Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Precious Metal Clay Class

This past Sunday I mentioned that I was taking a precious metal clay class.

I haven't really done that much jewelry making before (I've made a necklace and bracelet or two and one set of earrings) but I think this stuff could easily get me hooked on jewelry making.

It was so incredible to mush this clay around and end up with a gleaming piece of hard, solid silver. I didn't think it would be anything like glassblowing but it I got the same feeling that I would get from turing a drippy honey-like substance into a solid useable piece of glass.

Turns out PMC is a lot like polymer clay, in fact that's what we practiced with first.

Since PMC will dry out (and has a tendency to get that way if overworked) playing around with the polymer until you get the look you want helps to not waste the expensive clay.

The tools for the most part were simple items, rubber stamps and beads for impressions and textures. Craft knife, needle tool, tooth picks, water, olive oil, small rolling pin to work the clay cut it, and keep it from sticking to things.

First I tried a stamp of a fall leaf... since I love fall so much!

One it was fired and polished I gave this dark look with something called liver of sulfur (which smells remarkably like my pysanky egg that exploded... only not so strong). These will be earrings I think.

I made another set and I left it nice and shiny. These might be another pair as a gift.

I also made these little circles- so tiny, I used the pencil for scale.

Here's an action shot of me brush polishing one of them... they were so small it was hard to hold it still to brush.

And some dragon fly pendants... or maybe earrings, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet but the little dragon fly spoke to me. We're in the depths of a harsh New England winter and I'm longing for spring and summer again. In particular I've been missing kayaking, and I've never seen so many dragon flies before we started kayaking- they are everywhere!

Above is a look at a one I'd polished (right) and another I hadn't (left). See how white it is before polishing, didn't look a thing like silver! Below is one with liver of sulfur (left) and one without. I made 4 of these, I'm thinking a few might be gifts as well.

Last but not least... in the spirit of Valentine's Day I made these two pieces.

The little heart stamp (top photo) reminded me of a valentine, so I carved little lines on the back to make it into an envelope.

And on the heart bead, I carved the mister's and my initials into the back.

The downsides of PMC- it can be expensive... the pack of silver clay we worked with was $34 dollars and was really small... but I made all this from it, which was certainly more than I thought I'd get.

Also, to be fair that bead is solid silver. There are techniques to make a hollow silver bead which would have stretched the clay out even further.

I so glad I explored this medium and think I'll definitely be trying it again. So many new ideas for "next time" are already bouncing around in my head!

One last thing- Don't forget to enter my giveaway (if you haven't already). A box of assorted craft supplies for 8 different holidays.

It's open until the Monday January 31st- click here for details and to enter!


  1. It was so fun Jane, you should give it a try!

  2. Wow, so cool! I had no idea this kind of thing existed. Love the dragonflies!


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