B7 Plastic in a Tool or Utensil

Pin tool by Julia Rai
Pin tool by Julia Rai

Submitted to the Registry evaluators - February 2013

For this project I wanted to make something organic in style with open areas so I could then put the plastic element inside. I decided on a pin tool with a threaded lid to protect the pin. This was formed around a pencil and was deliberately made in a style that didn’t look perfect. I added stones for colour and interest. The plastic part was resin clay which is a two part mixture which takes a couple of hours to harden. I liked it – they didn’t!​

Design – 2 out of 3.5
Craftsmanship – 0.5 out of 3
Use of color – 1.5 out of 2
Function – 0.5 out of 1.5

Only 4.5 so not enough to pass. Here are the comments….

“The overall design idea is interesting, but the execution of the metal clay is rather rudimentary in quality. The metal clay coils are cracked, the small discs appear pushed in, squashed in some instances. The dark patina tries to cover some of this up, the dark resin clay muddles the design even more. The feel of the tool is a bit clumsy in hand. The flat end of the tool looks unfinished and forgotten. The stones don’t fit with the overall character of the piece. Faceted and too refined for the organic style of the tool. I’d like to see this piece redone with better metal clay work, more rough-cut stone pieces, and a different color resin clay. Even a dark red would have done more to make this piece more eye appealing.”

I’ve been caught before with remaking something with their suggestions and the second one still scores badly. I don’t like being accused of trying to cover up poor workmanship which this seems to be suggesting. The piece was deliberately made to look organic which the evaluator goes on to acknowledge. Fair point about the stones I suppose although I didn’t feel they were out of keeping with the piece.

Part of me wants to make this again because I like the design, but part of me thinks this is not a good idea. Especially when you read what the other evaluator said…

“I agree with the primary’s comments but the salient point for me is that the plastic is more a filler than a feature of this piece. Although the threaded closure deserves credit (nicely done), the pin tool is a work horse in
anybody’s tool box, used constantly, and might be better served by a friction fit; a closure that allowed the user to get to the tool more easily.”

Another fair point about the threaded lid but if we’re not supposed to use the plastic as a filler, what are we supposed to do? I’ll have to think about this one for a bit!

Scoop fork by Julia Rai

Re-submitted to the Registry evaluators - September 2017

My second attempt at this project was a condiment scoop/fork made with silver clay. There had been some conversation on the Facebook Masters Registry group, initiated by me, about whether acrylic paint would be acceptable as the plastic element of this project. The view was it would depend on how the paint was used.

I went ahead and designed this little utensil and filled the aperture on both sides with dots of acrylic paint in shades of green. This was then sealed with clear resin. Here are the scores:-

Design – 1 out of 3.5
Craftsmanship – 2 out of 3
Use of color – 2 out of 2
Function – 0.5 out of 1.5

5.5 isn’t enough to pass.

Here are the comments:-

“This design doesn’t meet the quality of your other master level work. For me, this project barely squeaks by. I gave it low marks for design because of a lack of originality. The “spoon” end doesn’t seem very functional. Good use of color.”

“As I read this project description, the non-rigid plastic should take on more of a functional role rather than simply filling in an empty space. Give this project another try.”

Oh well, back to the drawing board!

Bronze and Polymer Clay Handled Knife

Re-submitted to the Registry evaluators - April 2019

I enjoy making knives but having used one of my own steel knife blanks for a previous entry, I decided to buy a commercial ring blank for this attempt. The handle is made from bronze clay inlaid with polymer clay using the mica shift technique. Here are the scores:-

Design – 2.5 out of 3.5
Craftsmanship – 2 out of 3
Use of color – 1.5 out of 2
Function – 1.5 out of 1.5

7.5 so it only just passed.

Here are the comments:-

“This piece passes but it does not take full advantage of the prompt, which calls for “creative use of plastic to make a handle.” The handle is primarily metal clay and the plastic is simply an embellishment. To say it another way, the knife would work as well and be interesting even without the plastic element.

Over all you have met the requirements for this project. I feel in certain areas you could have done better. I wish the bronze clay handle elements were filed/polished flush to steel spine of the knife—like the bronze guard for a cleaner look. The polymer clay inlay has a few issues and could have been finessed and finished to look better.”

This was not my favourite project! I didn’t really enjoy making any of the pieces and I found it hard to meet the criteria. But it was my 50th project, the last one to pass and now allows me to get on with the master work!

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

B7 Plastic in a Tool or Utensil

Make a tool handle that makes creative use of a non-rigid plastic such as polymer clay or thermosetting plastic. This should be a functioning tool or utensil, either made by the artist or adapted from a commercial product. This handle, for instance, could be attached to a burnisher, craft knife, rolling tool, kitchen knife, or paint brush. The object will include metal clay in a meaningful way, as structure, appearance or both.

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