Friday, July 19, 2013

Finally, Precious Metal Clay

It's been more than a week since I took a class in precious metal clay at the Adirondack Folk School, but I'm finally going to share what I did with you.

This asymmetrical pair of earrings (above) wasn't originally intended that way.  I meant to drill one hole in each earring, for the wire, but I put two holes in one and none in the other.  When I discovered my mistake, a made a hole in the second piece, but forgot that I had made TWO holes in the first one!  So I dangled an extra crystal from the one with the extra hole, and I actually really like the asymmetry. These earring were made at the last minute from the last tidbits of PMC (precious metal clay) I had left in my pack.  I had to hurry to complete them so they could be in time for firing.  Hence, my drilling mistake.

 I tried photographing this pair on so many different pieces of fabric, so you could see the lovely amethyst color of the crystals and seed beads.  But the purple hues just keep looking blue in these photos.  Sigh.  These teardrop shapes were actually the very first pieces I made in the class.  Hence their imperfections!
 We made a ring pretty early in the class, because they needed more firing time.  So I didn't have a clear plan.  I changed my textures about 6 times, and then rushed to put something on the ring.  The little holes were a quickie thing, and if I had time I would have wiped them out and redone the spirals.  But I did not have time.  Next time I will have a plan of how I want it to look so it isn't so lumpy and inconsistent looking.  Anyhow, I'm still proud of my very first handmade silver ring, and I especially love the floral texture on the back of the band.
 What fun!  We went outside and grabbed leaves to use as textures.  I'm pretty happy with the way these turned out, though I plan to make some alterations to the strand of green seed beads.  I don't like the way they hang and I think I can make them better. 
 I think this pair with the paisley textures might be my favorite, though I may change the way they hang from the ear wire to make them a tiny bit longer.  They look like something from India to me, and I love the way the little triangles swing on the big ones. 
I need to tell you, I had absolutely NO idea what this stuff was before the class, and doubted that it was 'real' silver.  Well, I was wrong.  It is most definitely real, 99% pure. No wonder the materials fee for the class was so expensive!!  But worth every dime.  I seriously love precious metal clay!  Now that I understand the properties of the material, I have some great quirky ideas of what I'd like to do with it, but I have to wait until the fall when the teacher has more classes open.  I don't have a kiln and even if I could get someone to fire my work for me, the material is expensive and I'd rather work under the supervision of the teacher for advice when I'm not sure the best approach to one of my ideas. 

Have you ever used precious metal clay? 


  1. This is a new medium to me -- looks like great fun. You made quite a few pieces -- how long was the class?? I LOVE the leaf earrings.

    1. Ah, I should have said that! The class was a full day - scheduled from 9:00-5:00, but we didn't actually leave until almost 6:30! We each started with what seemed like a tiny package of clay, but it was enough to make everything you see in these photos. Everything was fired and ready to burnish, make add findings, and take home by the time we left, which included time to help the teacher pack her car full of stuff. I was probably the only person who did not assemble my jewelry there- the teacher provided silver ear wires for sale at $2 a pair, and I knew I already had some at home, plus I wanted to add some beads, so instead I helped some people assemble who had never opened a jump ring and were feeling challenged by the assembly, Ann I put mine together that evening. There were maybe 8 or 10 of us in the class, one man and the rest women, some from a much greater distance than me, including one who was taking the class for a second time to get more experience.

      Look around your area for someone offering a class -I'm sure you'll love it!

  2. You did all this in one class? Wow!

    I love the leaves and the ring. Can you imagine - designing your own wedding bands?

    1. Rina, as I said above, it may have been just one class, but we were there 9-1/2 hours and just broke maybe 1/2 hour for lunch. Obviously there was demo time for each process and about the material in general, but the bulk of the class was hands-on.

      The material is really suited to taking intricate and delicate texture, which I didn't know going in, and the teacher had a massive assortment of texture plates, textured wallpapers, rubber stamps, and more. Just about the ONLY thing she didn't have was a dragonfly stamp! I'll have to find one for next time....

      And yes, you could absolutely design wedding bands, and there is pre ions metal clay in other metals so if you could afford it, you could design gold bands or bands with a gold surface.

      The teacher also demonstrated making barrel beads/tube beads, but I don't think anyone actually had the time to make some. And besides, I was out of clay by that point!

  3. These are beautiful! I'm add the ideas of this class to my bucket list. Maybe there will be one in my area! Was it a small glass kiln for firing or a standard kiln?

  4. Um, WOW! You are so funny, Phyl, with all of your self-depracating comments! Each piece you made is absolutely gorgeous!


  5. Beautiful pieces! I have seen pieces made from this material before and i am very intrigued by it! would love to use it! :)

  6. I love PMC! It is so much fun! I've taken a few classes on how to use it and always love it. Your pieces look great too!