Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Silver Experiment

Last year I wanted to give PMC clay a try. I asked for, and received, a PMC silver clay kit for Christmas. Nothing fancy, but enough to give it a go and experiment. But that little packet of clay was so intimidating, not to mention playing with the fire in that little "hot pot" kiln! And so the kit was stashed away at the bottom of my supply closet, to await a heroic moment when I'd get up the nerve to try.

That moment came this past Saturday morning, and with nerves of steel (and a cup of stronger than usual coffee, which is probably where the nerve came from!), I set it all up and then tried to think up what to make. I finally came up with the idea of making little keishi pearl shapes, small enough to keep the experiment easy, and more importantly, not using up all the precious clay in that little package...

Moments later I had ten little clay "keishi pearls" to fire. With more than a little fear I lit the fuel in the kiln and put the top on. About 10 minutes later the fire burned out, and giving a little time to let everything cool down I removed the top of the kiln, and there were my little "keishi pearls"...looking white and claylike! Nowhere in the directions did it say that they would look this way after firing, and I naturally thought that it didn't work. But I picked one up and with my fingernail, carefully scratched the surface of one and underneath... shiny, gleaming silver! :)

I don't have a tumbler so each piece had to be cleaned, burnished and polished by hand, and they're far from perfect. But I learned a great deal in the process, and the next attempt to make the fine silver "keishi pearls" that I'm aiming for will, I think, be much more successful. Next time I'll make them much smaller and lighter, as I made them overly large to compensate for shrinkage that turned out to be much less shrinkage than I anticipated. Overall, I'm just very happy that I finally gave it a try!

Here's my little silver "keishi pearls". Shiny on the outside, and left matte finish on the inside for texture:


mdk jewelry designs said...

I am soooo jealous! They are lovely. Beautiful! Silver Keishi Pearls. What a lovely idea for your first try.

I just found out that a ceramics place here is offering PMC classes. I will have to try out a class or two.

Great job. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

brandianndesigns said...

ooooooooooh awesome! great idea. i've toyed with this idea as well (silver clay) but decided i have enough new things to learn on my plate for now :)

MarDi said...

Thank you both!

It was fun, I highly recommend it to you. A class would be great, I'll have to look around my town to see if there's anything available.

I'm going to try my second set tomorrow and I feel much more confident going into it this time. :)

Thanks again for your comments! <3

Contrariwise said...

I've stayed away from PMC because I'm afraid I might get hooked.

And I spend FAR TOO MUCH $$$ on supplies for jewelry-making already. (Just ask my husband. lol)