Updated: Oct 24, 2020
Recently the product called PMC, or Precious Metal Clay, came into my world. This is a clay product which is easily worked, carved, textured, and shaped, and once fired results in a pure silver piece of art. (I use PMC that is .999 silver, but it is also available in .925 sterling silver, gold, bronze and copper).
So now I can make my own focal beads that are pure silver and design around them.
Metal clay is made from powdered metal mixed with water and a substance called "methyl cellulose." Methyl cellulose may sound like a nasty chemical, but it's actually made from the cell walls of green plants. It's an organic ingredient used in food additives and is non-allergic, non-toxic and perfectly safe to work with.
PMC Silver comes in several forms. The mostly widely used is the clay form, which can be modeled, textured, cut, shaped, and pushed and pulled into any design you can imagine. It also comes in a syringe for creating fine lines and paste and paper forms.
I started out using a butane torch for firing the clay and once I realized I would like to continue exploring this new artform I purchased a kiln that is designed for firing PMC and lampwork glass. I am able to control the firing process based on the items being fired.
So far, I have focused on making focal pendants to add to a beaded rope and for earrings, or to see for the buyer to add their own chain or rope. My next project will be working with Lampwork glass and incorporating it into a silver pendant. Lampwork glass can withstand the high firing temperatures which most gemstones cannot. I have also used cubic zirconia and man-made stones to incorporate into my pieces, as they can withstand the heat of the kiln.
This is a work in progress … so stay tuned.