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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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Preparations for Summer Art Residence At Home

Silver Inner Star My own Silver Inner Star is inspiring me to follow my heart to make this retreat a succes.


Since publishing my resolution to do an Art Residence At Home, I’ve been busy.

First I wanted to finish the commitments that couldn’t wait till after Sunday 21th. Having them done, gives me peace of mind. Fact is that the summer holiday period brings more free time. So choosing July looks like a perfect timing.

My post-it vision board helped me to sort out what I want to do. I mean, I have 7 days and without planning, time will slip away. What I do will be told in the daily posts, so keep sure you follow me...

One sub-board is food planning. I am at home and responsible for cooking. For me it's one form of creating and I don't mind doing it in the Residence. I love cooking for my family. Normally I look in the fridge and make something from what's inside. I am very impulsive. Problem is, it takes to much time. I want to eliminate on that part.

Enter the food-plan. I wrote down for everyday what to make and what I need. It are fast & favourite dishes while being healthy. Today I did the shopping for the whole week. My son will take care for any additional shopping if neccessary next week.

Because of my my plan to work in different media, I required some additional supplies. A trip to Robbelien, my favorite Art supply store yielded: felt, paper, charcoal, clay, soapstone, and several interesting clay tools. Some of them I am going to use this week on porcelainclay.

It's funny how my experience in organizing summer camps for children is helping me to make my own retreat. Many years I have focused on other peoples needs and now it feels right to shift this energy over to me. It's like my own Inner Star is guiding me to the best possible way, I am filled with lots of energy and focus.

I am very curious what a whole week will bring!

Sunday 14th July around 21u Amsterdam time (CEST) will be the first post.
Expect play, experiments and fairy-tales...

See you in the comments :-)


Next read: Day 1 - In the Labyrinth of Art


Passionate about flowers

There is one thing you should know about me.
Whenever a flower smiles at me, I notice.

I admire their colours and shapes,
or get lost in the rhythm of their leaves.

petunia 4671A new Petunia variety.


This year I went to a greenhouse to capture the summer flowers.

What an awesome spot to take pictures.
I was able to work with a macro-lens without tripod because of the good light and no wind!

It's a mystery why I didn’t go to a greenhouse before to take pictures but I’m glad I did.

roze-tuitbloem 4706Little pink flowers (don't know yet their name)


A special thank to Bouten flower centre in Beesel for letting me play in their greenhouse.

You can see & share the pictures through my Abundance of Nature board on Pinterest.

passionflowerThe always amazing Passionflower.

The motivation for a creative workweek

post-it-visionboardDo you remember the Ammonite post from last week? It was a fun and rewarding experience.  I loved how Leon and I stimulated each other in new directions and took a whole day of time devoted to creating.

Then there is the other fact that I reserved a time period for attending Haystack. The theme of the particular workshop Fence still speaks to me and I want to do something with it.

So I came to a decision:
I am going to do an art residence at home.

Sunday 14th July I start and it will last till Saturday 20th. On Sunday 21th I finish with a google+ hangout talking about the whole experience and "exhibit" the work I did during the week.

Ruudt Peters workshop, that I attended in 2011 the one about my earth experiments, will be of guidance.

Looking for some more inspiration I found two helpfull posts:

1 Elaine Luther:
Drooling over those residency descriptions? Here’s a solution.

2 Joel Zaslofsky:
You Don’t Need to Look for Inspiration
(I use his CCC checklists to plan the retreat – very helpfull)


With all this information I made a post-it visionboard of what I want to accomplish during this week. The two main goals are:
1 - Strengthening my creative qualities to make them my own.
2 - Deepening my bond with metal clay.

Several activities will help me to realize this goal:

    • meditate every morning
    • explore what Fence means to me - play with the theme
    • work 1 hour in a different medium every day
    • explore porcelain clay for all kinds of experiments so I am not bothered by costs
    • use these explorations in my favourite material: Silver Clay
    • connect with other artists/curious human beings through blogging
    • No meat – lots of fruit – no pc/tablet/phone devices till 18.00

claytests-diggingOne of the porcelain clay experiments
I want to delve in deeper.

I don’t know exactly how I will manage it or how it will evolve. I am looking forward to it and am confident I can make my own art residence work.

To fulfill my need for connection I will blog in the evening. I hope to provoke questions from you. All the discussions will be on my website in the comments as I will avoid FB as much as possible.

I will finish this workweek in the fore mentioned Google+  hangout on Sunday 21th of July.

Subscribe here to my newsletter to follow me in my endeavour.


Helga's Google+ profile

Next read: Preparations for an Art Residence At Home


A silver pendant inspired by Ammonites

Silver ammoniteSilver Ammonite - La LeipsigA few days ago I agreed to do a creative play-day with a fellow artist: Leon van Deuzen. In the morning she came to my studio to work in metal clay and in the afternoon I went painting in her atelier.

To get her started I showed some basic techniques. I was rolling a metal clay snake when suddenly it went “plop” in my head. There was a vision of how I could make Ammonite shapes staying authentic to how these animals grow.

Since visiting the Natuurhistorisch Museum in Maastricht earlier this year, I am fascinated by Ammonites. John Jagt, the paleontologist who kindly gave me a tour, showed me a fine example where the shell structure is gone and you can see the joint lines, called sutures. (see the picture on this page)

ammonite with suture linesAmmonite with suture lines.The several ammonite types have different suture patterns and I find them very interesting.

It’s is a mark of growth.

When the body of the ammonite moves to the next chamber it closes the one before and at that point the sutures arise.

So with my hands I grew a metal clay spiral from inside out while making sutures lines with a small tool.

There is something I learned from making this shape:
I too grow upon previous structures from inside out and leave growing marks!

The "sutures" I create are my jewellery, the visible remains of my actions.


ammonite-helga-growsLa Leipsig painting an Ammonite.It’s a wonderful feeling when I recognize how creative play leads to thoughts like this. When I work, my hands tell a story, I just listen and create. Writing them down helps me to understand why.

“As it was part of the deal” I had to paint in the afternoon.  A suggestion from Leon was to make an ammonite shape.

So I did and had fun doing it!


ps. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

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How rejection got me off the Fence

Last Precious Metal Clay conference I met keynote speaker Ellen Wieske. Ellen is an inspiring and witty metalsmith.  She works in Maine and has a gallery called Dow Studio (click to find out about her art work). Her other job is assistant director of Haystack (Maine-USA).

I heard before of this summer school but never considered it something for me.
Hearing Ellen talk passionately about Haystack stirred an interest in me.

At home I read the Haystack website, to find out more about this place. I even ordered the catalogue, it arrived end of January. After reading it very carefully I decided to apply for an assistant scholarship. My choice was “Fence” from Deganit Schocken. The title and description immediately ignited ideas and thought patterns.

So I started to collect all the required materials for the application. 3 references, 5 pictures of work with description, CV and motivation.

rejection-crawl-back in shellWith trembling stomach I sent everything in. Now the dreaded waiting came. Half March came a very friendly rejection letter.

I was devastated and crawled back into my shell.

I’ve never been good at rejections. Actually in hindsight I know that I prepare myself so well for things just to avoid to get a rejection. This limits me because as a result I very seldom apply. I almost have to be sure I succeed. Not a very professional attitude for an artist.

I wanted to change my way of dealing with rejection and I found help in a book called Resilience from Mark McGuinness.

Resilience means the ability to keep pursuing your goals in spite of adversity. It is driven by passion, the fuel that keeps you going in spite of disappointment, rejection and criticism. And because it is an ability, you can learn it and improve with practice, just like any other skill.

resilience-outof-shellThis, and other nuggets of knowledge, gave me new insights in my behavior.

It is time to act professional and start to dare more.

I have to get off the Fence!

Even if I get a rejection, it’s just part of creating and wanting to put my work out in the big scary world.

So what did I learn from this experience?

I know that I have to work harder to get my work seen.

I think I can do better and that Haystack deserves better.

I have an idea to recreate the spirit of a summer workshop here in my own studio but that will be something for the next blogpost.

Until then “Keep making your mark”


Plough Deep - Fine Silver, 22K gold, rubber cord with sterling clasp.
One of my submitted images for Haystack.
Plough-Deep pendant silver


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About La Leipsig

The jewellery which is sold under the brand name La Leipsig Jewels is based on Helga van Leipsig's observations of the nature in Limburg, a province in the south of The Netherlands.



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