Going Pro with Metal Clay

Talking about getting serious, believe it or not you can actually become a metal clay professional. Early on, one of the unusual aspects of this medium was the formation of related organizations that encouraged the idea of a professional approach to metal clay. Granted, many other types of jewelry making, such as metalsmithing, also have organized, professional groups, but it took a while for them to form; metal clay groups seemed to pop up very quickly after the initial introduction of this product. A lot of this was due to vendors who saw an opportunity to expand on the products.

The PMC Guild is one such group. It sponsors conferences, provides related publications, offers information and community outlets on its website (www.pmcguild.com), and promotes educational opportunities for members. Founded in 1997, the guild offers certification classes through a company called Rio Grande (a vendor of PMC as well as all kinds of other jewelry making products). Their certification program is called PMC Rewards and the process allows members to become certified at two different levels. There is a third level where a select few are allowed to become Senior Instructors, but they limit this.

Figure 1.17

Textured metal clay and crystal bead earrings by Judy Kogut.

Figure 1.17

Textured metal clay and crystal bead earrings by Judy Kogut.

PMC Connection, on the other hand, another jewelry vendor-turned educator, has its own certification program. Like the Rio Grande's, it has different levels, but in this case, they provide all three and don't limit the number of seniorlevel instructors. Both require students to make a certain number of projects using specific skills and then these are graded by a certified instructor.

Art Clay also has a certification program, which is set up very similarly (see Art Clay World at www.artclayworld.com). Specific classes require the completion of predetermined projects. These projects are designed to develop a certain number of skill sets that must be demonstrated by the students in order to receive certification status, and eventually, candidates can graduate and become senior- or master-level instructors and teach these same classes to other Art Clay fans.

True, there is no requirement to become certified in order to teach metal clay classes; however, certification has a number of benefits. Discounts and other benefits make the certification process worth it for those who are interested in making a career out of teaching others to create with metal clay. Instructors are able to purchase clay and related supplies at reduced rates, they have access to curriculum resources that help them teach specific skills, and of course, there's the prestige that goes along with the certification as well. Additionally, senior- and master-level instructors can, in turn, teach certification classes themselves, so it's sort of a revolving-door system. You learn from a certified instructor, and you can then teach others to be certified.

It seems that there are so many designers selling jewelry lately that competition is fierce. If you have a jewelry business now or have thought of starting one, teaching may be a better alternative. I have taught jewelry classes as well as writing classes, and I also sold my jewelry at art shows, galleries, and boutiques for many years. I have found teaching (and writing) to be much more rewarding than selling and marketing my jewelry. Because of the professional structure created by these metal clay organizations, those who may want to step into the teaching side of the jewelry business have a ready-made program to follow along with continuing curriculum support and discounts to boot.

Just to clarify, certification is not required to teach others to make metal clay jewelry. I have taken a certified level 1 class from a certified instructor as well as a very similar non-certified class from someone with just a lot of experience, and I learned plenty in both classes. Though you may just be learning the basics of this jewelry making form now, which is why you are reading this book in the first place, it is still nice to know that as your abilities increase, you have some exciting options to maybe turn "pro" some day.

"Ñamaste" pendant on sterlin
g chain designed by Sarah Peacock.

Tools and Supplies for

Precious Stones

Precious Stones

IN this little text-book the author has tried to combine the trade information which he has gained n  his  avocation,  the  study  of  precious  stones,  with  the  scientific  knowledge  bearing  thereon, which his vocation, the teaching of chemistry, has compelled him to master.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment