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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.

Four times a year I make a seasonal round-up of my activities here from my blog. By subscribing  you get this letter automatically delivered to your mailbox.

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Cheers,
Helga

 

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Playfulness, Carnival and Silver Springflowers

Carnival in Limburg, La Leipsig as butterfly.Slowly I start to recover from the celebrations we had in my area. I live in Limburg and it’s one of the places in the world were Carnival (or Mardi Grass) is celebrated. We were out on the streets for 3 days, wearing costumes that stand up to the cold (it was freezing cold this year!). We did sing and dance with friends and passers-by and watch the parades, we had a lovely time.

As my intention word for this year is playfulness it was right up my alley to delve a bit deeper into understanding what it means for me. Carnival is a playful time just before Lent and part of the Roman Catholic calendar. There is a good wiki entry when you are more interested in the historic part of it. About Carnival.

For me, the most important part is the costume I am wearing. No doubt you can go to the shop and buy a splendid suit, but I always take pride in making the costume myself. It’s a form of self expression that I need to get in the mood, and it’s a wonderful way to play with how you see yourself.

La Leipsig as garden woman.Use your imagination to dream up a better you. You can be princess or frog, it’s up to you! I make my disguise just the week before carnival, then I know the weather and I feel what I want to tell.

This year I chose to be a garden woman that puts seeds in the ground & nurtures the new impulses that grow. I made a warm, fluffy yellow-green apron, stuck flowers & bugs in my hair, attached all sorts of seed packets to the apron... painted my face and off I went. I always want something to do and talk about and I use the suit as a jump off point.

My silver springflowers have an emotional connection with carnival. It is graphical, joyous and colourful jewellery. The colours are like the carnival costumes in basic palette. Blue, yellow & green in all the vividness you can imagine.

I enjoy making them just as with the costume. Making these earrings and necklaces brings me in a good mood. It doesn’t always have to be complicated, just celebrate life!

Silver earrings from the springflower collection.

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The roots of the Earth collection

The first silver earth pendant from La Leipsig.For some time I have been working on the earth theme collection. It started somewhere in 2010 with me sticking silver rectangles into silverclay as an experiment. I was trying to mimic the furrows and ridges in a ploughed field.

At that time I was unconscious of why I wanted to make them, I just knew I had to.

On the right you see the very first pendant I made with this technique. It is made of fine silver with a very rough edge and hung on a rubber cord and is called Field#1.

 

The farmer in his tractor ploughing the field.I made many pictures of ploughing farmers and the resulting fields, contemplating why I was so fascinated by ploughing. I found out, it had to do with the magnificent view of the plough going in the land to break the earth open. Like I had to open as well, because I was limiting myself.

Earth needs oxygen to enable the seeds to grow. I knew I needed fresh air too.

 

In 2011 I was attracted to the workshop “Now Breath” from Ruudt Peters. It was one of the many ways I was able to explore my vision on earth.
We had to take a material with us and I chose earth from my kitchen garden. In this workshop I learned to trust myself and to breathe deep so I could get a connection with my inner self. I am Ruudt very grateful for enabling me to open up. 

Till now I never showed the work I made in “Now Breath”, but today I will.
It was after three days of prelude work that I started to focus on mixing up my earth with water, folding little boxes out of paper so I could fill them up with the mud. Then I heated the boxes with earth on an electric stove to speed up the process to make little solid bricks. By incorporating rope I could string the bricks together.

It was 7 days of heaven, playing with sand and water, back to childhood, BREATH! 

At that time it had nothing to do with jewellery and it was very liberating.

Experiments from "Now Breath" a workshop by Ruudt Peters.

Back at home I slowly and thorough incorporate these new visions into my daily life (I am a bit like a tortoise). A lot happened in the workshop and I had to give it a place. For some time I even didn’t make new pieces at all.

And then suddenly (after quite some time) it hit me. Sticking those little pieces in the clay was my way to organize my thoughts. It had to be straight and clear so I could order and name it.

I know that now, but then....

Last week I got a new idea. The rectangles got curved and again stuck into silverclay.The resulting ring is called “Embrace & Open Up”. I use a 22K gold layer to visualize the underground riches and show the breaking of the edges.

I am glad that I found new input in working with the Earth theme. I hope you like it too.
We'll see what it will bring in the future.

Silver ring with 22K gold layer from the Earth collection.

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Playful, Mirthful & Vivacious 2013

I’ve found my intention word to guide me through the new year. It will be playfulness.

This is the third year I have an intention word, it works good for me. I always give myself in the last week of December time to reflect on last year and then the new word just pops up in my head.

Last year I learned a lot about the business aspect of making and selling jewellery. From January till May I did a course about the business aspect and from August till November a marketing related course. I enjoyed it but at times I even wondered when I was going to be making jewellery again. But I worked through both of them with “perseverance” in mind, my word for 2012.

So my resolution for 2013 is to get playful again.
It is one of my qualities and somehow I managed to lose it last year. And I don’t want to lose it. I want it back, the pleasure of experimenting with the clay and turning it into jewellery.

So deliberately I put painting, working with paper, taking pictures and physical activity into my schedule. It will get me more connected with my inner child so I can play again and have fun whilst creating.

La-Leipsig-Jewels-on-Sunday-Market

One of the last things I did last year was attending The Sunday Market in Amsterdam. (You can see up here a little blurry impression of it but you can get the picture! )

That was fun!

I was able to be in contact with folks that are on a leisure day walking around, enjoying new things or buying presents for loved ones. It was a quick and impulsive decision to go and it turned out to be something that was playful too. So it fits perfectly into my vision for this year.

I am really looking forward what will happen with this playful intention in mind.
Have a wonderful and joyous new year!

Till the next play-date.

 

Here a little example of playing. Carving lines with my favourite Dockyards. Inking with blue and printing on paper. When I was making the collage for this blogpost I stumbled onto an image of the fields covered with snow. Unconsciously I am working with the earth again and that makes me happy.

Playing with lino.

The Dragon play from Beesel accepted as Cultural Heritage.

Silver bracelet with tigereye.Friday 14 December, our village got the fabulous news that the Dragonplay was accepted on the National list of Intangible Cultural Heritage.
It is the crucial step to get accepted on the Unesco list of Cultural Heritage, this is something that our country will apply for.
Beesel did her “homework” to show that it is a healty living tradition in which knowledge is transferred from one generation to the other.

Why protect intangible cultural heritage?

To quote the site of Unesco: “The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next. The social and economic value of this transmission of knowledge is relevant for minority groups and for mainstream social groups within a State.”  There is additional information that you can find on The Cultural Heritage page!

What does it mean for the play and the village?

The dragonplay is a once in 7 years festive event that re-enacts the mythical fight between St George and the Dragon.  It is organized by and for the people of the village. This tradition is very deeply connected with Beesel, very visible as the Dragon is part of the city coat of arms.

The recognision of the tradition that started in 1736 is a wonderful accomplishment for all the people in the village in previously days and now.

More information and pictures are to be found on the Draaksteken website (only in Dutch).

The bracelet "Dragonskin", pictured in this post, is from the La Leipsig Jewels Dragoncollection and inspired by the horrifying flamethrowing monster in the sinister lead role.

 

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.

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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