Amelia’s Magazine | Review: An evening class at the London Jewellery School

London Jewellery School 2011 -photography by Amelia Gregory
All photography by Amelia Gregory.

A couple of weeks ago I went along to the London Jewellery School for a night of cupcakes and cocktail rings, otherwise known as a lesson in how to make wire wrap beaded jewellery.

London Jewellery School 2011 -photography by Amelia Gregory
At the work table each seat was laid with an individual jewellery kit but all attention was immediately drawn to the twinkling assortment of glass beads in the centre of the table. I am sure that anyone with a magpie mind can appreciate the lure…

London Jewellery School 2011 -photography by Amelia Gregory
We were soon dipping into the beads, pulling out our desired options to start the first project, a wire wrap bracelet made on bouncy pre-shaped wire. This was extremely simple, with the most taxing part choosing the right combination of beads, not too small and not too heavy, to produce the right look. Many of the others settled on tasteful monochrome pieces, but as usual I could not resist something a bit more colourful, a heathery palette of purples, blues, deep reds and greens.

London Jewellery School 2011 -photography by Amelia Gregory
Our tutor was Chu-Mei, who runs Grace & Firefly. She was super helpful and funny, immediately on hand to help with out any problems or advise on design decisions.

London Jewellery School 2011 -photography by Amelia Gregory
Once we had all managed to create a bracelet it was straight on to the next project, a blingy wire wrap ring. This required a more concentrated mind, as the rings were constructed from wire to fit our fingers perfectly and then clusters of beads were piled on top of each other to create the final cocktail ring. I managed to produce three different over the top creations that featured an assortment of brightly coloured, gold and pearlised beads.

London Jewellery School 2011 -photography by Amelia Gregory
London Jewellery School 2011 -photography by Amelia Gregory
London Jewellery School 2011 -photography by Amelia Gregory
Who needs Accessorise when you can create something utterly unique in under half an hour, and so much satisfaction comes from the creation process itself? I think that we were all quite pleased and pleasantly surprised with the amount of booty that we each managed to produce during the class. And one of the best things about the evening? The chance to meet other talented jewellers and find out a bit more about the London Jewellery School.

Afro deco upcycled watch pendant
Natasha Williams is Afro Deco, a jeweller who specialises in upcycling jewellery with added resin details – beautiful and unusual.

London Jewellery School 2011 -photography by Amelia Gregory
Another lady was an expert in polymer clay, the far classier descendent of Fimo. Remember Fimo? The new stuff is streets ahead, just check out the beautiful necklace above. Mary Ann of Zarafa Designs was also very helpful when I ran into trouble with my designs.

London Jewellery School 2011 -photography by Amelia Gregory
The London Jewellery School fits into a surprisingly compact room in Hatton Garden. Classes are incredibly diverse, in everything from perspex to gold – you an even make your own wedding bands (what a lovely idea!) I even learnt about the charms of Dichroic Glass, which can do all sorts of fabulous things (see below).

London Jewellery School 2011 -photography by Amelia Gregory
Coming up before Christmas the London Jewellery School is running a few classes where you can make bespoke Crimbo presents, and they have just announced news of a Set up your own Jewellery Business Distance Learning Course. In another life I quit this internet malarkey and concentrate on making things myself, so if you, like me, have always wondered whether you can make something you love into a career then this course could be just the ticket for you. The London Jewellery School was set up by young entrepreneur Jessica Rose who herself learnt the trade by doing short courses, so she is well equipped to talk about these kind of things.

Whether you have plans for a small pocket-money operation, a full time job or an even larger business employing others, the course is designed to guide you through all the basics of running a successful jewellery business. The course pack contains a 50-page glossy workbook, supporting case study booklet and more than 80 minutes of video footage with advice from jewellery business expert and course tutor Jessica Rose. ‘ If you pre-order this comprehensive course before the official release date on Friday 9th December then you can get the whole kit for just £99.

Categories ,Accessorise, ,Afro Deco, ,Beading, ,Bling, ,Bracelet, ,Christmas, ,Chu-Mei, ,Classes, ,Cocktail Rings, ,cupcakes, ,Dichroic Glass, ,Fimo, ,Gold, ,Grace & Firefly, ,Hatton Garden, ,Jessica Rose, ,London Jewellery School, ,Mary Ann, ,Natasha Williams, ,Perspex, ,Polymer Clay, ,Resin, ,review, ,Set up your own Jewellery Business Distance Learning Course, ,Short Courses, ,Silver, ,Upcyled, ,Wedding Rings, ,Wire Wrap, ,Zarafa Designs

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Amelia’s Magazine | Valentine’s Day 2012: Things To Do

Rebecca Hendin Valentines
Artwork by Rebecca Hendin.

You’ve read my suggestions for alternative and special Valentine’s Day gifts, now it’s time for a round up of interesting things to do as the day approaches.

Create Place
First up, suggestions for classes where you can make your own gifts: Pop along to The Create Place tonight for a spectacular celebration of the kitschy, tacky and smoochy courtesy of the Second Friday Society. Cross-stitching will be tutored by Violet Iris, alongside biscuit decorating. Expect cocktails, sarcasm and silliness, all for just £14. You will be encouraged to approach Valentine’s Day with a pinch of salt. Last year contributor Jessica Furseth took on Valentine’s at The Create Place, read all about it here.

At the London Jewellery School real romantics can make their loved one a beautiful Valentine’s charm – read my full listing for their bespoke Valentines gift class here on my website.

Feast for everyone valentines
One of my favourite suggestions comes from Run Riot – food charity FareShare are collaborating with Forgotten Feast and their eco-chef Tom Hunt to produce a unique banqueting experience – Valentines for Everyone. These clever people will be creating a tasty three course meal from foodstuffs that would otherwise end up in landfill, and everyone will be sat together in proper feast style, so all are welcome, whether with loved ones or alone. Donations from ticket sales will go towards feeding the most vulnerable, and tickets are available for dinner tonight and on Saturday 11th, late lunch on Sunday 12th February, and for dinner on Valentine’s Day itself. The ticket price includes 3 courses, a drink and canapés.

Following on from her Taking Liberties Christmas pop up store at the Treatment Rooms Collective HQ, artist Carrie Reichardt will be holding a new female heavy show that includes examples of outsider art at her own studios in Acton, with the added chance to check out her ceramic covered House of Resistance. Expect strong visuals, such as the Goddess Kali created from found objects. The show opens today and continues all weekend, with donations going towards the activist video network Reel News.

Sarah Johns Music Party
For those of you who prefer to stay away from anything too saccharine and dinner based, how about a night out with some folk music? New alt/folk/Americana folk residency Folklore starts on 14th February at 93 Feet East on Brick Lane.

YouTube Preview ImageMike Marlin – Left Behind

Many of the featured artists are still be under the radar so this is your chance to check them out first: Emma Gatrill, Mike Marlin, Sarah Johns Music Party and Lucy Kitt. Tickets can be bought online here and Facebook event here.

Finally, if you are after a high end jewellery purchase why not pop along to Amanda Li Hope‘s trunk show (these are the latest thang, folks, following hot on the heels of pop-ups) on Saturday 11th February between 12-5pm at Wolf & Badger in Notting Hill. Peruse her signature ?XX? collection, whilst sipping complimentary champagne and nibbling on yummy chocolates.

Whatever you choose to do this Valentine’s Day, I wish you lots of love in your life.

Categories ,93 Feet East, ,?XX?, ,Amanda Li Hope, ,Carrie Reichardt, ,Cross-Stitch, ,Emma Gatrill, ,FareShare, ,Folklore, ,Forgotten Feast, ,London Jewellery School, ,Lucy Kitt, ,Mike Marlin, ,Rebecca Hendin, ,Reel News, ,Run Riot, ,Sarah Johns Music Party, ,The Create Place, ,Tom Hunt, ,Treatment Rooms Collective HQ, ,Valentine’s Day, ,Valentines for Everyone, ,Wolf & Badger

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Amelia’s Magazine | Review: Silver Metal Clay Jewellery Class with Sima Vaziry at the London Jewellery School

Silver Metal Clay necklace small
Silver metal clay has intrigued me since I did silversmithing classes a few years ago, simply because it promises so much: all the gleam and precious feel of silver and… well… about a quarter of the work to achieve it. What’s not to intrigue? But my then teacher scared me off with stories of how difficult it is to work with, and its purported inferior quality.

Well, now I’ve worked with the stuff and I’m a convert. It’s a very different material to manipulate than sterling silver, which requires large amounts of heating and hammering. Working with silver metal clay is more like working with ceramic clay, in that you have to work fast or it dries out. It is also a lot like working with a polymer clay such as Fimo – you push it around with your fingers to achieve the effects you want.

Sima Vaziry London Jewellery School
At my London Jewellery School class we were taught by silver clay enthusiast and expert Sima Vaziry, whose upbringing has clearly influenced her love of all things Persian and Afghan. A trained graphic designer, she’s been silver smithing for years, etching her own calligraphy onto jewellery and increasingly struggling to achieve her desired finish. That is until she discovered silver metal clay – and this beguiling material is now used to create her bestselling collection, which is available to buy at the British Museum. Describing why she decided to make the move from graphic design to jewellery design she made the very good point that in the former you rarely get pure praise: no one ever says ‘wow, that’s beautiful’ which they do when they fall in love with a stunning piece of jewellery. The perfect advocate for the London Jewellery School, Sima turned her love of jewellery into a serious career by taking a number of short courses over two years. And there’s me dreaming of another career…

Our class was small, which was perfect since it turned out to be quite intensive – there’s a lot to fit in if you want to create a fully formed piece of jewellery in just two and a half hours. But it turns out that it is possible! And whilst I had some moments of frustration (damn, that stuff dries fast, you need to have your design ready planned and all the materials close at hand) by the end I was happy as a pig in muck. There’s nothing like holding that weighty bit of silver in your hand, and thinking – blimey, just a few moments ago that was no more than a slab of white clay. Whilst I might not have achieved a final design that was fully to my liking, for a quick process with eminently satisfying results you really can’t beat this medium – and I’d love to give it another go, only next time with better design preparation and planning.

Sima Vaziry Bloom gold necklace silver clay metal
Sima Vaziry‘s Bloom necklace made out of silver metal clay. She was wearing one at the class and I can testify that it was beautiful. I’d like to have these kind of skills, but I guess they take time (you can see my first efforts at the top of the blog)!

The London Jewellery School offers all sorts of interesting courses so their website is well worth checking out: how about a taster class for just £35 as a unique and thoughtful present? If you fancy learning more about how to work with silver metal clay then you can still join the second pre-christmas offering next week, listed here. You can find jewellery by Sima Vaziry at the Grenville Shop in the British Museum or online. She will be giving a talk about her designs to friends of the British Museum on March 19th, at 18.30 & 20.00 in the Lecture Theatre, titled ‘A journey into jewellery – Hajj range designer Sima Vaziry talks about her life and her story-telling pieces‘.

Categories ,Afghan, ,British Museum, ,Class, ,Fimo, ,Graphic Design, ,jewellery, ,London Jewellery School, ,Persian, ,Polymer Clay, ,Precious Metal Clay, ,review, ,Silver, ,Silver Metal Clay, ,Silversmithing, ,Sima Vaziry, ,Taster Classes

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