Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Preparing for the Prep

This past Sunday was the first meeting of the Saturday Salon Master's Registry Prep group, and we had 5 talented ladies in attendance. The meeting was chock full of information, discussion, and excitement for the year ahead.

I gave each participant a folder which held a few sheets of lined paper for notes, a few sheets of graph paper for sketches, a print out of the project categories from the Registry website, and a couple of pages of interesting tidbits and questions - which included...

1. List the 5 projects that most terrify/concern/intimidate you. I suggest you do one of these projects at each level. If you leave them all until Level 5 - You may never complete them! Find classes in your area or online that will help you to learn the processes or begin to experiment on your own with inexpensive materials so when it comes time to make the project to send in, you'll be an expert.

2. List the 5 projects you're most looking forward to. Again, do only one or two of these in the first Level. If you do all your favorites, you'll have nothing to look forward to in the future. Making sure you have at least one 'low stress' project to start off with will give each level a nice jump start.

3. Make a list of all skills you have in your tool box that fall outside the realm of metal clay. Knitting, embroidery, soldering, furniture making and other talents may add that 'little something extra' to each of your projects.

4. Make a list of all the techniques you'll need to know for each category of the project list.  To get you started, I've come up with a few for each section:
     Construction - Gem Setting, Soldering, Building concepts (box making etc)
     Color - Enameling, Resin, Patina Varietals, Prisma Color or other dry media technique
     Materials - Riveting, Glass slumping, Forging
     Other Metals - Gold Paste, Keum Boo
     Miscellaneous - Computer Skills (perhaps for E2), Hinges and Catches, Mechanical Connections/Theory, Screw/Thread Fabrication, Sawing/Piercing (for E6)

D7 asks for metal clay to be combined with 'white metal'. Titanium (which cannot be soldered - so you'd need to use a mechanical connection like a rivet); nickel silver, alpaca, and german silver (which are all names for the same white alloy); lead (which may not be the healthiest choice); iron; aluminum; and tin are some of the white metals I thought of.

D6 asks for a copper alloy. Shibuishi and Shakudo are Japanese alloys you can look up in a google search; bronze; brass; and red brass are other alloys made from copper. I imagine you can also just use straight copper for this project.

You may also be able to combine silver clay with base metal clays for the projects in 'Metal Clay and Other Materials'. The guidelines for the Registry were written before those clays came out.

There are a number of projects that have similar techniques, so the learning curve for each of those separate projects may be eased with the repetition.

     B3, B4, and B5 all involve enamel.
     A4, A5 (?), A6, C2, and E4 require boxes.
     A2, A5 (?), and A7 are bead projects.
     D1, D2, D3, D4 all request the addition of gold. Aura 22 or AGS gold slip/paste may be used, or you can make your own from gold lump clay or the rose and green gold clay that is sold by Michele Glaeser.

E1 requires that you make a replica of a votive figure. This does not mean a small, figurative candle holder! ASK.com defines a votive this way:
1. A votive figure is an image someone creates to use as a devotional offering to a god or some other deity.
2. A votive deposit or votive offering is one or more objects displayed or deposited without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred place for broadly religious purposes.

Start to think about how you'll learn the skills that you're not familiar with. There are many YouTube videos on each of these subjects, CraftCast.com offers online classes that cover many of them; Hadar Jacobson's blog has a wealth of information for base metal clays - even if you're using another brand; live classes at an art center or community college in your area will help, and plain old self determination will get you through the projects.

Note that although you MAY use a variety of techniques in a single project, your work will be evaluated for only the specific project's required skills. However - the more creative and innovative your project is in it's entirety - the higher marks you're likely to get. So if you make a beautifully constructed, enameled and stenciled box, with a little frog with turquoise eyes set inside that can be removed from it's green plastic lilly pad screw threaded post - you'll likely get great marks, but you won't be able to submit it for A4 and B1 and C6 and E6 and E7. You'll most likely just submit it for A4. Period. But all that other work will definitely impress the evaluators, which may indeed raise the number of points you receive for the design aspect of the project.

If you're working on the Registry, as we are here in Richmond Virginia, I suggest you join the FaceBook group so we can all inspire, support, and cheer each other on as we move through the process. I've set up a Pinterest board, which the members of the Salon will be adding to for inspiration and you're all welcome to follow it too.

Thanks for Reading. See you next month.