Clay’s Fascinating Cousin: A Glimpse into the World of Precious Metal Clay

Precious metal clay (PMC) is a pretty intriguing material. I had heard about it over the years but had never really looked into it until recently. Developed in the early 1990s in Japan, precious metal clay consists of microscopic particles of pure silver or fine gold powder and a water-soluble, non-toxic, organic binder which burns off during firing. Compared with the types of clay that we all use, metal clay is in its infancy, and it’s exciting to think about the possibilities of this material (especially when it gets into the hands of the creative CAD readership!).

 

So we set out to find some videos for you and found a an extremely thorough and well-produced set of instructional DVDs on the subject. Today we are presenting an excerpt from that set. In this clip, Hattie Sanderson, a certified PMC instructor, explains the basic PMC tools and lingo, and presents an introductory earring project. Have a look and see if you’d like to get to know clay’s cousin a little better. – Jennifer Harnetty, editor.

 

[flash http://www.ceramicartdaily.net/movie/pmc1.flv f={image=/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/pmc1_still.jpg}]

This clip was excerpted from Contemporary Metal Clay 1: Fundamental Tools and Techniques, which is available in the Ceramic Arts Daily Bookstore.

 

Comments
  • Wow! I can’t wait to try this out! Fascinating video and process! I make jewelry and it is a lot harder to manage..a bit heavier for earrings. Thanks!

  • Wow! I can’t wait to try this out! Fascinating video and process! I make jewelry and it is a lot harder to manage..a bit heavier for earrings. Thanks!

  • I meant to say that I make “Raku” jewelry and it is a bit heavier for earrings! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I meant to say that I make “Raku” jewelry and it is a bit heavier for earrings! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Very interesting, I will have to try this, I think it is something I can definetely get into

  • Very interesting, I will have to try this, I think it is something I can definetely get into

  • At the risk of offending some people, I would like to address having PMC articles on this website. I have been very involved (for more years than I care to admit to) in art as well as craft making and and have seen PMC moving into many disciplines. This product, which is by the way an excellent medium, is appearing in every publication to which I subscribe regardless of it’s appropriateness. Just because the word “clay” is in it’s name, doesn’t mean it belongs in this venue. Think: polymer clay, air dry porcelain clay, bread dough clay. I have no problem with you marketing your products, it’s just that I come to this site to learn about pottery and ceramics. When I subscribe to magazines titled “Ceramics Monthly” and “Pottery Making Illustrated” I shouldn’t have to weave my way through articles and techniques about metal craft and glass slumping.

  • At the risk of offending some people, I would like to address having PMC articles on this website. I have been very involved (for more years than I care to admit to) in art as well as craft making and and have seen PMC moving into many disciplines. This product, which is by the way an excellent medium, is appearing in every publication to which I subscribe regardless of it’s appropriateness. Just because the word “clay” is in it’s name, doesn’t mean it belongs in this venue. Think: polymer clay, air dry porcelain clay, bread dough clay. I have no problem with you marketing your products, it’s just that I come to this site to learn about pottery and ceramics. When I subscribe to magazines titled “Ceramics Monthly” and “Pottery Making Illustrated” I shouldn’t have to weave my way through articles and techniques about metal craft and glass slumping.

  • Wonderful… thank you so much for sharing the Vid… I have been working in clay for 17 years and just recently tried out PMC and have had the best time!!!!! it’s a wonderful medium to switch to when your in the mood for something different… besides.. it’s shiny and who isn’t attracted to shiny objects! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing the information…. PMC is a fun type of CLAY to play with and many artist have created amazing work with it! I look forward to seeing more!

  • Wonderful… thank you so much for sharing the Vid… I have been working in clay for 17 years and just recently tried out PMC and have had the best time!!!!! it’s a wonderful medium to switch to when your in the mood for something different… besides.. it’s shiny and who isn’t attracted to shiny objects! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing the information…. PMC is a fun type of CLAY to play with and many artist have created amazing work with it! I look forward to seeing more!

  • I agree with Deborah and I cannot say it any better. Its entirely a different medium and should be separated as such.

  • I agree with Deborah and I cannot say it any better. Its entirely a different medium and should be separated as such.

  • PMC is a different medium that acts remarkable like low fire white clay. You can use the same tools and techniques that you do with hand building with regular clay. I find this article to be very relevant because I use PMC on my ceramics as decoration. In the clay form it can be fired on top of a glaze and turned into a pure silver decoration. Check out Noortje Meijerink work with PMC and Raku.

  • PMC is a different medium that acts remarkable like low fire white clay. You can use the same tools and techniques that you do with hand building with regular clay. I find this article to be very relevant because I use PMC on my ceramics as decoration. In the clay form it can be fired on top of a glaze and turned into a pure silver decoration. Check out Noortje Meijerink work with PMC and Raku.

  • Thanx for the article – watched with interest. However I agree with Deb. and Eunice as to the “true to nature” of CAD to be CLAY centered, as i have been doing pots and pottery 25 yrs. Have watched PMC from it’s entrance into our journals in mid 90’s…CM,PMI and Clay Times, plus my Lapidary Journal. Watching and wondering.Just recently considered the use of it since losing both ceramics and jewelry studios in the fires of 07 in the county. Rebuilding has been slow but getting there. Buying all at once is pricey so will stick to ceramics for now. PMC may ? fill a jewely need.

  • Thanx for the article – watched with interest. However I agree with Deb. and Eunice as to the “true to nature” of CAD to be CLAY centered, as i have been doing pots and pottery 25 yrs. Have watched PMC from it’s entrance into our journals in mid 90’s…CM,PMI and Clay Times, plus my Lapidary Journal. Watching and wondering.Just recently considered the use of it since losing both ceramics and jewelry studios in the fires of 07 in the county. Rebuilding has been slow but getting there. Buying all at once is pricey so will stick to ceramics for now. PMC may ? fill a jewely need.

  • Good gravy. Saying PMC doesn’t belong here is like saying paper towels don’t belong in a grocery store. You may be at the market for milk but will likely have to ‘weave your way’ through paper products anyway. Who knows, your memory might just be triggered to the fact someone said you were running low at home.

    When PMC first came out, I bought the beehive (?) kiln, supplies and books. I made several projects but just didn’t care for the process. I found it too easy (what a laugh). I now have my own ceramics and glass studio but moved the PMC to the closet because I didn’t think I would be interested ever again. However, this video piqued my interest and, like the paper towels aisle, I’m glad it did. I can see how I can integrate PMC into my fused glass pieces and then integrate those bi-media pieces into ceramics.

  • Good gravy. Saying PMC doesn’t belong here is like saying paper towels don’t belong in a grocery store. You may be at the market for milk but will likely have to ‘weave your way’ through paper products anyway. Who knows, your memory might just be triggered to the fact someone said you were running low at home.

    When PMC first came out, I bought the beehive (?) kiln, supplies and books. I made several projects but just didn’t care for the process. I found it too easy (what a laugh). I now have my own ceramics and glass studio but moved the PMC to the closet because I didn’t think I would be interested ever again. However, this video piqued my interest and, like the paper towels aisle, I’m glad it did. I can see how I can integrate PMC into my fused glass pieces and then integrate those bi-media pieces into ceramics.

  • As both a jeweler and a potter I am very happy to see this video! I have been wondering if I could get into PMC just using the electric kiln I already have, but wasn’t sure what cone it fires to. Can someone tell so I don’t waste my money buying the video? If it is possible then I will go ahead and purchase the video so I can go further with this!

  • As both a jeweler and a potter I am very happy to see this video! I have been wondering if I could get into PMC just using the electric kiln I already have, but wasn’t sure what cone it fires to. Can someone tell so I don’t waste my money buying the video? If it is possible then I will go ahead and purchase the video so I can go further with this!

  • Good question. I’ll try to get info on that as I need it also!

  • Good question. I’ll try to get info on that as I need it also!

  • I just remembered. You don’t necessarily need a kiln…you can use a little kitchen flame torch…the kind you use to crystalize sugar on the top of custard.

  • I just remembered. You don’t necessarily need a kiln…you can use a little kitchen flame torch…the kind you use to crystalize sugar on the top of custard.

  • Firing schedule as directed in “Introduction to Precious Metal Clay” by Mary Ann Devos:

    For PMC+:
    1650 (F) Hold 10 minutes
    1560 (F) Hold 20 min
    1470 (F) Hold 30 minutes

    If you include any glass in any form: changes are listed in book

    PMC3:

    1290/10 min
    1110/30 min

    PMC Standard:

    1650/2 hours

    So, as you can see, the answers are alllllll over the map. Way all over the map. But the good news is that we can now officially know we can use our kilns. If we’re talking about a full sized kiln, we’re talking about a lot of empty space unless someone has experience, or is willing to try, mixing media in the same firing.

    I’d truly suggest checking your local library for a copy of one of the many good books out there. The more current the better in terms of edition date because I have found the first few books, written just a few years ago, are outdated in terms of ideas now that people have experienced and stretch their wings with PMC.

    Good luck! Maybe we can find a place where we can spend a lot of time talking about mixing PMC with ceramics and/or fused glass!

    Take care,

    Sue
    BandonARTS

  • Firing schedule as directed in “Introduction to Precious Metal Clay” by Mary Ann Devos:

    For PMC+:
    1650 (F) Hold 10 minutes
    1560 (F) Hold 20 min
    1470 (F) Hold 30 minutes

    If you include any glass in any form: changes are listed in book

    PMC3:

    1290/10 min
    1110/30 min

    PMC Standard:

    1650/2 hours

    So, as you can see, the answers are alllllll over the map. Way all over the map. But the good news is that we can now officially know we can use our kilns. If we’re talking about a full sized kiln, we’re talking about a lot of empty space unless someone has experience, or is willing to try, mixing media in the same firing.

    I’d truly suggest checking your local library for a copy of one of the many good books out there. The more current the better in terms of edition date because I have found the first few books, written just a few years ago, are outdated in terms of ideas now that people have experienced and stretch their wings with PMC.

    Good luck! Maybe we can find a place where we can spend a lot of time talking about mixing PMC with ceramics and/or fused glass!

    Take care,

    Sue
    BandonARTS

  • One last comment. Hattie, who is highlighted in the aforementioned video, has always been on the cutting edge of PMC, its use and tools for making it easy for virtually anyone to be successful. I tried to save money by making my own tools…I’m still laughing about THAT one. But if you’re really interested, check out all the choices and give Hattie some serious consideration. I have no idea who she is nor have I ever met her, but money spent on her offerings has yet to be money wasted.

    Good luck, and yes, this is my LAST post on the topic!

    Take care,

    Sue
    BandonARTS

  • One last comment. Hattie, who is highlighted in the aforementioned video, has always been on the cutting edge of PMC, its use and tools for making it easy for virtually anyone to be successful. I tried to save money by making my own tools…I’m still laughing about THAT one. But if you’re really interested, check out all the choices and give Hattie some serious consideration. I have no idea who she is nor have I ever met her, but money spent on her offerings has yet to be money wasted.

    Good luck, and yes, this is my LAST post on the topic!

    Take care,

    Sue
    BandonARTS

  • Thank you for showing us this new technique even if it does not seem to be popular with most potters out there. There is always new students that are interested in new ideas or potters that would like to make a little change or just to make gifts for our family and friends.

    Questions : Where can we purchase the products, such as the metal clay?

    Thank you and keep on the good work, you can not please everyone.

    Joanne Leclerc

  • Thank you for showing us this new technique even if it does not seem to be popular with most potters out there. There is always new students that are interested in new ideas or potters that would like to make a little change or just to make gifts for our family and friends.

    Questions : Where can we purchase the products, such as the metal clay?

    Thank you and keep on the good work, you can not please everyone.

    Joanne Leclerc

  • I too am a potter, and have taken 2 levels of PMC Certification.
    I suppose getting the DVD would be a possible way to start, but there is nothing like a real workshop to begin. You don’t have to take full Certification (an entire 2 days), there are also mini projects also taught by Certified teachers that take a lot less time and money to get your “feet wet”. Check out this site http://pmcshop@pmcconnection.com/

    If you just want to purchase PMC, there are many places that sell it. Just Google PMC Precious Metal Clay.

    Gail Barnes Holthausen

  • I too am a potter, and have taken 2 levels of PMC Certification.
    I suppose getting the DVD would be a possible way to start, but there is nothing like a real workshop to begin. You don’t have to take full Certification (an entire 2 days), there are also mini projects also taught by Certified teachers that take a lot less time and money to get your “feet wet”. Check out this site http://pmcshop@pmcconnection.com/

    If you just want to purchase PMC, there are many places that sell it. Just Google PMC Precious Metal Clay.

    Gail Barnes Holthausen

  • One of the best sources is: http://www.riogrande.com (top notchjewelers supply). Catalogues are very instructive and one of specialists is Tim McCreight a top notch silversmith. Mary Jo, Highrock Pottery

  • One of the best sources is: http://www.riogrande.com (top notchjewelers supply). Catalogues are very instructive and one of specialists is Tim McCreight a top notch silversmith. Mary Jo, Highrock Pottery

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