C5 Fibula - now called Forging

Fibula by Julia Rai

Submitted to the Registry evaluators - November 2008

This project was initially called Fibula. It was changed to Forging as the purpose of it was for candidates to experiment with forging silver. So many people didn’t get the point so the description has been changed to be much more specific.

This project was a challenge and one which it took me two go’s to meet. My first fibula – well, I was quite pleased with it.It was a lovely hollow form and I embellished it with lampwork beads and a sterling silver pin. I really liked it. But the assessors didn’t.

Design – 3 out of 4
Handling of sterling – nothing out of 2 – oh dear!
Craftsmanship – 2.5 out of 2.5 – that’s a relief
Relation of parts – 0.5 out of 1.5

There was a lot of feedback from the assessors on this one. “Design: While I notice the glass elements have the same color, they do not integrate with the form, the surface or the function. Spirals are repeated but they fail to unify the piece.” So again, I was up against my lack of design skills.

“The pin wire is too thin to function properly. The unmodulated diameter of the wire is boring and lends an air of paper clip jewelry.” Oh dear, it really didn’t make the grade! Once I looked at it again when it was returned from the assessment, I had to agree that the pin wire was probably too thin, especially if it was to be worn on a thick fabric. But ‘paper clip jewelry’? That was a little harsh.

Fibula by Julia Rai
Fibula by Julia Rai

Re-submitted to the Registry evaluators - February 2009

They did give me some good advice though. They advised that I look at fibulas from the Roman era and the bronze age. I did this and really did lots of research into the shapes of ancient fibulas. What I didn’t do was learn about forging. This was a mistake but I still passed the project with my next attempt although it was just a scrape through.

Design – 4 out of 4
Craftsmanship – 1.5 out of 2.5
Use of sterling – 0.5 out of 2
Relation of parts – 1 out of 1.5

​So 7 out of 10. The comments were quite negative, “The form shows research into classic fibula shapes, but this is made from flat sheet, which does not make full use of metal clay. The sterling wire is left in its plain round state though the project specifically requires that it be forged.” I wondered why I passed when the main point of the project was to forge metal and I hadn’t done that. This is one of the projects I’d like to revisit one day – maybe when I get to level 5!

​The original description of this project is here:-

C5 Fibula, now called Forging

Make a fibula in which metal clay is used as a decorative element, and sterling is forged to become the functional spring-and-pinstem element. They will be joined by rivets, tabs, screws, or a similar cold connection. Size is determined by the maker, but the piece should be wearable. This piece can include (but is not required to include) gems, gold, resin, patina, etc.

It has now been modified and it now reads:-

Show proficiency in the traditional technique of forging by shaping sterling, fine silver, copper, brass or steel with hammers. Combine a forged element (or several elements) with components made from metal clay. The object can be wearable, functional or decorative.

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