D5 Metal Clay with Steel

Steel and copper pendant by Julia Rai

Submitted to the Registry evaluators - November 2008

I’d never worked with steel so I wasn’t really sure how to approach this project at the beginning. I found a steel component from some kind of machine – I have no idea what, it was just one of those things I seemed to have had for years. I made the piece quite quickly but I wasn’t surprised when it scored so badly. The overall score was 4.5 out of 10. The comments were also very negative. “The steel element is simply stuck onto a silver but otherwise boring oval (thin, plain, flat). The fine copper wire holding the leather washer is clever but too thin for a secure connection.”

There was a very useful comment in the initial feedback that helped me to approach this project the second time around. “The sense of this project is not simply to attach two metal parts together but to consider the qualities, associations and history of the two metals and to develop a piece that capitalizes on their similarities or differences.”

Penknife by Julia Rai

Submitted to the Registry evaluators - January 2010

My second attempt was a folding knife. I made this after attending a knife making class with Tim McCreight which really helped me to understand how to work with steel. The metal clay element was textured using thick slip and a cocktail stick – my favourite texture. The knife is 5.5 cms long folded. This project was well received and scored well.

Design – 4.5 out of 5
Craftsmanship – 2 out of 2.5
Finish – 2.5 out of 2.5

9 out of 10 – I was very happy with that. The comments compared the two submissions, “Unlike the first piece, this uses the steel and silver for the specific qualities of each. In addition, this piece demonstrates the ability to work with (and control) both metals.” I really love this little knife.

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

​D5 Metal Clay with Steel

Create a functional or wearable object that combines metal clay with any form of steel (stainless, carbon, etc.). This can be fashioned by the artist or derived from a commercial product. Examples would include a handmade knife blade, a commercial washer, or a remnant from a machine.

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