A5 Sleeve Container Pendant

Magicians Pendant by Julia Rai
Magicians Pendant by Julia Rai
Magicians Pendant by Julia Rai

Submitted to the Registry evaluators - November 2008

This started off life called the Wizard’s Birthday Present! It was one of the early projects I decided to do and I really enjoyed making it. But it took two go’s to get it a pass.The inside was made using PMC Standard so I could get the shrinkage while the outside sleeve was made with one of the low shrinkage clays. I used the same conical form for both pieces. The long cone for the top of the inside piece and the outer sleeve was formed on a combination of a candle shaped light bulb with stiff paper taped round it to give a point. This worked well and this cone element was used to make both the inside and outside elements. The base of the inside cone was made using a more shallow cone shape constructed using polymer clay.

The inner cone has alchemical symbols on tiny tiles all around it. These were made with a photo polymer plate which was then used to make a flat sheet of symbols. I cut these out individually and pasted them to the dried cone. There is also an eye motif on the inner cone. It was fired in vermiculite.

The outer cone has swirly lines on it which were done with extruded ‘worms’ of clay. There is a subtle texture scratched between the lines which helped to give the piece colour when the patina was added after firing.

The first incarnation was strung on a purple cord. I thought this was great, it really illustrated the Wizard’s birthday present to me – a rich purple cord seemed exactly right. It also had a spiral of wire and a purple bead on the bottom. But the assessors didn’t like it at all.

Design – 2 out of 3.5
Choice of chain and clasp – 1.5 out of 3
Function – 1.5 out of 2
Finish – 1.5 out of 1.5

6.5 out of 10 is not enough to pass. The comments left me with a bit of a puzzle. “The function of the core and sleeve is not well resolved. Ideally there is a container or presentation in the core element that gives the sleeve a reason to exist (it closes, hides or covers something).” Well, I thought I’d done that. The inside element has alchemical symbols on it and my story for the piece was that the Wizard was still ‘in the closet’ so to speak! He didn’t want people to know he was a wizard so he hid the symbols inside a rather innocuous sleeve. But at that time, I wasn’t encouraged to send the story to the assessors – so this point is lost.

They went on to say, “The purple cord does the piece no favors, and the spiral wire around the cord only contributes to the slapdash sense.” Oh dear! They finished by saying, “I encourage you to reuse the cone elements with a few changes and another cord or chain.” Which is what I did.

A5 Sleeve Container Pendant by Julia Rai
A5 Sleeve Container Pendant by Julia Rai

Re-submitted to the Registry evaluators - March 2009

​I took the purple cord off and replaced it with a heavy chain. The two elements are pretty heavy so they needed something substantial to hold them. Even the second time around though, I still didn’t get wonderful marks, the piece just scraped through.

Design – 3 out of 3.5
Choice of chain and clasp – 1 out of 3
Function – 2 out of 2
Finish – 1.5 out of 1.5

​The comments were still pretty bad! “The sleeve and core make a solid and secure fit, though the visual relationship is slight. Why not make an opening in the inner cone so it could be a locket?” Well, because that’s not the story of the piece! I find this type of comment a bit redundant. I’ve designed the piece with my own story so my decisions – for right or wrong – are my decisions.

They went on to say, “The interior cone with runic symbols works but the outer cone is crude by comparison. The big steel chain is too big and the addition of steel seems unconsidered. The transition to a tiny sterling chain seems to have dictated solely by the size of the cone’s opening; it doesn’t really work.” So they really didn’t like it but it did just scrape through with 7.5. This is another project I’d like to revisit when I’ve completed the whole thing.

Here is the project description from the Masters Registry website:-

A5 Sleeve Container Pendant

Pendant with interior form and a sleeve (both made of metal clay) that slides smoothly over the form. This is a container in which an outer unit slides over an inner piece that has a hollow interior. There is no clasp, but gravity keeps the outer sleeve over the interior chamber. The size is up to the maker, as long as the piece is wearable. Decoration, embellishment, stones, mixed materials are all allowed but not required. The pendant must be on a chain or cord, which can be handmade or commercial. Care should be taken to insure that the chain/cord and clasp relates to the pendant.

Click here to go to the next Level 1 Project

Close Menu