Thursday, September 1, 2011

From Inauspicious Beginnings..

It doesn't look like much...

but just wait....

you won't believe what you can do with it!

I was especially fortunate this week; I had the pleasure of taking a "Silver Evenings" class with Rosemary Gould.

Rosemary is an incredible artist and teacher - we had a great time learning to work with PMC or Precious Metal Clay.

PMC looks like clay and is formed of very small particles of silver suspended in an organic binder, it's easily rolled:

Or cut into shapes:

Or formed into shapes or given texture.

On our first night, we made a charm. This taught us a lot about handling the clay, adding textures and "appliqueing" to pieces together. When we had the charm formed, it went on a mug warmer to dry.

Next comes the exciting part - transforming clay to silver - it made me feel like quite the alchemist!

We used a small butane torch, first the binder burns off, with a blue glow:

When it glows bright pink, the countdown begins - two minutes:

Then a quick cold water bath, a bit of work with a wire brush and voila! A charm!

Not perfect, but not bad for a first attempt and I'm really looking forward to night #2.

I even did my homework, rough sketching some possible designs for a pendant. I actually ended up with a couple dozen sketches, but this is the one I decided to attempt to create - very freeform and a definite emphasis on texture.

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised that my final result has little resemblance to my sketch - but there's still a lot of emphasis on texture, here it is before torching:

And after:

I see so many possibilities with this technique, so many ways it can enhance my bead work, giving me the ability to form just the exact focal or accent piece for whatever I'm trying to create - more to come I'm sure - thanks Rosemary!

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