Monday, January 2, 2012

I Double Dog Dare You!

Posted by Lora Hart
Artistic Advisor

America's Next Top Model, Project Runway, Iron Chef, Design Star, Work of Art, Face Off, Shear Genius. What do all of these reality shows have in common? Challenge! Adventure! Innovation! Self satisfaction! Models, designers, cooks, interior decorators, fine artists, make-up artists, and hair dressers are all clamoring to participate, to stretch their imaginations to the limit, to take advantage of the training; expertise; and passion they feel for their chosen field (yes, yes - I'm sure the lure of fame and fortune doesn't hurt).

I've been fascinated with these public tournaments for years, inspired by each new opportunity to create beauty out of chaos and stimulated by each maker's ability to take unusual (sometimes seemingly impossible) materials or themes and transform them into wonderful confections of artistic expression.

Some of my unusual materials have included a plastic spoon, papier mache,
plants (thanks neighbors), and a Coke bottle.
Challenges and contests are a fabulous way for an artist to step outside their usual comfort zone to imagine new and exciting designs. There are a plethora of opportunities in cyber space to take advantage of. Groups of jewelry makers from all over the world have taken part in ring making challenges hosted on Flickr for the past couple of years. The first version, Ring a Day (RAD) asked makers to imagine and photograph one ring per day in 2010. The concept was so popular that Lark published a book featuring 700 (out of 16,000) of the entries. Last year the challenge went down to 52 rings via Ring a Week (RAW). For 2012 I dreamt up Four a Month (FAM) which allows makers to explore multiples by making either a parure (set) consisting of any combination of matching ring, earrings, necklace, bracelet, or pendant OR four of a kind - using the same theme, shape or materials in 4 similar but not identical objects. It's open to everyone and I hope you'll join in!

Magazines and jewelry supply companies offer fabulous prize, publicity, and peer admiration incentives to encourage jewelry makers to stretch the limits of their design imaginations. In fact, PMC Connection is partnering with Metal Clay Artist Magazine in their annual design contest. The deadline for "Metal Clay Plus..." is looming at the end of February and to encourage all you enthusiasts take part, we here at CornerStone have been trying to inspire you with images of PMC combined with glass, porcelain, found objects, enamel and other materials.

I've paired hydraulically formed copper, a porcelain doll,
a natural cocoon and a paint brush with metal work.
We've also encouraged you to prepare by participating in this blog's CornerStone Challenges, and we'd like to give you one last chance to push your creativity to new heights. The first challenge of 2012 will be announced next week and will again use the theme of metal clay (any color or brand) paired with innovative inclusions. Hope you play along.

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