excited to announce our newest certification course – Certificate in Wax Carved Jewellery level 1, accredited by the London Jewellery School.

This course is suitable for beginners or those that have some wax carving experience, either experimenting at home or in a class.

Taught over 5 consecutive Wednesdays (10-5pm) you will go from beginners level (a great refresher for those who have tried it before) you will then move on to intermediate techniques, stone setting and finally work on your own project with support from a tutor.

Take a look at what you’ll learn:

Week 1 – Beginners Wax Carving 
– Basic designing for wax carving
– Qualities and properties of different forms of wax
– Using wax carving tools to achieve your designs
– Making finished wax carved masters ready to cast
– Full information on how and where to get your wax pieces cast locally and affordably and much more…
Week 2 – Intermediate Wax Carving 
– More complex pieces including pendants and earrings
– Designing and making a collection
– Working with symmetry and being able to make symmetrical pieces
– Developing ideas and creating pieces with multiple layers and much more…
Week 3 – Stone Setting in Wax 
– Qualities and properties of different forms of wax
– Rub over settings including setting cabochon and faceted stones
– Using wax carving tools to achieve your designs
– How to carve recesses for different sizes and shapes of stone
– Making finished wax carved masters ready to cast
Week 4 – Stone Setting in Wax 
– Claw settings
– How to carve recesses for different sizes and shapes of stone
– Making finished wax carved masters ready to cast
Week 5 – Own project 
A self-led workbench day allowing you time and support to work on a projecto of your own design with the support of a tutor
The cost of the course includes 2 cast pieces which will be organised, paid for and collected for you by LJS 

The course will be taught on Wednesdays, 10-5pm starting on 7th November 2018

And if you enrol on this new course, scroll down to see the special bonuses you’ll get!

Be inspired! Take a look at some of the course samples

wax-carving-jewellery-certification-london-jewellery-school

 

Also, check out the work of jeweller and LJS tutor Sophie Arnott who regularly wax carves her collections.

What do you get?

  • 4 taught classes (24 hours teaching time) in a small group at our Hatton Garden studios
  • 6 hours of supervised practice to work on your own designs with tutor support and guidance
  • Two pieces cast organised and collected for you by LJS

Click here to find out more about the course and to book your place >

jewellers-academy-logoBonus offer from Jewellers Academy
For those students that join us on this course starting in November, we are adding an additional bonus courtesy of our sister company Jewellers Academy.
You will get lifetime access to the Jewellers Academy online wax carving classes.
Beginners wax carving
Stone setting in wax (note, this has been filmed but is not yet published. You will get access to the course as soon as it is published)

With the online courses, you can watch the video modules as many times as you like and it works as a perfect refresher for your training at the London Jewellery School.

What are you waiting for? Now’s the time to really get to grips with this fantastic technique. Click here to enrol >

Any questions? Get in touch! Give us a call on 0203 176 0546 or email info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk

Design jewellery inspired by architecture – a partnership with the Royal Institute of British Architects

royal-institute-british-architectsYou’re invited to a unique jewellery workshop inspired by Art-deco surroundings.

We’re very excited to announce that we are partnering with the Royal Institute of British Architects and will be running a beginners wax carved ring workshop in the gorgeous art-deco RIBA building.

What: Wax carved ring inspired by architecture

Where: RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London

When: 3rd November 2018, 11-4pm

Tickets: Click here for more information and to book tickets >

Suitable for complete beginners

 

This taster workshop will be run by an LJS tutor at RIBA’s iconic art-deco building where the incredibly intricate interiors can be used to inspire your ring designs. We just love all the gorgeous details of this fascinating building. Take a look at some of the carving that you’ll get to see

riba-carvingUsing photos and sketches from your tour, you’ll then develop two unique designs that you’ll bring to life in blue jeweller’s wax, pre-cut into ring blanks.

wax-carved-silver-ring-london-jewellery-school

With our expert guidance, you’ll then use hand tools to carve and shape your designs throughout the rest of the day. We’ll take you through the process of sizing, shaping, applying heat and how to add intricate detail and texture to your carvings.

By the end of the workshop you’ll have created two rings in wax, and have learned about the full process of wax carving and casting jewellery. The difficult part will be selecting your favoured design to be cast offsite. With a choice of silver, copper or bronze, your spectacular ring will be fully polished and finished for you or the intended recipient to wear. We’ll post your ring to you within 2 weeks of the workshop.

This event is for students and adults aged 18 and over. It is suitable for complete beginners and we have a maximum of 7 students per class allowing lots of one-on-one attention from our experienced tutor.

All materials will be provided. Online booking in advance is essential. Click here to find out more and to book a place >

Images are courtesy of RIBApix 

World Architecture Day-1st October

Here we look at the many ways that jewellery can be made architectural as a celebration of World Architecture Day. Architects love putting on different creative hats within the design world. The humble chair is often the focus of their attentions, but they are equally inclined (rather than reclined) to turn their hands to the decoration of necks, fingers and ears. Architectural jewellery is a term, it seems, used for what modern architectural forms can bring to design, rather than the incorporating of the columns and domes of classical architecture into collections-which is frankly a shame.

However Vicki Amberly Smith doesn’t shy away from this creating recognisable mini-structures in meticulous detail. From Palladio to Lubetkin’s Penguin Pool in mini metal models, you can sport a whole building on your hand from her ring collection.

Starchitects who have dabbled in the jewellery world include Frank Gehry in collaboration with Tiffany & Co and the late, great Zaha Hadid with Georg Jensen.

As we know, the lure of jewellery making is strong and many a former architect has turned full-time jewellery maker, to the good fortune their customers and inspirational joy for us. Great jewellery is something you want to inhabit. It makes you feel good, just as a well-considered built environment should do. Jewellery should be as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional and improve the quality of your life (not a lot to ask. Is it?). It’s the kind of high-level design work that architects do for their clients, thinking about their needs, lifestyles and use of materials. I think we should feel privileged to be in the company of makers like the following converts Amanda Li Hope, Jeanne Marrell and Yeena Yoon.

Images: Juliet Sheath

 

These pieces by Jeanne Marrell highlight the precise and intricate use of materials in her work.

 

 

Reminiscent of an iconic building that may not have been built yet, Ute Decker makes pieces that are both sculptural and architectural in their flowing forms.

 

The bold, brights of Finest Imaginary are often directly inspired by architecture, making versions of houses that can travel with you – clearly better than just one home.

Usually it’s the buildings that an architect leaves behind that become their legacy. While jewellery can be a reminder of a loved one who has passed away. But in the case of Luis Barragan, artist Jill Magid ensured that the memory of the prominent Mexican architect was immortalised in a diamond ring. A 2 carat diamond ring was created from his ashes as an offering for his archive.

Of course, you may want to put your heart and soul into your jewellery making, but maybe not your mortal remains. So if you are feeling like you could be inspired by architecture, visit us at our new digs for the day at the RIBA. We will be partnering with the RIBA for a Wax Carving Class in magnificent Art Deco surroundings on Saturday 3rd November.

Switch to a career you love. Train as a professional jeweller with three Jewellery Diplomas to choose from at the London Jewellery School 💍

Are you itching for a change in career? Or would you like a side hustle – a creative business you can work on part-time at your own pace? Why not consider studying jewellery making in more depth with one of our Diploma courses.

The cost of a degree nowadays, coupled with the amount of time you need to devote to it, means that people are looking for alternative, more flexible options to fit in with their day to day life and work. Many of our Diploma students have successfully completed the course while working or raising a family. With only one day of study per week for a year AND weekend day options there is bound to be a solution for you.

 

We have three Diploma courses for you to choose from, all starting in September this year.

diploma-in-creative-jewellery-at-the-london-jewellery-school

 

Diploma in Creative Jewellery

Taught 1 day per week – choose from Wednesday or Sunday

Not done much jewellery making before or want to try lots of methods of jewellery making? Then our Diploma in Creative Jewellery is for you. You can choose either the Wednesday or Sunday course days this September.

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 and fashion jewellery. 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.

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.

diploma-in-silver-jewellery-at-london-jewellery-school

Diploma in Silver Jewellery

Taught one day per week on Saturdays

Want to focus on silversmithing? Then choose our Diploma in Silver Jewellery. Taught over two terms by our expert tutors who all have their own jewellery businesses. We have a course starting on Saturdays in September – perfect if you are busy during the week.

This course is suitable for beginners as well as those with some experience of working with silver. You will be taken through the basics and then start to learn more advanced silversmithing techniques including soldering, stone setting, fold forming, wax carving and enamelling. You’ll have supervised practice time with an expert tutor and no more than 7 students in the group. Your work will be marked by an expert Tutor and you’ll be given support all the way through the course to learn, develop and find your own creative voice.

Advanced-Diploma-in-Creative-Jewellery-at-the-London-Jewellery-School

Advanced Diploma in Creative Jewellery

Intensive

If you have completed one of our Diplomas or at an advanced level of study why not consider our Advanced Diploma in Creative Jewellery. This Intensive course taught over 2 and a half weeks starting on Monday 3rd September, with five taught days per week, is for you if you feel like you want to get to the next level with your jewellery work. Working in a small group with expert Tutors you will enjoy the benefits of intensive study. We will also support you in finding relevant work experience.

You can read Advanced Diploma graduate Lil Adam’s thoughts on the course here > Alumni from the course also includes Sally Costen who has since won a Silver Award in the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council Awards 2018.

 

What if I’m not in London?

We have had Diploma students travel weekly from as far away as Dublin, Newcastle and Poole! The weekend classes are often a good choice if you are travelling from further afield as the travel costs are usually cheaper and the congestion charge is not in operation at weekends.

 

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

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

 

If you have any questions about any of our courses please do give us a call on 0203 176 0546. We are open during office hours 7 days a week. Alternatively, email us on info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk

We look forward to welcoming you on one of our courses soon!

Student Jeweller of the month for May – Louise Cain

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do

I am 52 years old and I work freelance mainly on nightclub and corporate event dressing. At the moment I am making a padded leather wall and a fabric and hanging crystal ceiling for Cafe de Paris. Every job is different which I like and I could be making bespoke table centres for one job or a stage backdrop. I have worked for myself for 30 years. I also voluntarily help run creative workshops for a community green space in south London called the Wildcat Wilderness. This summer we will be building a massive 2.5mtr high castle out of cardboard boxes. The kids will be allowed to paint and decorate it inside and out. Messy fun. We are also knitting vegetables in support of the first Lewisham Food Festival which is happening this year then yarn bombing a tree as part of the Catford Art’s Trail in autumn.

 

student_jeweller_of_the_month_louise_cain_london_jewellery_school

Silver ring copyright Louise Cain

What’s been your general career path?

I finished four years studying graphic design at London College of Printing in 1986 and never actually once worked in graphic design afterwards. I was lucky and my course was just before major educational cuts. It was very varied and included 3D design, photography, printing and life drawing. I worked in production in the nightclub business. Props, stage sets and backdrops for raves in the 90’s which was a lot of fun. I designed watches and lighters for BOY London in the later 90’s and clubwear. In 1998 I had a dance costume shown in the Streetstyle exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum. I have loved my work over the years and was able to work from home and bring up my two children as a single mum for 12 years. I had time with my children and being freelance could tell clients I was working on another project. It also meant they thought I was busier than I really was and booked me early!

 

 

Corset ring copyright Louise Cain

When did your interest in jewellery making start?
I have throughout my whole life loved Jewellery. Particularly large silver rings. I wanted to design and make my own pieces thirty years ago but was never in a position time wise or financially to try. Now both my children have left home I can afford it!

 

Which class/es did you take at the London Jewellery School and why did you choose that class?

I attended the working with silver beginners week at the London Jewellery School which was fantastic. It covered so much that I left feeling confident enough to go away and have a go myself. While I was there one of your members of staff showed me her first wax carving ring. I loved it and I realized that the kind of big silver pieces I really wanted to work on would not cost as much as I thought.

I then attended the one-day beginners wax carving class. Again I learned so much and thoroughly enjoyed it. I bought some wax and started working on my first dozen pieces. It has been so lovely to be able to work on something creative and personal instead of commercial.

 

What are your goals for the future?

I really would like to do less of the club work, less ladders and heavy work and work on my wax carving was heaven in comparison. My first dozen pieces taught me a huge amount and I have new designs to explore them further, particularly the double finger ring. I like working on the multi-finger rings the most.

 

Double ring copyright Louise Cain

What is your favourite piece you ever made and why?

If I had to pick a favourite I am torn between the laced bustier and the double finger straps and hoop ring. I think it would be the double one.

 

See more of Louise’s work here

Instagram – @thinlinesilver
Email – thinlinesilver@gmail.com

 

Louise’s work will be displayed at the London Jewellery School throughout the month of May so do come and visit if you can!

Would you like to be chosen as a future Student Jeweller of the Month? Click here to find out more and how to apply

Wax carved jewellery inspiration

We are LOVING wax carved jewellery at the moment but what can you make when you’ve mastered the technique? Here is some inspiration from our talented tutors and students to get you thinking.

(And here is a blog post from our own Lil Adams on what wax carving is and how casting works in case you’re not sure)

Rough-ruby-silver-ring-Anvil-and-Ivy-Sophie-Arnott

Rough ruby silver ring by Sophie Arnott

gold-pearl-ring-rebecca-steiner

Gold pearl ring by Rebecca Steiner

Silver-pendant-Sophie-Arnott

Silver pendant by Sophie Arnott

Gold-rings-rebecca-steiner

Gold rings by Rebecca Steiner

 

knuckle-duster-ring-by-natasha-lisa-afrodeco

Knuckle duster ring by Natasha Lisa

 

rose-gold-ring-jmhandcraftedjewellery

Rose gold ring by Jayne Murphy

silver-cufflinks-by-natasha-lisa-afrodeco

Silver cufflinks by Natasha Lisa

Silver-ring-sophie-arnott

Silver ring by Sophie Arnott

silver-ring-by-jayne-murphy

Silver ring by Jayne Murphy

george-lion-ring-lil-adams

George the lion ring in progress! By Lil Adams

Note: for inspiration only. The jewellery designs shown here are copyrighted by the designers


Fancy giving wax carving a try? We have some classes at the London Jewellery School and online at Jewellery School Online. We also have a kit of tools available to make it easy to get started.

In London

We have lots of wax carving classes at the London Jewellery School for beginners and advanced learners including an evening taster classa five-week evening class and day classes so do check out our courses and available dates on our website.

Online courses

We have a FREE wax carved ring making online course with tutor Sophie Arnott. You will learn to apply your designs to your wax piece, remove excess wax and create a full 3D design of your choosing. Following that, Sophie will show you how to file your wax piece into shape, remove any file marks and sand and refine the piece ready for casting. You will also learn how to create a ring to size and some recommendations on casters to use.

beginners-wax-carving-rebecca-steiner-jewellery-school-onlineIf you enjoy that course then consider our more comprehensive beginners wax carving online course which covers ring making, pendant making. The course launches on 26th March 2018 and is currently available at a pre-sale price of 50% off. CLICK HERE FOR 50% OFF – VALID UNTIL 26TH MARCH 2018 ONLY. THAT’S TOMORROW!

 

 

 

wax-carving-kit-london-jewellery-schoolKits

At the London Jewellery School we are also selling wax carving toolkits which have everything you need to get started! The cost is £100 and includes UK postage (for postage outside the UK please email us at info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk for a postage quote)

Click here to see what you get in the kit and to purchase

We also have a set of three wax ring blanks for sale for £12.99 plus postage, perfect if you want to get started with rings straight away!

 

All prices are correct at time of blog publication but please note that they are subject to change

Not Just Castings – how lost wax casting works and more

At the beginning of 2016 I undertook a placement with Just Castings in Hatton Garden. This was part of the two week intensive Advanced Diploma in Creative Jewellery Making (see previous blog entry about how great this was) which I had completed the previous summer.

Their premises have since moved to a spangly new home next door at 19 Cross Street, where their knowledgeable and patient team can answer all of your silly questions (as they still answer mine on a regular basis) about their services. These services go far beyond just casting to CAD design, 3D printing, plating and finishing. However, the moulding and casting process will remain forever the most fascinating to me.

I was privileged to spend two days learning the mould making and casting processes. I gained an overview of the CAD, 3D printing, finishing and plating, which can be done there behind the scenes, whilst two of my own wax pieces took their own journey into silver and brass.

I returned for two afternoons of finishing these pieces. This involved de-sprueing – the sprue is the entry point for the metal into the piece (before my placement I called this a spout) and polishing a silver ring, also finishing and rose-gold plating a brick bead for a necklace with Chris and Adrian at the studios just down the street. There was a  professional setter working away in the same studio, so I got to take a peek at this fiddly precise work too.

My illustration of the casting process, complete with spelling mistake and bunnies which were cast from pasta shapes.

I took a lovely little refresher tour with Theo recently, for a helpful reminder of the time I spent learning the ways of JC.  The process used is called lost wax casting. Lost wax casting is an ancient technique, but this centrifugal, mechanical process is the most accurate way of achieving intricate results. This modern way of casting has its roots in dentistry. To my delight I discovered gold tooth caps on the casting trees whilst on my placement – it’s nice when traditions are upheld. Items can be brought in three different ways to be transformed into a range of metals, but at some stage they need to be a wax. You could bring in a hand-carved wax piece, a model or master to have a mould made to then make waxes or a 3D design, which can be printed or milled from sheet wax.

It’s a positive to negative to positive process. The mould making stage is to create waxes from existing objects or multiples from the same original wax and allows for more types of items to be cast. These moulds are custom made to the size of the piece from a latex mixture.

Bespoke cold moulds setting in their frames

Once these are set and the piece from within is expertly cut out by hand, the moulds are ready to make waxes using the vacuum wax injector. The hot wax cools into shape in the rubber mould and the wax is removed and another can then be made in the same way shortly after.

Wax made using a cold mould

These waxes are then skillfully arranged on specific trees in accordance to their requirements, which metal, how delicate the piece is etc. Cast in place pieces (a technique where stones can be cast within a wax piece) go separately, as they need to be in a different oven set to a different temperature. The trees go into flasks, the holes of the metal flasks are taped up and the investment (a type of plaster, made up in the vacuum mixing machine) is mixed and poured into the canisters with the wax trees inside, then left to set. The next step is for the canisters to go into the de-waxing chamber for the majority of the wax to be steamed away. This leaves just a film of wax on the impression that will eventually be filled with metal, before going into the oven overnight to melt away the remaining wax and strengthen the investment plaster. There are three ovens running on 24 hour cycles, to allow for processes like casting in place and also so that all of the casting eggs are not in one hot basket.

Vasco creating wax trees

Once out of the oven, the canister full of negative impressions left by the wax goes into one of three casting machines. The largest being the vacuum centrifugal machine. This will spin the canister while a crucible will dispense the required molten metal into the voids to reach the hollows of the end of each branch of the tree.

 


Centrifugal casting machine

Back in the day I am told this was done by sling shot, so a traditional caster would be super strong from swinging their castings around their head, pretty cool stuff!

These are then cleaned with a high-pressure washer (this part reminds me of the opening credits of The Simpsons when Homer is at work) to clean off the investment plaster.

The metal tree, free from its canister and most of the plaster then goes into acid to get cleaner and get rid of any oxidisation.

Metal tree fresh from the canister

Pieces are then cut down from the trees and prepared for collection.

Wax giraffe and metal giraffe made from a pasta piece using a cold mould and lost wax casting process

This is where the process usually stops on the casting side of Just Castings, but as you will recall, they don’t do just casting! For me I take whatever silly thing I have decided to turn into metal this time and pop off to try and make it wearable (sometimes returning to get something plated), but there is still a whole separate underground grotto of finishing down the street. If decide you would like your pieces finishing, polishing, plating or stones setting these guys have got you covered there too.

Adrian finishing a ring in the workshop

So give casting a try, it’s magical, but don’t take it lightly that even if your brother ain’t that heavy you may want an estimate before you get him cast in platinum. For a really enlightening look at their processes, Just Casting have this lovely video ,and there is a handy FAQ’s section on the website too. But if in doubt just ask, they are a delight, see:

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


Fancy giving wax carving a try? We have some classes at the London Jewellery School and online at Jewellery School Online as well as a starter kit available.

In London

We have lots of wax carving classes at the London Jewellery School for beginners and advanced learners including an evening taster class, a five-week evening class and day classes so do check out our courses and available dates on our website.

 

 

 

Online courses

We have a FREE wax carved ring making online course with tutor Sophie Arnott. You will learn to apply your designs to your wax piece, remove excess wax and create a full 3D design of your choosing. Following that, Sophie will show you how to file your wax piece into shape, remove any file marks and sand and refine the piece ready for casting. You will also learn how to create a ring to size and some recommendations on casters to use.

beginners-wax-carving-rebecca-steiner-jewellery-school-onlineIf you enjoy that course then consider our more comprehensive beginners wax carving online course which covers ring making, pendant making. The course launches on 26th March 2018 and is currently available at a pre-sale price of 50% off. CLICK HERE FOR 50% OFF – VALID UNTIL 26TH MARCH 2018 ONLY

 

 

 

Kits

At the London Jewellery School we are also selling wax carving toolkits which have everything you need to get started! The cost is £100 and includes UK postage (for postage outside the UK please email us at info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk for a postage quote)

Click here to see what you get in the kit and to purchase

We also have a set of three wax ring blanks for sale for £12.99 plus postage, perfect if you want to get started with rings straight away!

 

All prices are correct at time of blog publication but please note that they are subject to change

 

 

 

 

Learn wax carving for free

Join Jewellery School Online in the brand new, FREE online ‘wax carved ring’ class and learn how to use jeweller’s wax to make a unique ring, how to get it cast in the metal of your choice and much more.

This video course gives you step by step instructions and helpful hints to get to grips with this versatile medium, which is perfect for anyone making jewellery for fun or as part of a jewellery business. The course is all online so you can access it anytime and comes with a complete set of downloadable notes to support your learning.

If you are anything like us and love making jewellery, this is a great way to learn a new technique from the comfort of your own home.

So come join in the fun, enrol now and get started making your wax pieces in no time!

P.S. We also provide full info on what basic tools and materials you will need and how to get set up making at home.

Click here to join the class for free

 

beginners-wax-carving-rebecca-steiner-jewellery-school-onlineIf you enjoy that class or have already tried wax carving before why not pre-enrol on our online beginners wax carving course. This goes into depth about carving designs including pendants, sizing, filing and finishing your cast pieces and much more.

The course will be released on 26th March 2018 and will cost £79 but if you enrol now you can get the pre-sale price of £39.50, that’s 50% off!

Click here to find out more and to access the 50% off discount

 

At the London Jewellery School we are also selling wax carving toolkits which have everything you need to get started! The cost is £82.55 and includes UK postage (for postage outside the UK please email us at info@londonjewelleryschool.co.uk for a postage quote)

Click here to see what you get in the kit and to purchase

We also have a set of three wax ring blanks for sale for £12.99 plus postage, perfect if you want to get started with rings straight away!

 

Prefer coming to London for a class? We have lots of wax carving classes at the London Jewellery School for beginners and advanced learners including an evening taster class, a five-week evening class and day classes so do check out our courses and available dates on our website.

Diploma in Silver Jewellery graduate feature – Guida Cusso

 

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 Guida Cusso

guida-cusso-silver-ring-london-jewellery-school-diploma-in-silver-jewelleryWhere do you live? I have been living in London for the last 5 and a half years, but I am originally from Barcelona.

When did your interest in jewellery making start? It started when I was a child, I was making jewellery with plastic beads at an early age. I have always loved making things with my hands and I have tried all kind of crafts. When I turned 18 I went to uni to study Translation and Interpreting, but it was a very hard decision and my other option would have been artistic jewellery then.

Why did you decide to take the Silver Diploma? I had tried a few evening courses on silver jewellery and I loved them so much! I really wanted to take a step forward and the Silver Jewellery Diploma was my perfect match.

guida-cusso-silver-brooch-london-jewellery-school-diploma-in-silver-jewelleryWhat was your favourite class on the diploma and why? I enjoyed them all, but if I had to pick one, I would say wax carving. It is so rewarding and relaxing!

What are your goals for the future? I feel quite confident with my skills, but I would love to keep learning more techniques and to go deeper on what I have already learnt.

What is your favourite piece you ever made and why? From all the pieces I have made, my favourite one is a pair of drop earrings in the shape of a curved leaf with matt finish. While making them I realised how important it is to mirror symmetrical earrings. It was hard work but the result was a pair of very light and wearable earrings that match anything you wear.

guida-cusso-stone-set-pendant-london-jewellery-school-diploma-in-silver-jewelleryYou can follow Guida on instagram @guidiki

 

 

The 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

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images copyright Guida Cusso 2017

Advanced Jewellery Diploma review – back to school again!

Back in September 2015, after a year of jewellery making in an evening class, I took the plunge and decided to use up a good chunk of annual leave on a two-week Advanced Diploma in Creative Jewellery Course at London Jewellery School.

Real school wasn’t easy peasy for me. As it turns out, I am a stealth dyslexic who muddled through, mildly stressed-out, until a lecturer found me out through the help of a particularly nonsensical essay. So I was slightly nervous rather than excited going into my two-week staycation learning holiday. I already knew I really enjoyed making jewellery, but had been making my first pieces in a very excited, thankful-it-was-going-well kind of way and was a little undisciplined when it came to perfecting techniques. I still work a little in this manner, cracking on with each new idea, as it’s what I enjoy about making. The structure of this course, with specific days for designing and the various methods of making (and focussing on the different techniques within this), really helped to control my natural inclination to work in a scattered way. Although this course was ideal to rein in and consolidate ideas, I feel it would be equally beneficial to students approaching these weeks looking for creative inspiration.

Having whole days devoted to making was such a treat, I felt like a proper jeweller. All the tutors are practising, exhibiting and selling their work, so the conversations in the classes were often helpful beyond the subject being covered and I felt genuinely encouraged by people who knew their onions.

Speaking of onions… One of the areas where I had little formal training and had practiced at home the least was wax carving and so in that way that it felt that it was stretching me to learn – these two days of designing and making were a little like going back to school. I love the products (or should I say produce) of these days. These bad boys are perfect for me, they are heavy, ridiculous and pun-tastic. The expertise of the tutors was there to make the heavy and ridiculous aspects non-essential qualities of this design. This advice always assumes that you may want to start your own business; these pieces could be made lighter and more wearable and it considers the cost of casting as well as the customer experience of the piece.  I also could not have managed to create such spheres without the patient help of an expert.

Onions

Another thing that attracted me to sign up for this particular course was the prospect of the work placement, usually a week long, that staff will help you to arrange within an area that is of interest to you. I did mine with JC (Just Castings in Hatton Garden) and it was an invaluable insight into the process of casting, CAD design, plating, 3D printing and finishing jewellery to professional standards –but this is another story in itself. I wear the silver ‘haribo’ ring I made there every day. Along with many other pieces from my happy little jewellery holiday.

I would recommend (and have recommended) treating yourself to this course, I signed up after a quick visit to the studios but there are taster classes and you can visit on an exhibition day (next one is 7th July 6.30-8pm, no need to book). Essentially I left the course feeling like I had achieved real goals I didn’t even realise I had at the beginning and with a certificate to prove it!  It also led to the potential to sell my work, something that I have mostly kept in my back pocket until the opportunity to sell through an immersive art show last December presented itself.

Polishing up your potential

The small class sizes at the London Jewellery School means that you get a lot of expert tuition in the classes, making it possible to cover a range of techniques in these weeks. The course description gives a really good idea of what you will learn but here is a quick run through of my experience on the course.

The course starts with a design day, a great chance to think about what you want to make and ways to go about making pieces for the projects ahead. As we were a very small group, we also had time to start experimenting with resin.

Day two was for learning cold connections, truly riveting stuff! This involves looking at ways to join materials without soldering, a great technique for moving pieces or mixed media. I made a decorative hinge that I later used for an oyster card holder, various animal shapes as testers to hold metal pieces together, a technique I later used on a Perspex and sea glass silver ring.

Fold forming was next, a really fun and loud technique for creating shapes and textures through excessive hammering. We made silver origami frogs amongst other experiments (I attempted my usual crane but a simpler design that another student knew was more effective), seen here with the squashed frog necklace. When fold forming goes wrong it can still be pretty interesting (I love this piece but would recommend a simple boat as a fail-safe alternative.)

2017-05-07 15.59.05_Edited (1)

The two days of mixed media jewellery making were a total dream of experimenting and resolving ideas through different techniques. Making a sea glass, silver and perspex ring with rivets, a wooden neckpiece with a tube of multi-coloured macramé and perspex fastenings to hang from, some ‘Banana handbag’ earrings and a spirit level cuff. So not a bad haul at all. This was so useful as a chance to explore different materials and how to work with them. Great for exploring colour, shape and using bits and pieces you may not have considered using before.

The two days of stone setting were honing specific techniques that could be employed in any piece after the course and also resulted in 3 wearable items. Each of these techniques was challenging in its own way and I felt that each was improving my making skills in a recognisable way. These were channel, collet and claw settings and pictures of these 3 pieces were posted on the Schools’ Instagram account, a small gesture that was really encouraging, as probably only friends would have seen my work before.

Bean

Bean ring (magic beans for growth)

The last day of the taught course was recycling silver. I had done a little bit of silver recycling before so didn’t expect that going through the process in a structured manner would shed that much light on a technique. However, melting my silver scraps in the crucible on this day produced a really fun ‘Bean’ ring, a product of the natural shape and texture that can be achieved with this technique. I had already made some cast vegetable jewellery so it fits into my little collection nicely and its smoothness makes it distinctly more wearable than my Romanesco Cauliflower ring. One of the tutors recently reminded me to follow up the ‘food jewellery’ and get selling my work. This really illustrated to me how much they genuinely care about nurturing any ambitions you might be trying to shy away from and keep you making jewellery! Magic beans indeed!

Interested in finding out more about the Advanced Diploma in Creative Jewellery? Our next intake is Monday 4th September 2017. Take a look at our website for more information. Have questions? Give us a call on 0203 176 0546

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