First experience using Art Clay Silver and Precious Metal Clay

It would be very much excellent if I could tell you that my first experience working with Art Clay Silver and Precious Metal Clay was a piece of cake like I frankly expected it to be. That'd be a lie, though, so I'll write candidly for a minute. There were moments when I worked with this substance and thought it was the most horrible experience I'd ever encountered. Creatively speaking, that is. I've worked through much of that, in large part because of the laughter that surrounded me as 6 artistic friends and I attempted to conquer this tricky little substance, so let me tell you a little about it.

mwpmccharms001.jpgFirst, I've looked forward to working with this material, PMC3 and Art Clay 650 (two brand names of a similar product,) which is manipulated like clay but is actually composed of fine metal particles (you can get it in gold, too, see...) held together by a "bonding agent" we're not really quite sure about. But that bonding agent burns out in the firing and what you're left with is a fine silver piece of jewelry.

The end result I find glorious and amazing. Take a look at a gallery of work on the PMC Guild's website to see why I'm so enthralled by the idea of working with it myself. The results I see just boggle my mind, and since I have a healthy background in working with actual clay, I figured it wouldn't be that different.

Here is where I think I anticipated wrong:

  • I'm accustomed to working with large quantities of clay, which is a much more economical material. Tonight's pieces were very, very small and that threw me off.
  • When working with larger pieces, it's easier for me to embellish them in many ways during the forming stage. With my still admittedly very minimal experience with Precious Metal Clay, this was difficult and I think it's going to be best for me to use pre-formed stamps in future.
  • That requires getting out the polymer clay and making more stamps as I'm not that thrilled with what I have to choose from. The stamps I've made in the past have been geared toward larger pieces.
  • The learning curve in general. It just handled differently and I need to spend more time with it.
  • With all those challenges, I suddenly put pressure on myself to achieve in a way I usually don't.

So did I make anything? you may ask. Yes, I did. I want to make very small silver charms to add to my jewelry designs and so after I ruined the first one, I started over and made a wonky little piece that's, well, about the size of a standard charm. Hold up...might as well scan it for you. I'll insert the photo somewhere in this entry when it's ready, if it turns out okay. I'm a little sleepy to be spending this much time on a piece, but it's just so interesting, faux pas and all!

I already own two books that cover the process thoroughly but I discovered another one I simply must have one day. Not this day, since I haven't mastered what's in these other books. But "one of the Karens" (the one who looked over at my messy workspace near the end of my struggle to get the moisture content under control and declared, "And I thought MINE was bad!" leaving me for two seconds to think she'd just insulted my sad little charm rather than my workspace. Oh the laughter,) got this one for Christmas and it's just wonderful. I'll share more about the book later. You know I wrote down the title and ISBN and author and stuff. But I'm getting really sleepy and just reminded myself that I need to leave the house by 7:30 tomorrow morning. Oh and please God don't let me forget to return the call of the gentleman who left the message about the possibility of having me do a new website, just before I left for our PMC workshop. Maybe that can be done later in the morning and too much time won't have passed.

Maybe sleep is exactly what's needed to clear the fog from my head. You think? :) Good night!