Bits and Pieces

Take the Bits and Pieces Challenge!  This monthly piece of metal clay fun will challenge you to create something with five different elements and a specific theme, which change each month. 

JANUARY

Bits and Pieces Challenge 

Theme: New Beginnings

JANUARY Bits and Pieces Challenge Elements:

  1. Natural gemstone(s)
  2. Embeddable eyelet(s)
  3. Five metal clay embellishments – balls, donuts, flowers etc
  4. A visible bail – not a jump ring!
  5. For texture or used in the design – something you got during the holidays

Download our helpful pdf with details, rules and tips!

Bits and Pieces Winners

Helen Drye Bits and Pieces winner Dec 20

December 2020 winner
Helen Drye

Juror comments – The jury agreed that this is a lovely piece. They really liked the fact that it’s a Christmas tree ornament that can also be taken apart and used to create two pendants. They agreed the use of the candy wrapper as a kind of “stained glass” element placed over the openings in the design was cleverly done and provided a great pop of color. One thing they noted was that the hanging pendulum element was only textured on one side and felt it would have been good if this was double sided. Overall, the piece was well constructed, innovative in its dual functionality and a lovely debut piece from Helen for the Bits and Pieces challenge. 

The rules are easy:

  1. Use any kind or type of metal clay.
  2. You must use all five bits and pieces.

Tips
– You may combine two elements into one thing, like a color and a stone. 
– If a number of elements is stated – for instance three CZ’s – then ONLY use that many!
– Everything doesn’t have to be on the front of the piece but remember to show us the back if you use bits and pieces there.
– The fifth element can be used either as a texture or actually made as part of the piece.
– You’re free to add ear wires, chain, cord, brooch fittings, jump rings or other findings to complete a piece.
– You will find not just physical things to use but also some design elements to include. If you’re unsure what they mean, Robert Dancik has written a blog post as an introduction to the elements and principles of design which will help you. Read it here.

Don’t forget:
– Join the AMCAW Members Group on Facebook to post pictures of your piece in progress.
– Post a good quality image of the end product on our Members-only Facebook group when you’re done so we can all see how you’ve used the bits and pieces and interpreted the theme.

Member entries will be juried, and you’ll be able to see your jury comments which is a great learning opportunity. The jury will be looking for good interpretation of the theme, creative or innovative use of the bits and pieces, interesting or quirky pieces, fun designs – all the things we all love about working with metal clay!

Winners will be featured online in our Bits and Pieces Gallery and if you’ve posted good progress images, you may be the subject of a blog post on the AMCAW website!

 

FAQs

Do I have to use the exact number of things quoted or can I use more or less?
If a number is quoted, for instance three CZ’s, then that is the requirement for the challenge. Some elements will have the option to add as many as you like but when a number is specifically given that’s the number to use. Some of the challenges ask for ‘…at least’ or words like ‘some’ etc to give you the choice. Always read the requirements carefully!
Tell me more about the piece that can be used as a texture or in the design.

In each challenge there is an element that can either be used as a texture or actually in the design. It could be something that you can use to hang the piece, like string, a ribbon or cord, or maybe something you can sandwich between two layers using cold connections or bezel or prong set after firing. Or it could be something that you use to impress into the clay or make a mold of to use in the piece. Think outside the box and see what you can come up with!

I'm finding it hard to include all five things.

The purpose of the challenge is to make you think and push your creative boundaries. Perhaps you can combine two of the required elements in one thing, like a color option and a stone. Or maybe something can be used for texture, not actually in the design. There’s nothing to stop you using something to add surface texture rather than what you might normally use it for. Could the embeddable eyelets be used to texture part of your design for instance? Be sure to explain how you’ve used all five elements when you submit your final piece but the purpose is to get you thinking creatively and that’s what makes it fun!

What if I make earrings, do I include the number of stone etc. in each earring or across both?

If you make earrings you can use the number of stones, embellishments etc in each or across both.