Thursday, November 10, 2011

Precious metal clay and me...and spontaneous combustion

Recently, I've been on a jewelry experimental kick. I will master every jewelry technique if it kills me. And it probably will. After so much sweat, tears, more tears and then a few more tears thrown in, I finally have my newest piece of precious metal clay jewelry up on Etsy. I am totally in love with it and I'm going to make one for myself. It's a sweet little bird with a heart on it's wing.
About precious metal clay:
First you sculpt whatever it is you want to make with your clay (it's just like real clay, except that it dries so fast so you have to work super duper fast!). Then when it dries you can file it further and smooth it out. Then you wait for it to totally dry and then kiln or torch fire it. Metal clay is fine silver mixed with an organic binder that burns of when you fire it. So, when you fire it, you are left with .999 fine silver, which is a higher silver content than sterling silver. And you can't have something that is sterling silver plated, I just have to tell you that, don't be fooled!


I use pmc 3, which is a low-fire metal clay. I have a torch and a kiln. I got a kiln from my in-laws last Christmas. I don't have the greatest luck with the torch, but I love the kiln. The torch also gets used up so quickly. I think I fired three pieces with my torch before it was empty. But, also I spilled lots of butane on my hands and jeans when I filled it up, oops. I was happy to not have spontaneously combusted.

14 comments:

  1. Really neat. I had never heard of metal clay. Love the little heart on the bird!

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  2. Thanks! It's a fun medium to work in, so many things you can do with it. You can make round 3d objects, or you can do rolled out flat pieces. I like the versatility.

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  3. Michelle, this is gorgeous. It has just been added to my wish list. So gald to have found you via BYW.

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  4. So beautiful! I love danger for jewelry!

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  5. Thanks Leah, Lauren and Pamela! You guys are too sweet! I'll have to come by and take a look at your blog too then, Leah. :-)

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  6. It's beautiful! I esp love the heart. How long did it take you to create?

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  7. this is gorgeous...and your photos are amazing!
    so nice to meet up in chicago :)

    xo, juliette

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  8. I had no idea about metal clay before, so cool! Thanks for enlightening me.

    -- From a fellow BYW'er

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  9. i've always wondered about pmc! really great piece!

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  10. Thanks Juliette! It was great meeting you too!
    Thanks Rebekah and Tammie! It definitely takes some work getting used to working with it and a lot of wasted pieces, but it's worth it when you get it down!

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  11. Thanks Ada! I don't really know a time frame...I work on multiple pieces at once. But, I would say probably 30 mins to sculpt the piece to the way I wanted it, then it had to dry for 24 hours, then I spent a few more minutes filing it, then it had to sit in the kiln for about an hour. Then, I spent a few minutes brushing it. Then, I oxidized it and that had to sit for a few hours, then I had to sand it to bring out some of the silver. LAST, put the chain on (which I also hand oxidized), whew!

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