You got that right, Webster!
|Spoils of the Foray|
Precious? That all depends. Talking about the price? Then, Yes!
I've worked with BronzClay before, but when I ordered
my first PMC3 (fine silver) - a 25 gram package was $51.85
and that was the best price I could find at the time. I ordered it from Cool Tools.
Right now, that same teeny, tiny package is up to $63.13 at Cool Tools.
Rio Grande is selling the same package for $71.43. Sometimes I really
like the prices at RioGrande (and I order a lot from them) - however in cases like this,
I just don't understand such a huge price difference. It really pays (pun $ intended) to price shop.
But I digress.
I ordered this package back in July and just now got the courage to use it.
I was a wreck. Plus, I mostly created a wreck.
There was something about knowing how expensive it is that made me crazy.
And I went into it with no real plan about what I was making. I just
knew I didn't want it to be a cliche. So I focused on making a few
components with half of the package. I found some tiny 'sticks' outside to use for some texture.
On other pieces, I used shells for texture. When I finished, I knew that
Kathy Van Kleeck's work had made a big influence on my pieces.
But her pieces are gorgeous...mine were the result of terror.
|Prior to 1st Firing - half of the package|
I did a lot of research prior to ordering this clay. And I did a lot of research
before I got up the nerve to open the package. However, what I missed
along the line somewhere was that when fired, this was going
to be 99.9% pure silver. ie: it will not be stiff if it is a long, thin piece.
After firing for 3 hours - (one hour to ramp to 1650°) and two hours held at 1650°
I could bend the long piece with my hands. I had let the pieces
cool down in the kiln. I tumbled the pieces
and used a leather mallet on the long one and it helped a lot.
|LOS patina and brush texture added|
The small pieces were quite hard (sintered) and apparently the long one was too.
But as an experiment, I re-fired & took the pieces out immediately after the firing finished.
It had the same results. The small pieces were hard, just as the first time...the long one could
be bent with my hands...easily. Perhaps I just have super human strength as
suggested by my lovely daughter. :)
Instead of letting the rest of the clay get hard in the package, I made
more components - made them round & larger & used a large portion of
the clay to make a ring. Online directions told me to make the ring 2 sizes larger
than what I wanted. So I did. And allowing for the shrinkage rate (12-15%)
I made the ring wider than I wanted it. Another lesson learned. The ring
did shrink in ring size, but the width of the band did not. So the ring is
I used part of an old shell for texture on the ring and added
three tiny balls to represent sand. Also, it shrunk more than I thought it
would in ring size.
but I did manage to increase that with a ring mandrel and leather mallet.
It fits me now. I may end up using it as a component anyway....instead of a ring.
|25 Grams of PMC3 and one Penny|
So there you have it.
25 Grams = 1 Long Pendant (2.5 inches), 11 Component Disks and 1 Ring
I'm glad I tried PMC3, but it'll have to come down a LOT in price
before I try it again.
Big thanks go out to the people who answered my emails
Bottom line: PMC3 is Fine Silver and will fire soft if it is too thin.
Some say that's part of its charm. I say maybe Sterling Silver Clay next time. ;)