I took a PMC (pre­cious met­al clay) work­shop with Mered­ith Arnold last week­end.

It took about 8 hours to make these four pieces in a class room. They are con­struc­tion sam­ples so fin­ish qual­i­ty is low.

PMC is nice to work with. The tools can be very sim­ple and it real­ly does work like mod­el­ing clay. (Though I’ve nev­er been so care­ful to cor­ral all the scraps of mod­el­ing clay.) A good qual­i­ty fin­ish takes work from the begin­ning and prob­a­bly would have dou­bled the time tak­en for each piece. Maybe tripled for the embed­ded glass one.

You can fire pieces made only of the sil­ver using a torch or propane fir­ing cone but to fire pieces with glass (or syn­thet­ic stones, or forms) in them you have to have a kiln.

The mate­r­i­al is expen­sive and the fir­ing is a prob­lem because i don’t want to spend $400 on a kiln just yet.

I’ll do more of this but not right now.

A sim­ple die stamped piece:

I made this using the rub­ber stamp that pro­vid­ed the orig­i­nal ver­sion of the Black Dog Farm logo.

our logo in fine silver
our logo in fine silver

It was fired, wire brushed, and giv­en a short tum­ble with shot. At this mag­ni­fi­ca­tion (about 3X) and in the glar­ing sun­light the rough fin­ish shows. (and i think that’s cat hair…)

A lay­ered charm:

Cut with canape cut­ters. Attached with slip. The holes are hard to get smooth on both sides.

moon charm
moon charm

There’s a lump on the back that is result of get­ting air trapped in the clay while rolling it out. I was in too much of a hurry.

lump from an air bubble
lump from an air bubble

Fil­i­gree wrapped glass bead

This is a 38″ blue glass bead that I wrapped in sil­ver paste squeezed from a syringe.

pretty blue bead with silver filigree
pret­ty blue bead with sil­ver filigree

Work­ing with this fine a tip is hard but with prac­tice the results could be quite pret­ty. You can also make hol­low beads by using a form mate­r­i­al that will burn out.

Glass beads and cabo­chon embed­ded in silver

There are three green glass beads and a diachron­ic glass cabochon.

leave pin
leaf pin

I think the sil­ver is too built up. I did some carv­ing to get bet­ter relief but not near­ly enough. As the clay dries it hits a sweet spot where carv­ing is easy and enjoy­able. So this could be real­ly nice.

About the Author

Lara Harriger