Wednesday, February 3, 2016

My first attempt at Precious Metal Clay..and latest creations

Carol Dekle-Foss
I have always wanted to try precious metal clay, but I was under the impression that I couldn't fire it in my kiln sitter kiln. I was very happy to discover this is not the case! All I have to do is use cone 014. Easy! After I realized this, I immediately bought a pack of  PMC+ 45g to give it a try. So on top of practicing making rings in different sizes, I have also been playing with precious metal clay. Here are my latest creations over the past couple of weeks.

First, I have been obsessed with plain stacking rings and bands and have been wearing this set ever since I made them. 

I then decided to make a ring using the reticulated silver I made a few weeks ago. I tried to make it a size 9 but it ended up being size 10. Oops! Oh well, it's meant for someone! I listed in my Etsy shop here

The crescent moon and pleiades ring was made from precious metal clay and then soldered to a ring shank made from sterling silver crazy-8 half round wire from rio. I love this wire for ring shanks because it's super comfy to wear, sturdy and easy to use.
I was able to get more detail from the metal clay than if I had rolled sterling silver sheet through a rolling mill. The stars and moon are a bit more puffy and show up more after being polished. I learned quite a bit about metal clay making this ring. I also nailed the size as well. Win! I love how it turned out, and will be making more, but I want to set a tiny faceted gemstone in a stepped bezel in the top left hand corner. More techniques I have to learn! 

Here are some more precious metal clay pieces I was able to complete. 

After I finished the below piece I realized it had a tiny air bubble. I tried to fix it by sanding but it just made it worse. It looks like a little crater, and unfortunately it's not part of the design. Lesson learned! Porcelain gets air bubbles too, but at least you can somewhat cover them with glaze. Air bubbles in metal clay can wreck a piece!

These pieces are fired but still need to be brass brushed and tumbled.

Overall, I love working with precious metal clay.  I think the design possibilities are endless and it's fun to work with. What I don't love is the price. Holy moly it can be pricey. I would have to mark up my pieces quite high to make a profit. Hmm. I am still debating on what to do about that. I may give white copper clay or bronze a try, we'll see.

If you want to learn more about metal clay, there are tons of tutorials online and on Youtube. Our very own Staci makes beautiful pieces in metal clay and has done quite a few posts on Love My Art Jewelry. In fact, if you haven't read it yet, she recently tried steel clay and did a post here about her experience. And here's another post from her on white copper clay. Thank you Staci!

Never stop learning and growing!
Thank you for reading. 


mairedodd said...

beautiful pieces - can't believe they are your first try!

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

Wow - this is amazing to me!!! You are so inspiring! I promised myself last summer that I would start with PMC this year - I have everything I need...just need that little kick in the pants!

stacilouise said...

The air bubbles are usually over firing, it got too hot. and I LOVE that piece by the way- it made great texture!

silver clay was still by far my favorite of them all! so easy to work with. your pieces are wonderful. it will open a whole new world!

Carol Dekle said...

Thanks Maire, I was thinking about all the skills I have learned over the years while I was applying them to these finished pieces. Porcelain, metalwork, sandblasting, and now metal clay. All those skills went into these pieces. We are always growing, learning and if we are lucky, sharing:)

I'm glad I inspired you to work with PMC again Patti! I remember the post you did on testing the tubular tut, where you wrapped pmc around tubing. YOU inspired me! Ha! I think we keep doing that.

I will remember that Staci, maybe it was too close to the elements in the kiln? The pattern is trees with snow falling. Really pretty, so this piece is a work in progress. Yep, one of my favorite mediums to work with now too. With any luck silver prices will go down?? It's so silly to me collecting all that dust. lol

Karen M said...

This is too cool. You did great on your first try. Lovely!

Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio said...

This is so awesome and inspirational Carol! I do wonder too about hot spots and if the size of the kiln would matter - or maybe putting them with in a sagger type of setup to keep the heat a bit more even. You totally ROCK for trying this out!

I love the textures and designs of your work. Your skill and craftsmanship and eye for design really shine through! :)

Bijoux Gems Joy said...

Gorgeous pieces. Love them all. For that one piece can you turn that burnout crater into a moon? Probably worth a try. If all else fails recycle the silver. Cut it up and melt it into balls for stud earrings. :0)

Ann Schroeder said...

Your pieces are beautiful! The moon and tree pendants I like especially (and your stack of rings!) I love the look of bronze clay, so I hope you like working with it if you try it. It's certainly more affordable in the finished pieces!

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