C10 Candidates Choice

Wood and silver brooch by Julia Rai

Submitted to the Registry evaluators - August 2010

My first attempt at this used wooden slats coming out from silver metal clay ‘boxes’. It was a brooch which was supposed to have the wooden elements facing up – making the brooch pin the correct way. The evaluators decided it went the other way up so the brooch pin was upside down! I realised that the brooch would be a bit top heavy as the pin was on the silver part but when it’s being worn on my ample bosom, it sits fine! Not good enough though.

They didn’t score it. Here are the comments….

“I don’t feel this piece rises to the level of masters work. The design is simple (as opposed to intriguing), the scale and proportion are awkward. The category is ‘materials’ and this piece shows little effort to understand the chosen material (wood) or to explore relevant working methods. The clasp is too low and upside down. We expect more.” Oh dear!

Try again…

Totem Pendant by Julia Rai

Submitted to the Registry evaluators - February 2011​

I’ve been toying with the idea of totems for a while and doing some research into their construction etc. Coupled with a sculpture course I took which introduced me to carving in sandstone, I thought it might be fun to make a piece that combined sandstone carving with metal clay. So this piece was born.

I carved the sandstone pieces first. It’s actually two rods of sandstone put together. Sandstone is very easy to work using simple files and sandpaper in a variety of grits. I made the two end pieces by wrapping a cut up playing card round each end of the sandstone, then covering this with teflon sheet.

This allowed me to form the two box ends and allow for shrinkage. The basic box shapes had one end added and then the face pieces were added once they were dry. The round elements on the sides were made using Holly Gage’s negative space caning technique.

The copper wire acts as rivets to hold the whole thing together, threading through the box elements and the sandstone. There’s a small silver ball embedded in the middle of the sandstone towards the top and a hole drilled through the middle.

Design – 4 out of 4
Relation of Parts – 1.5 out of 2
Integrity – 2 out of 2
Craftmanship – 0.5 out of 2

8 out of 10. I was really glad to get full marks for design and integrity but 0.5 out of 2 for craftsmanship was a bit of a blow.

Here are the evaluators comments….

“Well conceived and executed details; the texturing of the copper wire, the varied yet unified texture on the silver, and the thoughtfully matched chain all contribute to a lively and energetic piece. An especially creative us of polymer inlay (where the copper enters). These small and interesting disks could be a taking off point for an entire piece!” What a great evaluation, I was so pleased with this after some of the short comments on other projects. It goes on, “The weakness here is the toggle clasp. The bar is too short to be secure and the jump rings too light a gauge to be left unsoldered.” So my clasp has let me down again. I can only assume that it’s this that caused me to loose so many marks for craftsmanship. The other evaluator had some constructive thoughts though…

“Nice piece and I agree with the first reviewer’s comments. The toggle is an issue. Here’s a thought: Think about a toggle more in the shape of an anchor, that is, a “T” shape in which the crossbar is curved. As work gets better we can focus on smaller and smaller details. Another example of this is on the square element of the toggle. You have a hole drilled in the square frame; I would have added a wider area to accommodate the hole. This would be stronger and would allow the regular symmetry of the square frame to remain unbroken.” This evaluation, like the one for the B3 Torch Fired Enamel Earrings that passed, has lots of useful information and observations. This is really where the Registry can move us forward as artists. If only all the evaluations were as thorough and useful as these two!

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

​C10 Candidates Choice

A project designed by the student that uses metal clay in conjunction with a non-metal material.

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