Thursday, May 24, 2012

Precious Metal Clay Class, Part I

I had my third class today, which was precious metal clay. I think I'm in love! I used to enjoy working with clay as a child, so I feel as if I'm getting to play.

What's nice about working with PMC is that there's so much freedom. You can create almost anything, it seems. The teacher was showing us all of the molds and textures that we can work with, and it was almost overwhelming to realize all of the possibilities. The instructor showed us how to make our own molds or textured designs and shared stories about projects that her other students had completed. One covered a beetle in slurry and clay, fired it up ... and had a silver beetle. Interesting, but I think I'll skip that one!

The only downside to PMC is that it's expensive! It is silver, after all, and a few ounces of it costs $57 USD. Crazy! I have some at home -- I purchased a kit a few years ago and never opened it -- so I finally took out the clay. I couldn't believe how little an amount there is. You can make maybe one or two things with it.

Still, what's great is that if you mess up, you can roll the clay back up and start over. If the clay dries out, you can add water and make it soft again. I like being able to do a trial run on designs without having to waste metal or wire.

I practiced making some piece, but I still need to get the hang of making my own mold. As always, I want to make as much as I can so I'd rather design my own textures than use ready-made ones. So I carved an intricate design into a bar of soap and rolled the clay on top. Unfortunately, I carved a little too deeply so the clay got stuck in the crevices. I tried again by just lightly scratching a design on the surface, and this time it worked -- I got a nice textured pattern onto the clay.

I don't think I like working with soap, though. She said that she likes Ivory soap because it's flat, but it's really not; plus, it has "Ivory" carved into it, which takes up a lot of space. I'm going to try some other surfaces, maybe a piece of wax, to see what works best.

Our teacher said that a lot of jewelry designers look down on metal clay because they think it's too "arts and crafts-y." I think that's ridiculous. Every medium has its place and if you're making beautiful creations, that's what really matters.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs.

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