Metal Clay Masters Registry

Masters Registry logoAlthough the Metal Clay Masters Registry didn’t provide training, it was a way for serious metal clay artists to develop their skills by challenging themselves.

The Registry programme was launched in 2008 and closed at the end of June 2019. Here is the official announcement from the Masters Registry website.

ANNOUNCEMENT: After more than a decade the Metal Clay Masters Registry will cease operations on June 30, 2019. Over the years the Registry has proven itself to be a valuable incentive for many people. It was a good idea and it has contributed to the evolution of metal clay. In the ensuing decade, however, a lot has changed and it is time to close the Masters Registry.

This decision has not been easy, and in fact it has been coming for more than a year. Thanks to active social media sites, energetic suppliers and generous teachers, there are many avenues for growth throughout the metal clay community. Given all this, participation in the Registry has declined each of the past several years and we cannot ignore this fact.

The Registry will cease operations on June 30, 2019. Until that time, candidates are encouraged to submit work for review. They will receive the same thoughtful critiques and professional quality photographs that have been the hallmark of the Registry for more than a decade.

Details about the Masters Registry

The Metal Clay Masters Registry website allowed people to sign up for the programme. It was open to anyone working in metal clay. On the website, people could find details of the projects and then work on them without signing up for the programme. It was only when people wanted to submit their work for evaluation that they needed to sign up and pay.

Each project had a set of criteria it was marked on, like Design, Construction or Craftsmanship. Once the initial joining fee was paid, participants got a pack containing more details about the projects allowing them to see exactly what the evaluators were looking for in each project. This helped participants to design project pieces to meet these criteria.

As people passed each level, they got a certificate to show they had passed and they were also added to the Meet the Masters pages of the Registry website. Part of the fee paid to participate in the Registry covered professional photographs of the submitted pieces. These were high quality and were sent to participants on CD. They allowed people to submit their work to publications and competitions or build up a portfolio of their work.

There was a Facebook Support Group for the Masters Registry. It was open to anyone. 

Lora Hart has created a Pinterest board with examples of projects that have been made over the years by the artists participating in the Registry program.

Julia Rai – Metal Clay Masters Registry Resource

MCA director Julia Rai achieved Masters Registry Level 5 before the programme closed. All the projects she completed have been fully written up on her website. Here you can read what the evaluators said about her submitted pieces, including those which didn’t pass. This resource will give you more insight into what the evaluators were looking for.

30th July 2008

Tim McCreight posted the following information on the Yahoo! Metal Clay Group at the launch of the programme.

In the early days of metal clay, certification classes were created to encourage serious exploration by a wide range of talented artists. The first certification program in the US was a collaboration between Rio Grande (at that time the only company selling PMC), Mitsubishi (the manufacturer), and the PMC Guild, which represented the educational component. There wasn’t a need to draw clear lines between the partners because we were pretty much the only game in town. Fast forward and Art Clay brought their program into the US from Japan, and PMC Connection was taken on as a second distributor of PMC. Since both those programs had their own certification programs, each with its own benefits and associations, the situation was a little harder to sort out.

At that time Rio Grande was restructuring and unable to keep up with the increasing demand for classes. The Guild had extra manpower and agreed to handle the infrastructure, setting up workshops, handling registrations, and so on. The program always belonged to Rio and they made the rules, but understandably there was a perception that this was a Guild program. About five years ago, Rio resumed day-to-day operation of the Rio Rewards program.

In the summer of 2004, the metal clay community was sorting out several issues. There was confusion about the various certification programs and their standards, people wanted more instruction and higher levels, artists outside the US wanted some sort of program that they could pursue without coming to the States, and academics were asking for a formal credential. The concept that would become the Masters Registry was born In response to that mix of questions.

Since then, dozens of people have volunteered hundreds of hours to create the program we will have operational by the end of the year. The program is difficult to grasp until you let go entirely of the certification format. The Registry includes no classes and no discounts. Instead, it consists of a comprehensive program of project descriptions and an evaluation component. Artists sign up for the program and submit work according to their own schedule.

The work must be original, but candidates are entitled, even encouraged, to take whatever classes they want to help them prepare. Getting to this place has required an investment of several thousand dollars, and that much will be needed again before we’re done. The PMC Guild has fronted this funding because, frankly, there was no one else to do it. Eventually the program might become self sufficient, but that is a long way off, if ever. The mission of the Guild is to promote artistic use of metal clay by supporting artists and increasing visibility. This program is consistent with that mission.

One of the questions that comes up concerns the evaluation component. First let me say that because all the information is posted on a public website, anyone can run through this entire program for free without taking advantage of the evaluation part. Those who want to “take it for the grade” rather than “audit” will pay a fee, half of which goes to a professional evaluation team, and half of which will support the program. We will invite a wide range of leaders of the metal clay field to become evaluators, and that list of artists, along with their credentials, will be public. The three people who evaluate a particular candidate will remain anonymous.

At the PMC Conference in July 2008 the Masters Registry was introduced. This is what was presented.

The Masters Registry has been developed by the PMC Guild but it is intended to be a separate entity from the guild and open to all metal clay artists.

The Masters Registry has five levels to complete to get the full certification. There are 50 projects in all to complete, divided into five categories; construction, PMC and other metals, color, materials and miscellaneous.

To get each level you have to complete 10 projects, two from each category. These are submitted along with a fee and they are assessed by a panel for specific criteria. On successful completion of the first 10 projects you will get the Registry Level 1. The next 10 projects will get you Level 2 etc.

There is no time limit from registering to do the programme to sending in the projects.