10.20.2008

My First Attempt! (or second)

I started experimenting with pmc 2 months ago. It was a gift from my dad, who often finds a fun new project to try- and suprises his daughters with a little doo-dad or entire kit. Its amazingly generous and quite fun when that happens. This project was a kit and I was lucky enought to get a torch too, even though he knows I have a kiln.
PMC is precious metal clay. Its 99.9% fine silver particles set in a binder so that you can sculpt with it like clay. Once sculpted, you fire it either in a kiln or with a butane torch and the binder burns out. Its awesomely fun. I first made hearts for all my girlfriends back in August. That was my first attempt. But I had a time limit and they were all pretty straight forward. I learned how it felt to cut and sand the pmc then, and get a hang of the firing process.
Last night I made something new!
I had a little more freedom with my assignment this time. I wanted to make real butterfly wing impressions into the clay. I documented a few of the many steps that this medium requires.

This is the first step, where I sculpted the clay into a wing formation. I pressed this wing into the caly, and the fine butterfly wing powder stuck to it.
It looked gorgeous just as it was, but would be fired off. This is a photo of the five pendants I worked on. The clay dried really fast, so i had to keep dusting it with water while I was working with it. Once it dries, I sand and refine the piece even further. This is the step that I find most important, while its dry and before its fired. You can get a lot done in this stage. Once its fired, its real, solid silver, and is harder to then sand or alter.

Here is everything I sculpted on the fire brick. The left side is already torched/fired and the right side is thoroughly air-dried, waiting for its turn.

This is a photo from August, while I was firing the heart shaped pendants that I made. It's not generally safe to photograph and work a torch, so don't try that, ever.
Here are all the butterfly wing 'stamped' pendants just after they cooled off from the torch.

The next step is to take a wire brush and brush off the film from the binder that I burned out of it. Once you run the brush over it you can immediately see the silver shining through. You can later give it a high polish, patina, or other finishes if you want.

Here are the almost finished pendants! They just needed a jumpring, which i gave a hammered finish to, then strung onto a chain.

Here it is! My newest Butterfly Wing Imprint- Fine Silver Necklace. Im so happy with myself.

4 comments:

kim* said...

that's pretty cool---

Chris said...

Very neat! Looks like an interesting process, too.

Peter Holland said...

I really like this ideas of working with precious metal in a clay form, then firing to re-form as silver. It's like alchemy!

Debbie Gootter said...

That is awesome- you have come a long way in the few months since you started