We interviewed LJS metal clay tutor Julia Rai about her exciting first book ‘Making metal clay jewellery’
Julia Rai is an artist, writer and teacher working predominately in metal clay. She has a teaching studio based just outside St Austell in Cornwall, UK and is a visiting tutor at the London Jewellery School.
Well known in the international metal clay community, she has been working with metal clay since 2004 and teaching it since 2007. She holds a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, the Higher Metal Clay Diploma, PMC Certification from Rio Grande and is an Art Clay Senior Instructor. She also holds the City and Guilds 7407 Further Education Teaching Qualification.
She is the Director of the Metal Clay Academy, an online resource for everyone interested in metal clay. Her spare time is currently taken up with working on projects for the metal clay Masters Registry and she has achieved Registry IV, the first person in the world to achieve this level.
It’s aimed at those new to metal clay and/or those who are dabbling at home and need a reference book. I’ve covered all the types of fine silver clay – lump, sheet/paper type, paste and syringe in separate chapters so people can refer directly to the type of clay they are interested in. And of course, there are ways to combine these types covered in the book.
What types of project feature in the book?
It’s all jewellery. I’ve focused on making pieces of jewellery using the different types of silver clay and also included using glass, stones etc with the clay. There’s a chapter on making rings and one on hollow form beads too.
Do I need a kiln to make the projects in the book or can I use my torch?
Some require a kiln – like the glass and metal clay project – but many can be torch fired. I make it clear in the book which firing method would be best for the project and were the requirement is for kiln firing. For instance, it’s not pleasant – or safe – to fire something with a cork or wood clay core using a torch.
What is your favourite project in the book?
That’s a very hard question to answer as I enjoyed making everything. I think if I had to choose, it would be the glass and metal clay piece as this is colourful. As the book focuses on silver clay, the pieces are all silvery so having a bit of colour makes a nice change.
Why do you like working with metal clay?
Ever since I first discovered it, I’ve loved the accessibility and ease of working with it. The fact that you can teach a total novice to make a pendant and a pair of earrings in a three hour session is one of the reasons I love running taster classes. Often people say they didn’t believe they could make something so lovely and they are surprised by their own abilities. I love that.
Where can I buy the book and when is it published?
It is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US now. I will also be selling copies from the CSACJ website with the option for people to get a signed copy. And I’ll be taking some to the You Can Make It event being run by Metal Clay Ltd in March.
When will you be teaching at LJS this year?