Friday, April 16, 2010

PMC Class

So besides taking a stained glass class this Winter, I also took a Precious Metal Clay (PMC) class at the Art Center. PMC is a medium I have been wanting to try for quite some time. It was very interesting and informative. We first worked with silver PMC3, which is the formula that does not require a kiln to fire it. It can be fired with a butane torch. I was happy about this because I have a butane torch, so if I ever wanted to try my hand at it again I would only need to find a tumbler if I wanted to achieve that super shiny finish. Below is the quarter size pendant I ended up with. It is hard to take photos of something that is so shiny and still get the detail. Even though our teacher had a brand new package of clay from a reputable supplier, this particular batch was a bit dry. It is tricky to work with and you can only "work" it or rehydrate it so many times before it is too late. This bird impression was from a rubber stamp. Although cute, it was not the first impression I choose but because the clay was getting so hard the original stamp I picked was not working. You can also see teeny tiny hairline markings on the surface - this was form the clay getting too dry. They are so small that you might not be able to see them (to correct them) before the piece is fired.

It was really cool to be able to fire it yourself and see the transformation. After it was fired, you had to take a wire brush to it to remove any residue, then burnish it, then pop it in the tumbler. I know you can also apply patinas to it, so I'll have to experiment with that.
For our next project, we were going to work with bronze clay. I felt that this was a bit easier to work with then the silver clay, however it does need a kiln to be fired. We were going to make a hollow bead by creating the 4 sides and then putting them together. I choose to do the pillow shape, one of the two shapes our teacher demonstrated. For my texture, I brought in this plastic peacock I got at the zoo. Ohhh, it looked so cool! But, unfortunately, something went awry in the kiln and all of our pieces did not turn out. Bummer!
Since our teacher had taken the hollow beads home to fire in her kiln, she felt just terrible that they didn't turn out. So she make us all similar pendants out of the bronze clay. She had a peacock feather stamp that she used for me.
Our last project was to make a mold for the bronze clay. We used a 2 part mold material, that you quickly mixed together with your hands and then pressed your object into. I did a little twig. It is not been fired yet, so this is what the bronze clay looks like once it has dried.
So, I know I didn't go into a lot of detail with the process, steps to make a piece, etc... I just basically wanted to share a summary. But I did learn a lot in the class and am glad that I finally got to try working with PMC.


TesoriTrovati said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I am intrigued by PMC. Took a ring class at Bead & Button last year. It was supposed to be a 3 hour class where we would walk out with a finished project. I went back later that night and worked for at least an hour more, but never got the chance to finish it. It is still sitting in my studio, without the pearl, without the tumbling slowly tarnishing. I like it, but that was disappointing.
I am trying it again this year in a class with Sherri Haab using both the Faux Bone and PMC to make pendants. I am hoping it goes better. Thanks for the glimpse. I love both charms!
Enjoy the day! Erin

Priestess~Harper said... Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Actually, you don't remove any residue after firing PMC ~ what you are actually doing with a wire brush is burnishing the silver, or basically flattening the exterior which produces the shiny surface. And PMC can be played with many, many times. If you find it is cracking and getting dry, leaving it with a few drops of water in some cellophane for a few mins will bring it back to usable quality.

Hope you haven't been put off using it though. It's a great medium to use. :)