I've created this blog to share information from the Saturday Salon's held in Richmond, Virginia beginning in January 2014. The Salon is a live gathering of metal clay artists in the Virginia area who will get together once a month to discuss, brainstorm, problem solve, design, and otherwise prepare to work on projects for submission to the Master's Registry program. This year, our group will be working on the first of five levels.
"The Master's Registry is a program linked to an independent evaluation system that is the most prestigious and professional credential in the field of metal clay. A rigorous curriculum of 50 projects provides artists with a challenge that will propel them to improved technical skills and into new creative realms."
There has been so much interest in the Salon, that I've decided to post some of our information and discoveries. This blog will be updated monthly and will evolve as we go along. To begin, I'd like to share the intro letter that was sent to our 10 participating members. I hope you follow along with our progress and that some of our findings and experiences will help guide you in your own journey.
Thanks for Reading,
Lora Hart ~
Some of you are very familiar with my work, aesthetic, and design point of view; and some of you may not be. As a Senior Instructor with PMC Connection the focus of my teaching philosophy is that it's important for artists to have their own unique voice, to produce the highest quality work possible with great attention to detail, to think outside the creative box, and create art that you are proud of and which fulfills your artistic desire to make 'stuff'.
The Master's Registry raison d'etre is to provide a platform for self education that will further the artist's skill set and proficiency, similar to the way a university program would. They are looking for excellence. Not simply the degree of excellence you currently enjoy, they'd like you to strive to be better. Than what? That's objective.
British metal clay artist Julia Rai has attained Level 4 (along with Lesley Messam) and says this: "I think it's important for people to understand that the evaluators are not interested in stroking your ego. The Yahoo metal clay group [and FaceBook] is a supportive and encouraging group but the Registry evaluators will not say nice things about your work, they will pick it apart."
With that in mind I thought using the Master's Registry as a jumping off point for discussion, introspection, creation, education, illumination, and expansion of technique and skills would be a really fun way to work in communion with other metal clay enthusiasts in the area. But remember that the Salon is NOT made up of the Master's Registry evaluation team. This is a place for you to safely and confidently work on design and add to your skill set in the company of supportive and helpful artists. Any evaluations and comments will be offered with the intent of helping you produce professional work that will pass MR standards easily.
With the demise of the national PMC Guild, the absence of the Northern Virginia Chapter Guild, and the knowledge that creating in a vacuum is a difficult and lonely experience; this group will hopefully develop into a core group of passionate individuals and fast friends.
The 50 Master's Registry projects are divided into 5 groups of 10 pieces that are meant to be sent in at one time to be evaluated by a professional jury. Any form, brand, or type of metal clay may be used in the construction of your pieces. Because each submission has a cost of $500.00 ($250 upon enrolling, and $250 upon submission - which includes professional photographs of each project), I'm thinking that actually taking advantage of the evaluation process will be up to each artist. Simply learning the skills needed to complete the projects and producing them will be a great benefit to your metal clay process. I'll act as a guide and mentor, suggest ways you might learn techniques other than metal clay, and perhaps even demo techniques I've learned in my artistic travels.
The first meeting will be on January 18, at which point we'll just get to know each other, talk about each of our goals, and discuss how we want to proceed as a group. In my mind, you'll all be able to work on whatever projects interest you. We can also talk about working on the same project at the same time. There are 10 projects in the first level and 12 months in this first year, so the first and second meetings will be devoted to figuring it all out. I thought we'd take a look at the projects, discuss what techniques would be needed to complete them, and sketch or otherwise work on designs. One month per project seems like plenty of time on paper, but of course there is no real time table that anyone would have to follow.
I signed up for the Master's Registry in 2008 when it was first announced, and haven't done a thing about it since. Well, that's not entirely true. I made two projects - but they are so shopworn by now that I'll have to reconstruct them. So I'll be working on this project right along with you.
I suggest you read through all the project descriptions at the Masters Registry website and read Julia Rai's generous articles on her experiences before we meet. Please click through each link on both of these sites. I've also (barely) started a Pinterest board with ideas that correspond to project design aspects, and suggest that you may like to do the same.