Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Master Muses Tutorials

Tonya Davidson is posting synopses of the Whole Lotta Whimsy Master Muse tutorials on her website. The full length tutorials will be available for purchase beginning in March, with every detail of the design and finishing carefully described and photographed.

Five projects in a row will explore a given theme, with the current inaugural project being to design an innovative clasp. The assignment to the first five Muses was to develop something new and exciting, NOT a toggle or C clasp, which are over used in the metal clay community. Materials were supplied, our choice of silver or copper clay for this project, and we were given a month to get the design developed and to write the step-by-step tutorial with photos of every step. Intermediate to advanced tutorials were requested, so these won't be rehashes of beginner's techniques.

The first two tutorials have posted, with the newest launching just this morning. Anne Mitchell led off with a trendy steampunk-inspired hook and eye clasp tutorial. Technical skills included in the tutorial include designing templates, using a hole punch, riveting, and hammer texturing and shaping.

And Barbara Becker Simon's new tutorial shows a CopprClay spiral clasp, used as the focal of a necklace. Barbara's innovative technical skills encompass combining wire with clay, carving, setting stones with a setting bur, and applying gorgeous color (with Prismacolor pencils perhaps?? gotta see that tutorial!).

I'm excited that my tutorial will post next week. It was a lot of fun and some stress to execute this project. First, I knew that the level of work would be extraordinary, so I'd have to ramp up my self-expectations to turn out something I was happy with. Two, with the holidays intervening, development time was a bit short. Three, I'd never tried an "innovative" clasp, but only the more standard ideas. I was starting from scratch, whereas Barbara even teaches an entire class on clasps, so she has this all figured out. No wonder she turned hers in first!

I'm happy to say that the challenge was a great thing for me. I wasn't happy with the first iteration, nor the second, but the third made me proud. There are variations now scattered across my work table, and as soon as the tutorial posts next week, I'll be showing more of them. And I'll be detailing my development trials and learning experiences. We all know how easy the teacher makes it look when we take a class -- the project goes together like a charm! It's easy to overlook all the work that went into developing those ideas. Truly, it's that process rather than the finished product that pushes one upwards.