Sunday, November 22, 2009

PMC Workshop in Tucson

The main purpose of my visit to Tucson last week was to take a 3 day workshop taught by Kate McKinnon involving making jewellery components out of precious metal clay. There were 10 students all together, some of whom, like myself, had worked with PMC before and had also taken classes with Kate. Some of the others didn't have any prior experience with PMC, although a couple were familiar with working with regular clay.

The top picture shows (from left to right) Robyn, Hannah, Karen, Baba, Kate and Andrea. In the photo on the right, you can see Kate with Debi and Heather. And here's a picture of Stefanie with various tools of the trade surrounding her.

PMC consists of fine silver particles suspended in clay. You shape pieces out of the clay and then fire them in a kiln. The high temperature of the kiln burns off the clay and leaves the silver. The fired piece can then be tumbled in a tumbler to leave it with a bright, shiny finish or a patina can be added to colour the silver. The picture on the right shows various pieces of formed clay made by Stefanie and myself, drying on a kiln shelf before they are fired in the kiln.

Here's a picture of a pair of earrings I made as they first appeared out of the kiln. The whitish colour is fine silver oxide. Once they are polished up, they look like this:

This last photo shows a flower ring I made, based on one of Kate's designs and using a flower bead made by Amy Waldman-Smith, in which the silver has been patinaed by dipping it in liver of sulphur. Pretty!


kate mckinnon said...

I just need to come in here to say that the whitish appearance of pieces out of the kiln is not binder residue; that all burns clean very early in the firing. What you are seeing is fine silver oxide.

Sharon said...

Cynthia, wow how beautiful they are. Such talent you have for sure. Sharon

Cynthia of Cynful Creations said...

Thanks Kate, I fixed it!