If someone asked me to choose one new jewelry medium to learn, no matter what the expense, it would be a toss up, I think between lampworking and precious metal clay...both require extensive tools, kilns, materials. Since I torch-fire enamel, I happen to have some of the supplies needed for lampwork...torch, mandrels, glass rods, but no kiln. I took a class ages ago and pick a glass rod up occasionally when I am sitting at my enameling station and make the odd bead here and there. But since I have no kiln, it really isn't feasible for me to invest much time in that.
I figured precious metal clay would be out of the question as well, but, lo and behold I discovered PMC3, which can be cured with a torch...no kiln!
I wanted to try it, but it took some gumption! This stuff is not cheap. I finally dove in after getting a newsletter from a site that was offering a free texture sheet with any purchase. I splurged on a 16g package..not the smallest, but definitely not a huge amount!
|The meager contents - 16g|
I chose a small mold I had made for my polymer clay and made 2 small pieces. Boy, this stuff is sticky...I know there is a special cream to keep it from sticking to your hands....if I keep at it, I will have to get some. I used just a tad of olive oil like the videos suggested. I went ahead and put small holes in the pieces, them left them to dry.
Here they are all dried out...now is the time to sand them or clean them up in any way.
Since these pieces were small, they didn't take very long to sinter at all. The binder burns off really quickly, then you need to hold the piece at a glowing pink, but not glassy, for about 2 minutes. After that, quench in cold water. The pieces will be a matte, white color at this point, but after buffing/polishing with a brass brush, this is what you will get:
|Bright and Shiny!|
|After drying and about to be torched!|
|All cleaned up and patina'ed!|
These 4 pieces took about 2/3 of that chunk of clay shown earlier, so that amount is just enough for someone to decide it really isn't the medium for them, or really open new doors for a designer. In my case, I was really happy with how these turned out and want to buy more clay so I can play some more, at least until something new catches my fancy!