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. 


Bits and Pieces Challenge 

Theme: Model

May Bits and Pieces Challenge Elements:
1. Jump ring(s)
2. Movement
3. Lumps, bumps or dips
4. Something wavy
5. For texture or used in the design – leather or faux leather

Bits and Pieces Winner

Mandy Fretz  winner Bits and Pieces March 2022

April joint 2022 winner

Mandy Fretz

Juror comments – Everyone was happy to see the neutral background for Mandy’s entry this month, it allows the piece to take all the attention! Jurors felt the butterfly theme was well done and carried through both sides of the pendant. They like the way the butterfly cabochon is framed by part of the texture as well as by Mandy’s attention to the back of the piece. They agreed the bail is a particularly good element in the piece since it seems like it has been treated more as an integral part of the design rather than simply a way to hang the work. The fact that it’s only on the front of the piece and the way it overlaps on itself makes it read more like an object in front of the background. It almost looks like the butterflies are flying into the space underneath the bail and into the space created by the overlap. The variations in the textures also create a nice illusion of space. Jurors felt that this quality might have been enhanced a bit by a little more contrast in the patina between the recessed areas and the areas in relief, perhaps a little more polishing of the high spots? Overall, it’s a lovely piece that could be brought to a higher level of execution by attention to detail. More sanding and refinement of the edges of each added element, especially the bottom edges of the bail, cleaning up excess paste, etc, would make it even better. Taking a picture with your phone and looking closely can show little problem areas which can then be corrected or refined before firing. Well done Mandy, keep at it!

Mandy Fretz  winner Bits and Pieces March 2022

April joint 2022 winner

Joy Wignall

Juror comments – Jurors agreed that this piece is at the usual level of skill we see from Joy, so beautifully executed and well finished! The individual elements of the piece are very nicely fabricated and finished and the overall design is successful. The bail is skillfully handled and the negative space created by the point of the bail in the little circle is very pleasing. The texture on the frame relates well to the overall piece. The botanical bits are trimmed neatly and applied cleanly. One thing that several jurors mentioned was that without Joy’s explanation of the folded area representing mountains, they would not have recognised them. One juror said that the crescent moon caused a visual discord and confusion and the piece might be better without it although another thought the moon was lovely. And the Keum Boo is really well done. So this piece caused quite a lot of discussion amongst jurors which is always a good thing! Keep challenging the jurors Joy!

The rules are easy:

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

– 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 Metal Clay Fun with AMCAW Group on Facebook to post pictures of your piece in progress.
– Post a good quality image of the end product on our Metal Clay Fun with AMCAW 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!



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.