Lora's Suggestions

My impulse was to jump right in and do all the projects I thought would be fun or easy. Then I started thinking that if I started with those and left the less savory ones until later - I might never get to them at all! Who wants to do 10 projects that they're dreading? If you're just starting on the first level (or even the 2nd) I suggest you think before you act.

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! 

2. Come up with some ideas for the 10th project in each category. This project is always a candidate's choice. Do one candidate's choice at each level of the Registry.

3. List the 5 projects you're most looking forward to. Choose one or two of these to do in the first Level. If you do all your favorites first, 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.

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)

Start to think about how you'll learn the skills that you're not familiar with. 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. 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 help 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.

The Master's Registry consists of 50 projects, each focused on a separate set of skills. And while the bulk of the score may also focus on that particular skill, the design of the whole will always be taken into consideration. Being at a "Master's" level means that the participant should expect to do their very best work with every aspect of the piece sent in. If you send a finished piece of jewelry or sculpture, the way it is constructed, the materials used, and the actual 'finish' of the piece will also be considered. C4 is a bracelet with frames - will you join the elements with jump rings? Will you solder the jump rings? Will you use hinges? How will you create the hinge pins? What will the clasp look like and how will it operate. There are many considerations to take into account that will affect the success of the entire piece - even though the project is the framed bracelet panels.
In another example, if you hang a project related pendant on a chain, the chain should compliment the pendant, if the chain has a commercial clasp you might want to think about replacing it with a hand made version that also compliments the pendant. Is the pendant just hanging on a chain, or can you add additional elements to enhance the whole design? Sometimes a charm on a chain is lovely, sometimes it might be nice to include/design a set of beads, or 'station' elements that interrupt the chain that adds impact to the 'story' the pendant is trying to tell.
If you really want to use a popular shape (like a heart), think about making your own template or altering the perimeter of a commercial cutter or template (or the resulting metal clay piece) either by filing, carving, breaking, bending, or another method.
Using all of your skill and imagination on a single piece will make it more interesting not only to the evaluators, but to you, and the possible collector (if you plan on selling your work). Your work might have a broader audience than you think - whether here on FaceBook, or on the Pinterest MastersRegistry board, or eventually on the official site, or in some unknown publication, or sent in as submission to a show or competition... Always try to make each piece as captivating and well made as you can. Push yourself to think beyond your initial design thought.

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