Link to Silver Metal Clay Diploma Holders

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MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Diploma Home Study Course

Announcement from Mid Cornwall School of Jewellery

30th May 2023

The MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Diploma Home Study Course is now closed

to new admissions and further sales.

Students with outstanding work have a further two years (until June 1st 2025) to submit items for assessment and award of certificates.

No further work will be assessed after that time.

Advice is still available to help you complete your work before the deadline via the private MCSJ Home Study Support group on Facebook or via email

We’ve enjoyed our many years of service in this arena and wish you all well with your future endeavours.

Warm regards,

Lisa Cain

Founding Director

Home Study Diploma LogoIf you can't travel to study with us in Cornwall, you can now study the Diploma at your own pace and in your own time at home. Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3 are now available to buy

Guided by Lisa Cain in a relaxed, informal style, you'll learn all about silver metal clay - both brands and all varieties. You'll then be guided to complete the projects that make up the MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Diploma Grade 1 course, the MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Diploma Grade 2 course or the MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Diploma Grade 3 course. Packed with tips and hints, demonstrations and information, this is the closest thing to taking a private class with Lisa you can get - without leaving home! Check out the buzz we've been getting since launching the MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Home Study Diploma.

On this page, you'll find all the information you need to get started....

How does the MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Home Study Diploma work?

The full pack has everything you need to make all the projects in the Grade. When the pack arrives, you watch the DVDs, print the project tutorials, slides and resources that are on the CD and then make the seven projects that make up the Grade 1 Scene from the DVDDiploma course. All the materials and resources are included in the pack but you’ll need to have your own tools. You can also arrange a visit to one of our MCSJ Diploma Support Centres to use theirs.

The Home Study Course pack includes detailed information about the standards we’re looking for in your finished pieces – both on the DVDs and on a Criteria Sheet included in the pack. You can take as long as you like to complete all the pieces; there are no time pressures with the Home Study Course.

When you’ve made all the projects, you pack them up carefully, send them to MCSJ by Insured Delivery and we evaluate them. If they meet our standards, you’ll get them back together with your Certificate. If some pieces don’t meet our standards, we’ll send them back to you with detailed feedback on what you need to do next. You can resubmit pieces as many times as you need to for evaluation.

When you've completed the Grade 1 Home Study, you have the choice of coming to Cornwall to continue your Diploma journey - see our Jewellery Course Dates and Prices page for the dates the other Grades are running - or sign up for the MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Grade 2 Home Study course.

I live outside the UK, can I still sign up for the MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Home Study Diploma?

Yes, you can, we have students from all over the world studying the Diploma at home. On our buying options page for the MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Home Study Diploma you'll find shipping costs to countries outside the UK. The Diploma is recognised worldwide. The DVDs are region neutral in PAL format which means they will play on most computers and many modern DVD players. Some DVD players and TVs that are NTSC may have a problem playing the DVDs so check whether your equipment will play a PAL DVD before purchasing.

Do I have to have passed the Grade 1 to buy the Grade 2 and Grade 3 packs?

No, it's not necessary to have passed the Grade 1 to buy the Grade 2 or Grade 3 pack. But you should wait until you've submitted your Grade 1 pieces and received feedback on them before submitting your Grade 2 and Grade 3 pieces. You'll learn a lot about the standards we require from our Diploma students once your Grade 1 pieces have been evaluated. This learning should be applied to your Grade 2 and 3 pieces as we expect you to maintain the standards you achieved at Grade 1 and build on these as you progress. If you're really keen you can buy all the Grades at once and work through them but do make sure you have an evaluation for Grade 1 before moving on.

Can I buy the Grade 2 or Grade 3 without doing the Grade 1?

You can buy the other Grades if you choose to but you will not be able to gain the full Diploma unless you've passed all four Grades. Also, each Grade builds on the one before so in the Grade 2 and Grade 3 DVDs and paperwork, we refer to things learned at the previous grades. Grade 1 contains all the basic skills and these are not repeated at the higher Grades. If you don't have the Grade 1 pack, you won't have access to this information and may struggle with some of the projects or with achieving the standards required.

What's in the MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Home Study Diploma packs?

The packs contain DVD's with all the skills and projects clearly demonstrated by Lisa Cain in a relaxed style. Slides and photographs help to explain the techniques. A CD of all the project tutorials, additional information and resources is in each pack. The full packs contain all the silver clay you'll need to complete the projects. This includes both Art Clay Silver 650 and PMC lump clay, sheet and paper clay and syringe appropriate to the Grade. You'll also get sterling silver wire, copper practice wire, stones, cabochons, findings, gold and the other materials you need like cork clay and two part moulding compound appropriate to the specific Grade. Each Grade includes a resources pack with everything you need to complete the projects including textures and cocktail sticks. Finally, all the course paperwork and vouchers for free kiln firing is included. For a full list of everything in each pack, see the individual Grade pages.

What do I need to provide myself?

You will need to have all these tools to complete the projects in all Grades. The course packs DO NOT CONTAIN THESE TOOLS:-

  • A clay roller
  • Spacers for rolling different thicknesses of clay – playing cards work well
  • Fine pointed metal tweezers for picking up gemstones or manoeuvring hot metal clay
  • A small plastic refillable spray bottle for water
  • Clay shaper
  • Palette knife - metal or plastic
  • Steel burnisher
  • Soft, large brass brush for brushing just-fired silver
  • Heatproof fire brick for firing – two will make sure you don’t burn worktops
  • Stainless steel mesh
  • Butane torch
  • Sanding pads, salon boards or nail files
  • Tissue blade
  • 3m polishing papers in multiple grits as fine as possible
  • Scalpel or craft knife
  • Wire cutter
  • Flat nose pliers
  • Chain nose pliers
  • Half round pliers
  • Round nose pliers
  • Needle File Set
  • Jewellers Saw Frame
  • Saw blades size 2/0
  • Wooden ring mandrel
  • Snips for solder
  • Bezel rocker
  • Rawhide or nylon mallet
  • Cross lock tweezers
  • Sanding pads
  • Needle tool
  • Hot plate – a table top electric hob works well
  • High quality, snug fitting gardening gloves – these will protect your hands when you are doing Keum-Boo
  • Agate burnisher – optional but good for Keum-Boo
  • Craft punches – to cut Keum-Boo foil
  • Fine paint brush specifically for painting gold
  • Small glasses or mugs used only for Liver of Sulphur
  • 3M standing pads in a variety of grits
  • Third hand tool – useful for holding pieces for soldering

The specific Home Study Grade pages have details about what tools are needed at each Grade

You can arrange to visit one of our MCSJ Diploma Support Centres to use their tools and facilities for a small fee. All the metal clay suppliers also sell these tools.

You'll also need access to a kiln for some of the projects at all Grades. Each Home Study Diploma pack contains vouchers for free kiln firing sessions from one of our MCSJ Diploma Support Centres or from us here at MCSJ. Call the Support Centre to arrange an appointment or to let them know you will be posting your pieces. You must make sure your work is carefully packed to avoid breakage. Your pieces will be returned fired and unpolished - allow 28 days for the return of your work.

What happens when I pass?

When you pass, you’ll receive feedback on your work plus the Certificate for the Grade, along with all your silver pieces, posted back to you.

What happens if I don’t pass?

If you don’t pass, you’ll receive feedback on the project(s) that need resubmission with details about what you need to do to meet the criteria. In some cases you may need to make the piece(s) again from scratch. We will not supply more metal clay for you to do this. You can either use any metal clay you had left from your projects – providing it is the right variety – or you can buy more from any of the metal clay suppliers in your country. Make sure that the metal clay you buy is the right kind for the project.

You are responsible for the costs of posting your work to AND from our offices via secure insured post.

You can resubmit pieces as many times as necessary until you pass.

I have other metal clay qualifications, do I need to start at Grade 1 to get the MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Diploma?

To gain the full MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Diploma you need to successfully complete all four Grades. The curriculum has been developed into its current form and includes working with both brands of silver metal clay and all varieties. The knowledge and skills gained at each Grade builds on the previous one so it’s essential that you follow all the Grades in order. We do not recognise any other metal clay qualification as a credit towards the MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Diploma.

What if I need help?

All the skills and techniques you need to pass the Silver Metal Clay Diploma are included on the DVDs in the Home Study pack. If you need extra help or advice, there are a number of ways you can get this.

You can always call or email us at MCSJ if you need help or advice. We also have a Facebook Group specifically for our Home Study students. This is a secret group so you won't find it by searching on Facebook. Membership of the Group is by invitation and full details of how to do this are included in the Home Study pack.

Alternatively, you can make an appointment with one of our MCSJ Diploma Support Centres if you have one near you. The Support Centres offer a variety of services to support Diploma students which they charge for. Please note these are not included in the price you paid for the Diploma Home Study pack.

One service you may want to use is a critique of your work before you send it in to us. All our Diploma Support Centres that offer this service have staff that have been through the Diploma and know the standards we're looking for. If you buy a critique session with one of them, they will advise you on any changes or amendments you need to make to bring your pieces up to our standards*.

The Diploma Support Centres are also authorised to run classes to support the skills, techniques and projects required for the Home Study Diploma. They will charge a fee for these classes and this is not included in the cost of the Home Study pack. All our Diploma Support Centres have voluntarily signed up to our Teaching Code of Practice which means you have peace of mind when choosing any training from them.

* Please note, a critique session with one of our Diploma Support Centres does not guarantee your pieces will pass the final evaluation. The Support Centre staff will give you guidance on the standard of your work and give you suggestions on how to rectify any problems. Final evaluation will be by Lisa Cain and her decision is final.

What is the return policy for the Home Study Diploma?

Please note that we DO NOT offer a refund on the Home Study kit. Due to the nature of the intellectual property contained on the DVD and CD, the Home Study cannot be returned. Your order is a firm commitment to buy and there is a very full and clear description of exactly what is included in each box as well as several clips to show the type of video quality contained on the DVD.

We will, however, replace faulty merchandise only when it is returned to us in original packaging.

Tell me more about MCSJ Diploma Support Centres

To support the MCSJ Silver Metal Clay Home Study Diploma, we’ve teamed up with a group of talented artists and teachers, all of whom have experienced the MCSJ Diploma first hand. Most of them are full Diploma holders, some are on the way to becoming full Diploma holders. Each of them has been through a rigorous application process to become authorised as a Diploma Support Centre. They are authorised to offer a number of services which support the Silver Metal Clay Home Study Diploma course. These Support Centres are dotted around the UK and also in several countries in Europe.

Support Centres staffed by full Diploma holders offer a range of services from kiln firing and open workshops to running classes supporting the skills and techniques required by Home Study students.

Our Support Centres staffed by people who are still working towards the full Diploma are authorised to offer kiln firing services and open workshop days for students to use their tools and facilities. As soon as they pass the full Diploma, they will be authorised to offer the complete range of services.

One of the things we’ve asked all our Support Centres to sign up to is a teaching Code of Practice. This Code aims to lay out some fundamental aspects of running a good class. It is a Code of Practice designed to improve teaching standards. We are not interested in prescribing what our Support Centres teach; instead we aim to provide an umbrella set of goals that all teachers would want to aspire to.

This provides students with peace of mind when choosing a teacher for their metal clay journey. When you choose a teacher who is part of our team, you can be sure they will provide a safe and supportive teaching environment and offer you value for money. If you have any problems, we have a Code of Practice Assurance Process.

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