A few weeks back, I finally got to take a basics class in PMC (or precious metal clay.) I had been wanting to try it out for a long time, but it's not the cheapest of materials to just play around with and figure out on your own.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect going in and I certainly learned a few things. There were two ladies, myself and Mandy, the instructor at A World of Beads. We all got a tiny little packet (25g) of clay and once Mandy explained how to use the playing cards, roller, rubber stamps, various fondant cutters (like mini cookie cutters) we were allowed to open the packets! The clay sort of reminded me of kneaded eraser. There was a lot of rolling it out, trying out shapes and textures, re-rolling it out and, of course, keeping it moist.
I think the most important thing to remember about PMC is that it seems to lend itself to the more organic shapes and textures. I really enjoyed learning a little bit about it and I ended up with a few really pretty pieces. I can't wait to get another packet and try my hand at it on my own.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera with me to the class, so the photos below were taken after the pieces were fired and tumbled and polished. This was also my first attempt at using my new light box and I need to work with it a bit more...
First, Lucy had to check out the new light box.
A few of the new pieces. The smaller ones are around the size of a dime.
Mandy covered many things in the class, such as making and adding bails to pieces to create pendants.
I also learned that most natural stones can't survive the kiln firing process. I was a little disappointed to hear that. I had visions of setting stones, but, it turns out you can add bezels prior to firing and then set stones in them. Or, you can use dichroic glass, which is a heat tolerant fused glass. I wanted to try as many different techniques with an instructor. This one ran the gamut! I added texture, made a bail and attached it, fashioned a bezel and set a piece of dichroic glass.
This last one is a pair of earrings that I created for my neighbor. Over the summer, she and her family had gone on a beach vacation and she brought me back a baggie full of shells that she had collected. She thought I could use them in some of my jewelry creations. (I love that idea.) I ended up using one to make impressions in two small ovals of clay and then added tiny aquamarine rounds and handmade earwires to finish them. She loved them and I think she was surprised to have the shells used that way. (I still intend to use the shells themselves in the future!)