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Art Clay level 1

I am proud to say that I have just passed my Art Clay level 1 certificate. It is an industry standard course which allows me to teach Art Clay beginners sessions. This was a three day course which I took at the London Jewellery School. I was very fortunate to be taught by Julia Rai, a world class name in Silver Clay and an excellent teacher. She was the first person in the world to achieve level 3 Metal Clay Masters Registry (at the time of writing only two people have achieved that level and the second is also from the UK).
The Art Clay level 1 course is very intense, you make seven items that have to conform to the standards required. Having done a beginners course and made a few items at home I found some of the things OK to make and some things challenging. I'm very pleased with a couple of items

My favourites are
lacy ball earrings

daily casual ring
I'm not a big fan of rings and they can be difficult to size because Art Clay and PMC shrink when fired. However, I am chuffed with this one

twig brooch

leaf pendant




The items that are OK but I probably won't be wearing!
Pearl ring
This was such a nightmare! I had loads of problems getting a string of clay that was the right shape and consistency. The others in the class were waiting for me! And then, on the final day, I dropped it and it broke into three pieces! I had to quickly repair it. Luckily I managed to get a borderline pass. In the course book there is a design using the same technique to make earrings. I think I will give that a go to lay the ghosts to rest!

Flat band ring
This ring is fine. I'm pleased that you can't tell where the join is which is important. I don't like the syringe work I did here

Leaf motif pendant
This is OK. Nothing special as far as I'm concerned. The technique is useful (being able to syringe a shape and adding layers) so I will try it again on another project

Anyway, so now I'm hooked on metal clay as a medium! It is great to have learnt so many new techniques in the space of three days. I look at the book I have and can see how I could do each project and make it more my own.
I have already signed up for level 1 of the Metal Clay diploma at Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery with Julia as my teacher again. Here they do a diploma that is well recognised and independent of the clay manufacturers. My aim is to do level 1 and 2 of the diploma in 2011 and level 3 and 4 in 2012. There are also loads of other courses to do in the meantime! And I am seriously considering getting my own kiln. I suspect I will do that in the next couple of months.
I am really excited about it all. Watch this space for developments!

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