Wednesday, September 26, 2012


For the last year I've been taking classes with Carleen Birnes learning how to work with PMC, Precious Metal Clay.  I have to say that I'm totally in love with the stuff!  I feel like an alchemist.  I have a lump of clay, I work with it using stamps or molds, it dries and I smooth out some of the roughness, and then it goes into the kiln.  It's what happens when it comes out that amazes me!  Carleen hands me the piece, or pieces that I've worked on in the clay state and they are chalky white.  But, once I start using a brass bristle brush on them they become fine silver!!  I'm always amazed!  Of course, there are some pros and cons to PMC.  The pros are that you can create in silver without having many metal working skills, and you have fine silver jewelry that can be finished with the same techniques that are used in metal work.  That is a great benefit to PMC.  The cons are the cost and the fact that, while you can use a torch to fire it, the strongest pieces are fired in a kiln.  The cost is based on the fact that the product has fine silver particles embedded in the clay and silver is expensive.  There are now copper clays and bronze clays which are much cheaper, but to use them you really need a kiln.  Since I don't have a kiln I've limited myself to classes.  I'm going to try using a torch for small pieces and see how it works out. 

But, I've loved what I've made in Carleen's classes.  Here are the pieces I've made so far.

The first class

Making rings was a fun class.

The pendant was made with left over clay from the ring.

We made charms or links in the next class.

I've loved each piece I made and the bracelet and ring are my favorites.   The ring is rustic just the way I wanted it to look and the bracelet was such fun.  I joined all my links together when I got home and used crystals as dangles from in between the links.  It became my go to bracelet this summer. 

I took a class a few weeks ago using the bronze clay.  I really like the bronze clay, but it is trickier to fire. 

I don't know where my adventure with PMC will lead me.  I really enjoy working with it and I intend to continue.  It opened up a new path in jewelry making for me and I hope to follow the path and enjoy the journey! 

Thank you for visiting today.  I'll be back Saturday with my Sequintastic Blog Hop entry.  Stop by and see what I've come up with!


  1. I am a silversmith and have wanted to try PMC for a long time, looking at your pieces may be the push I need, they are stunning.Great job!

  2. I am drooling over your pieces!!! Drooling!! You did a fabulous job! This is what I want to try next!!!! So excited for you

  3. WOw! I love all these pieces, but I'm drooling over that bracelet! gorgeous! It was great to see you last week Maryanne!!!

  4. Carleen is a great teacher. I took a class on PMC pendants with her at Maryland Hall two years ago.

    I love the charm bracelet you made, Z. The organic and leaf shapes contrast well with the more linear and mechanical-looking ones.


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