Amelia’s Magazine | Valentines Day: Last Minute Ideas

Valentines Biscuits by Biscuiteers. Illustration by Lucy Eldridge.

They’re adorable to look at, ailment sweet to eat and best of all they’re NOT CUPCAKES – yes, there I have finally discovered Biscuiteers. Boldly going forth where no decorative iced biscuits have gone before. Why send flowers when you can send biscuits, sale I say? This discovery is unfortunately a tad too late for Valentines this year, but nonetheless I had to share this find…

Biscuiteers Biscuits by Madi Illustrates
Biscuiteers Biscuits by Madi Illustrates.

As a child I spent many an hour icing biscuits in the run up to xmas – they were cack-handed affairs that would never be saleable, but at least they were brightly coloured, covered in tooth cracking silver balls, looked great arranged in the centre of the table and most importantly were oh-so-fun to make. Every year I have best intentions to make iced biscuits for gifts, maybe in a slightly more professional manner. As yet this great plan has not materialised, but now I’ve discovered that the Buiscuiteers have published the aptly named Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits… I So. Want. To. Have a go.

Biscuiteers Biscuits by Madi Illustrates
Biscuits by Madi Illustrates.

Inspired by the Biscuiteers I’ve been looking online for a simple iced biscuit recipe, something which, oddly, is unbelievably hard to find. No wonder the Biscuiteers have managed to corner the market. The best I could come up with is this recipe on the good old BBC, which I plan to adapt.

Phoebe Coleman (Love me tender collection) by Bianca Hamilton
Phoebe Coleman Love Me Tender collection by Bianca Hamilton.

Another late find was these gold heart spattered pieces from the Love Me Tender Phoebe Coleman Collection (I discovered this new jewellery designer at LFW last season) – I particularly like the Flying Love earrings and the matching Flying Love necklace. Delicate, yet big enough to make a statement.

Valentines-something for the weekend

And if you’re in the Shoreditch area why not pop into the RCA jewellery graduate show Something for the Weekend, which runs until this evening. All the jewellery fits inside a condom box which is cunningly displayed in a condom dispenser, and most of the pieces are very reasonably priced at under £150.

It’s unfortunate I didn’t hear about this exhibition earlier, but I had a good chat with the two girls curating on Sunday and they explained that Something for the Weekend is just the opening exhibition of what will be a regular initiative to promote new jewellery graduates as they begin to negotiate the tricky ways of the commercial world.

Valentines-Heavy Heart by Kelly McCallum
Heavy Heart by Kelly McCallum.

Heavy Heart by Kelly McCallum is wonderful – a satisfyingly heavy gold plated silver heart of the beating kind. And nothing remotely cutesy about it.

Valentines-Jonathan Boyd

Jonathan Boyd‘s clever ring is a stand out piece. It features the words I prefer to keep my emotions hidden nestled in the middle of the ring, only to be seen when it is snapped open – the perfect statement from your typically emotionally stunted English man… but also a serious purchase at £800.

Valentines-Lucie Gledhill

Some of the jewellery is more conceptual than wearable, including the Love Trap silver pin by Lucie Gledhill. But much fun indeed – this could easily be displayed as a piece of miniature art on your wall. I look forward to seeing more of these jeweller’s work in the coming year.

Happy Valentines all… look out on twitter for my iced biscuit progress today….

Categories ,Bianca Hamilton, ,Biscuiteers, ,Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits, ,Biscuits, ,cupcakes, ,Flying Love Necklace, ,Flying Necklace Earrings, ,Goldsmithing, ,Iced Biscuits, ,jewellery, ,Jonathan Boyd, ,Kelly McCallum, ,lfw, ,Love, ,Love Me Tender Collection, ,Lucie Gledhill, ,Lucy Eldridge, ,Madi Illustrates, ,Metalwork & Jewellery Department, ,Phoebe Coleman, ,rca, ,Silversmithing, ,Something for the Weekend, ,Valentine’s Day

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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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Amelia’s Magazine | Royal College of Art MA Degree Show 2012 Review: Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery

RCA show 2012 Jennifer Gray 2

Headphones for Soanes‘ by Jennifer Gray

This year saw the creation of the new School of Material at the The Royal College of Art, which includes Fashion Womenswear and Menswear, Textiles, Ceramics & Glass and, Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery. It might be my natural love for the discipline, but the work that impressed me and inspired me most was in the Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery rooms.

RCA show 2012 Jennifer Gray 3

These ‘Stone Garland Necklaces‘ by charismatic designer Jennifer Gray were inspired by a visit to Sir John Soane Museum and its decorative architectural fragments, in which it is covered.

RCA show 2012 Emma Montague

Next up was Emma Montague whose wonderful spectacles I had spotted in the show’s press release and was really looking forward to see! Emma had made a collection of extremely clever hybrid eye-wear by combining the familiar form of spectacles with forms of various jaw bones and playing with dualities. She kindly posed for me with a pair on.

RCA show 2012 Nina Khazani 3

RCA show 2012 Nina Khazani 2

After chatting to Emma Montague, Nina Khazani’s creations pulled me like a magnet. Playing with words – always a winner with me – she calls her collection ‘A Hairy Tale‘ and makes stunning accessories and jewellery using human hair.

RCA show 2012 Sarah Hurtigkarl

Sarah Hurtigkarl showed an impressive half-spoon, half-table construction, questioning through fantasy the function of familiar objects.

RCA show 2012 Joo Hyung Park 1

RCA show 2012 Joo Hyung Park 2

Continuing the theme of presenting everyday things with a twist, Joo Hyung Park had laid out a whole table, as if ready for dinner, with cutlery and crockery morphed into weird, mesmerising shapes.

RCA show 2012 Laurie Schram 'Silver Dollar'

I liked this delicate, thoughtful piece by Laurie Schram. The dollar is electroformed in fine silver, reconnecting it with the metal it once represented, and Laurie comments that ‘like a scratch card, one is now never sure what a dollar is really worth‘.

RCA show Kim Gladwin

Finally in the GSM&J rooms Kim Gladwin inserted a live performance element by sitting on a giant wooden darning mushroom and gradually unpicking thread from the hem of her dress and then using it to create embroideries on the dress. As she explained to me she wanted to emphasise, among other things, the importance of making space for making in a busy world – quite right!

Next up come my reviews of Textiles and Ceramics & Glass for sadly we were unable to attend the MA fashion show this year. Images courtesy of the students and additional photography taken at the show by Maria Papadimitriou. Read Amelia’s review of Jewellery, Ceramics and Glass from 2011 here for more RCA based inspiration!

Categories ,2012, ,A Hairy Tale, ,Department of Ceramics and Glass, ,Emma Montague, ,fashion, ,Graduate Show, ,Headphones for Soanes, ,Jennifer Gray, ,jewellery, ,John Soane, ,Joo Hyung Park, ,Kim Gladwin, ,knitwear, ,MA Graduate Show, ,Maria Papadimitriou, ,Nina Khazani, ,rca, ,RCA Show, ,review, ,Royal College of Art, ,Sarah Hurtigkarl, ,Silversmithing, ,Sir John Soane’s museum, ,Stone Garland Necklaces

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