E3 Metal Clay Paper

Domed textured necklace by Julia Rai

Submitted to the Registry evaluators - June 2009

This project took three goes to get – two of them with the same piece!

My first submission was a round domed shape with metal clay paper elements embellishing the surface. I laminated PMC Sheet – by sticking two sheets together using a little water – to give it more substance. Then I cut thin strips and attached them to the surface of the dome using paste and water. I added some small balls as embellishment. It was attached to a chain using two small jump rings.

Design – 2 out of 3
Innovation – 2.5 out of 4
Craftsmanship – 1.5 out of 2
Finish – 0.5 out of 1

6.5 is not enough which was a big disappointment. The piece took me ages to make, was very fiddly and I really liked it – it’s still a piece I get lots of comments on when I wear it. Here are the evaluators comments…

“The elements in this piece don’t relate; the hook is heavy, the chain is light. Neither of them is patinaed but the main element is. The holes for the jump rings are rough and the rings themselves are poorly closed. There is an idea here behind the use of PMC paper based on quilling and it is a good idea, but it falls short in design, craftsmanship and execution. PS Ball fell off and is in a small plastic bag.” Oh dear me!!! I’m just rubbish, aren’t I?

Domed textured necklace by Julia Rai

Re-submitted to the Registry evaluators - January 2010

Determined to get this piece through, I took off the chain, filled in the jump ring holes, stuck on the ball that fell off – LOL – and added a bail to the back, then refired the piece. This just goes to prove that even fired pieces can be reworked! I strung this one onto a commercial multi-strand wire. And then I resubmitted it. Here are the scores for attempt number two. Oh and they changed the scoring for this one…

Design – 2 out of 4
Innovation – 1.5 out of 2.5
Craftsmanship – 2 out of 2
Finish – 0.5 out of 1.5

Six out of 10 – worse than last time – oh boy! Here are the comments for this submission…

“This use looks a lot like cloisonne wire. Not especially new and something that might have been easier to do in wire.” OK, fair point but the previous evaluation said this was a good idea based on quilling! Can’t win sometimes!!

“The all-over design lacks focus, though the spheres are a step in the right direction because they help the viewer navigate through the composition.” Who knew!

“The edge is not well handled…the wires approach the edge then halt. They could engage better, for instance by interrupting the edge or changing their distance.” Useful feedback at last.

“I don’t understand the sparkly dark surface treatment. It competes with the complexity of the pattern.” I don’t understand this either, I probably couldn’t get that again if I tried!

“The reverse side is nicely resolved.” Oh, that’s OK then!

Destiny Brooch by Julia Rai

Re-submitted to the Registry evaluators - August 2010

So it was back to the drawing board. I decided to give up on this piece and start again although I was still determined to use the same technique – fiddly as it is. I really wanted to make it work. I doodled shapes and went back through my sketchbook to find a form I liked that I felt I could use for this piece.

I’m a big science fiction fan and watch all kinds of sci-fi movies and TV programmes. I’d drawn a sketch of a space craft from one of the TV shows and really loved it. I decided to make a brooch so I made the basic piece, domed on a candle light bulb. I then added PMC and Art Clay paper elements and small disks and balls to the surface. This was even more fiddly than the round form and I had to work in sections and let each one dry before moving on. The trickiest bit was where to hold the piece while I added the paper. It has embeddable brooch findings on posts at the back to account for the doming. After firing, a strong Liver of Sulphur patina was added and then the high spots, disks and balls were polished.

Design – 3 out of 4
Innovation – 2 out of 2.5
Craftsmanship – 1.5 out of 2
Finish – 1.5 out of 1.5

8 out of 10 – better, but not wonderful. And again, this is one of the evaluations where I find it hard to equate the marks with the comments.

“More like it – a powerful graphic form, nicely exploited by the dark/bright finish. Also good to see some volume and a scale that has presence without being clumsy.” Explains the full marks for finish but why the dropped point for design?

There was one more comment on this evaluation…

“Observation: Why are there no makers marks or hallmarks on most of (this) metal clay artists’ work, especially coming from the UK? I think a piece is not finished until this is done.” So did I drop points for not having it hallmarked? Who knows. Nowhere in the Registry instructions or guidance does it say pieces have to be hallmarked or have a makers mark. Hallmarking is only necessary in the UK if you are selling pieces, plus it’s expensive to have done. So I wonder why this was added to my evaluation? I’ll never know as I asked the question but never got a reply from the Registry.

I was glad this piece passed though, it’s one of my favourites. But the picture taken by the Registry photographer was horrible – taken with the piece lying on its side so you get no idea of the shape or overall surface treatment. The images here were done by my brilliant photographer – Paul Mounsey.

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

​E3 Metal Clay Paper

Use metal clay Paper to create a wearable object that demonstrates the unique possibilities of this form of metal clay. This could use the Paper for origami, as a graphic overlay, to create textile-like draping, or in any other way that is best accomplished by this material.

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