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Helga's Blog

dutch jewellery designer la leipsig


Stories from the daily live of an active metalsmith who tracks down
her muse with camera and sketchbook.


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A magical crystal white day

The windmillSnowdays are special.

And we don't have them that many in The Netherlands. So when they occure I leave our home early for a walk to catch the magical feeling. Today my man and his mother joined me. In the crisp crunching snow we made a walk around the local windmill close to the river, the dog happily running around while playing in the snow.

When I watched the snow covered plants I could see the actually growing of the crystals. Sunlit and translucent. Unbelievable beautiful.

With the macrolens I could even capture the crystals close-up.

Back home, curious for more information about the magnificent patterns, I searched the internet and found out that the type on the picture is called hoarfrost. So it wasn't snow!

Hoarfrost - LaLeipsig

According to wikipedia "Hoarfrost consists of spicules of ice which grow out from the solid surface. The size of the crystals depends on time, temperature, and the amount of water vapor available. Based on wind direction, "frost arrows" might form."

As it had been a cold windy night, this must be the explanation. The natural phenomenon I saw wasn't snow but hoarfrost. Confusing if you are confronted with a snowwhite world.

The name hoar comes from an Old English adjective for showing signs of old age, and is used in this context in reference to the frost which makes trees and bushes look like white hair.

Close-up hoarfrost

Snowflakes by ScoresbySeeing the crystals up close reminded me of a book I recently found on pinterest:
Snowflakes: a Chapter from the Book of Nature (1863). On the right you can see a small example out of the book. The images are drawn by William Scoresby (5 October 1789 – 21 March 1857), an English Arctic explorer and scientist.

I love the symmetry of the flakes and enjoyed my little research on the internet. I never know how this inspiration will crawl back into my jewellery, but seeing these crystals made me happy and ready to go back in the studio.

More pictures from today's walk you can find on my Abundance of Nature pinterest board.

With a low lying fog it was even more dreamy than ever.

From kitchen disaster to silver pendant

Since last summer I am part of a group of bloggers that write for the Metal Clay Magic website. The site's mission is to explore and celebrate a wide range of topics of interest to the metal clay community, it's a lot of fun to work for. To read the full article you have to go to "Using a Kitchen Disaster to make Silver Jewelry" over on Metal Clay Magic.


Burned Roux"...The theme of this week on Textures Tuesdays was bubbles. I looked into the pan and I saw… bubbles! Of course I ran away to fetch my camera. I started to make a series of pictures, planning to post them for this week’s Textures Tuesday theme." ....

On the last picture you see the La Roux pendant in full glory. From soft and wet to silver and shiny!


Head over to "Using a Kitchen Disaster to make Silver Jewelry" on Metal Clay Magic to read the full article.


Order here your own La Roux jewellery

La Leipsig Jewels, La Roux hanger.

Met dit negatief ging ik aan de slag. Ik rolde een stuk zilverklei uit. Voorzichtig drukte ik de mal tegen de klei aan. Om een link te maken naar Textures Tuesday, besloot ik om de klei rechthoekige uit te snijden. De hanger werd vervolgens gedroogd op een glas zodat er een mooie ronde vorm in kwam. Toen de hanger droog was werden de gaatjes verder verdiept en afgewerkt. Vervolgens werd de hanger afgebakken zodat een puur zilveren sieraad uit de oven kwam. De laatste foto is de La Roux hanger in volle glorie.

Zo kun je zien hoe bij mij een mislukking in de keuken tot een prachtig nieuw sieraad kan leiden. Inspiratie ligt vaak om de hoek te loeren

A 1200 year old book can still teach you a lesson

folio animals-Book-of-KellsRecently I had a chance to see one of the most beautiful manuscripts of medieval art with my own eyes. It is housed in The Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. I am talking about The Book of Kells.

A prayer book with gospels of the 4 evangelists. It’s been written & decorated somewhere between the 7th and 9th century in an Irish monastery and is just plain spectacular.

You can’t but admire the complicated full-page illustrations of the live of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the Evangelists. The drawings are made with basic home-made inks and pigments written on vellum with goose feathers. The many colours are still vibrant today, although the book is 1200 years old.  Capital letters are knotted and weaved together, featuring all kinds of symbolic animals to further decorate the pages.

The book is believed to be written by 4 scribes. The illustrations are done by 3 artists. They have been given names like: “the Goldsmith” (for his use of metallic looking colours) “The Portraitist” and “the illustrator”.  The monks had rigid timetables. All their workable hours were divided in praying, working, eating and sleep. Can you imagine the amount of work that goes into the making of The Book of Kells?

Read more: A 1200 year old book can still teach you a lesson

5 ‘updraft’ forces that will lift your creative development to the next level

A buzzard flying in the Ooij, near Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Picture by Maurice Koop.

“The buzzard shrieked. I located her not far away from me just over the cherry orchard and I followed her flight. In wide circles she spiraled up to the clouds. Sometimes she had to flap her wings to get back into the rising air, which she managed to do beautifully. Higher and higher she soared and her uncanny yell stirred something in me. The buzzard didn’t go up all by herself I noticed. She cleverly used the updraft to climb higher.”

As a creative you want to make a product that has a meaningful connection with the world. You also want to earn money with your product without getting too overwhelmed with all the tasks of managing your creative business. I located 5 areas that will help you to recognise where the updraft is that lifts your creative work to the next level.  Awareness of the levels and active research helped me to find my personal power and I would like to share my experience with you.

When I started my creative business in 2005, De Zilveren Akelei, I had a desire to incorporate “jewellery” back into my life. To combine web-design and jewellery making, two skills I have, seemed like a good plan. Luck was with me and I could earn most of my money with web-design work while I created different collections of jewellery. It was a playful time where I discovered Metal Clay and dove right into the exploration of this new material.

In 2010 I started to be a bit uncomfortable. I made several jewellery collections, did some shows but my jewellery didn’t sell like I thought it would. For the first time I questioned my work and skills in selling.

This led to a period of searching on sites, attending workshops and reading books to try to clear my block. I found the solution by staying close to myself. Contemplating on how important my personality was for creating my work, I found the first updraft to focus on.

1    Personality: Search for roots

“Who am I?”, “Where do I live?” and “What is important to me?” were a few of the questions that I had to answer. Intuitively I got back to my major inspiration source for help. I made a series of pictures called “Abundance of Nature” in the place where I live. I realised how important nature was for me and that I always could go back to her.

Observing my jewellery work, which I made in the first period, I discovered that the collections gave me clues as well. My Earth series, a gold and silver translation of furrows and ridges, visualise the connection I have with the earth. The Inner Stars were designed, to express that everybody is unique. I was finally seeing it in myself.

The moment I figured out that my own personality is major element in designing my work I felt lifted to a higher level.

2    Structure: Find a way out of the chaos

All this happened very unconsciously. I needed more structure so that I could see what I was doing. I began to look into time management systems to see how I could organize the several projects that I was working on, because I was feeling pretty overwhelmed at that time.

I had to get the chaos in my head organised. It was not something easily done for me, till now it is a struggle to incorporate it. Through observation of my daily rhythm I found a way to structure my chaos in an acceptable way. Again I was on an updraft, seeing more clearly what I was doing.

3    Ideas & Materials: Plant the seeds

With this clarity I delved into the ideas and materials I was using. Where did I get my ideas from? And why did I want to use that particular material, in my case Metal Clay, to express my ideas? Understanding my motives is a quest I am still pursuing today. It is a very active and satisfying process and it led me to the next level.

4    The Work: Let it grow

So I had established my structure, knew where I was rooted and what I wanted to tell. Now it was time to work.

The main goal was to achieve a method to be more productive while I kept the openness of play. In using “process as a design tool” I found the path of playful working being true to my inner beliefs. Yes, I can fly that way, work is for me the best part.

5    Harvest: Collect the fruits

I develop myself through working. Actually that is the biggest reward. But to be able to make a living I have to sell it as well.
For that I need to have a harvest system in place. All I was doing had to be captured in a system that would help me to earn money from the products I made. Certain systems worked better than others. For me a pressing deadline for an exhibition helps to finish my products for the market.
It is the recognition of all my work when I sell a piece to a customer.

How the 5 ‘updrafts’ will help you.

This post is the first in a series where I am going to tell more in detail about the 5 updraft forces. It will provide you with a framework that can help you understand the work processes that you as a creator have.  In taking yourself seriously and investing in the different levels you will come up with a line of work that is coherent. People will be attracted to your work because of your personal style & the methods that you bring to the table.

Inner Star, be unique!Here a short overview what we will cover in the next 5 posts:

  1. Personality
    Ways to find yourself and places to look for.
  2. Structure
    Observing your daily rhythm and using this information to make your personal method to organize your creative life.
  3. Ideas & Materials
    How to capture your ideas & what to do with them.
    It’s just a material.
  4. The Work
    Using process as design tool
    how to have fun while working.
  5. Harvest
    Turning your work into products and why it’s so important.

“The buzzard was now high up in the sky, the world was at her feet. I could hear her screaming with joy. Then she swiftly glided away to a nearby forest …”

Next time the first level: Personality.

A silent early sunday morning

Sometimes I wake up just after dawn. Today was such a day and I took the dog with me for an early walk. The river was like a mirror that smooth. The cows, inquisitive for the dog, came very close.

koeien-aan-Maas LaLeipsig

On a sunday morning nobody is up that early, so it was absolutely silent. I let my mind wander about the work I am doing on the moment. It is turning my Presentation “Proces as a Design Tool” into 7 blogpost. Not an easy task for me and I need a lot of time to ponder over how I want to put it into words.

Silent time, like this, helps me to sort my thoughts.

I made the connection when I saw the Dandelion still wet with dew, so it wasn’t yet totally open. Have some patience and work, then it will come. Trust the process Helga!

Dandelion still wet from dew.

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