Saturday, 22 October 2011

Graduate of the Diploma in Metal Clay

My box bead finally passed
I am finally a graduate of the Diploma in Metal Clay from the Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery. I passed grade one in January and decided, after a bit of thought, to do grade two and three together in five days. I decided this because the jewellery school is so far from home and the travelling takes about five hours each way and of course, costs a lot. So I returned to Cornwall in March for both levels. It was very intensive and I think if I was to do it again I would do one and two together and three and four together.
I ended up not completing either level 2 or 3 in March. I had a few earring wires to make for level 2 but a lot to do for level 3. 
So, I decided to try to do what I could at home before returning this week. Even though I had seven months to make the pieces at a leisurely pace I didn't of course! Although I also didn't leave it to the last weekend either which was good. One of the things that hadn't passed was my box bead (above). I was very disappointed at the time because I'd spent a lot of time on it. However, I did a lot more work on it at home and I like it even more now. One of my friends on the course said that she liked my design (which has different sides) than the original design!
I like it too. I also spent some time with my friend Chu Mei who patiently worked with me on earring wires. They have to match in every way to pass and I had to make five pairs! I really had a lot to do and was very relieved to pass my grades 2 and 3 by the end of the day.

MCSJ is in Par, Cornwall
The fourth part of the diploma is a choice between design and construction and teaching. Although both would be useful I decided to go for the teaching part. I am a qualified teacher but I feel that teaching a practical skill is very different from the academic teaching I'm used to.
The assessment started with a written paper on metal clay. We had to get over 85% to pass. Luckily I had been revising and got 93% which I was very happy with. 
On the final day we each had to teach for half an hour, have a class sample of the finished piece we were teaching and have a class handout. I volunteered to go first to get it over with and in case any of the other students were intimidatingly good! I was more worried about my soldering than about the teaching (the soldering worked out fine thankfully).
The teaching was fine. I made a couple of very basic errors but passed so that was great. But I'd passed grade 4 before grades 2 and 3! 
At lunchtime on the final day I still had a lot to do. I managed to finish it off as a big headache developed. And I passed.
I really do feel that it is an achievement. You have to meet high standards to pass and I have learnt so many new techniques.

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