Metal Clay Gallery and Blog

May-December 2009

May 2009 Matt gave me a precious metal ring making class for gradation. The class is June 21, 2009. I've known about PMC (precious metal clay) for many years and I've wanted to play with it since I first heard about it. Now I get the chance to do so. 
June 21, 2009

Zebra ring I made out of PMC 3 (that's precious metal clay silver) at the ring making class today. The black antiquing/patina on the ring is created by putting the ring in liver of sulfur after the ring is fired. Then the high spots on the ring are polished.


Bypass silver ring I made at the ring making class today. The stones set in it are cubic zirconia.


July 2, 2009

I wanted a class ring but I was not willing to pay the asking price. Also, I didn't think much of the styles being offered. So, I asked for the ring making class for graduation so I could learn to make rings out of metal clay and make my own class ring. I then bought a ring mold from Chase, bought my simulated birthstone and set out to make my own class ring. Here the ring sits on the ring mandrel while the clay dries. I made an oval mold from an other piece of jewelry I have. I will put the oval dome on top of the ring once the clay is leather hard (once it dries). I will put the stone in that oval dome and I will put the name of my school in the oval dome around the outside of the stone.  


I tried setting the stone in a pronged setting (which is seen in the second picture) but the prongs broke when I tried bending them to secure the stone. So, I snipped the couple prongs that did not break, I carefully put the stone in the setting and painted slip around the stone. Making sure the slip connected to the dome, I secured the stone to the domed top of the ring. I fired the ring for 2 hours. When it was cool I polished it, put it in liver of sulfur it turn it black and polished the high spots. Now the ring has an antiqued look. 




The silver PMC zebra ring I made for Matt, before firing.

Bronze clay ring with larger cubic zirconia set in the middle and a smaller one on each side. This is before firing. 


Bronze clay ring before firing. 



Silver ring after firing. 

Bronze ring after firing.

Bronze ring after firing.

July 23, 2009

2 disk power necklace from the front.

This was made using PMC 3 and fired for 2 hours in the kiln. The stone was set after firing. The stone is green quenched crackle quartz.


This is the back of the pendant. The lumps are where the prongs were attached. The prongs broke off several times so I had to put them back on and fire the piece again. It was frustrating but it finally held.

This is a close up of the green quenched crackle quartz. There are many little cracks in the stone. They are supposed to be there. That is what gives the stone the  crackle appearance. 

One of my classmates suggested I wear this pendant when I take the Bar because it would bring me good luck. 

8/30/2009 Today was the last day of the Bar. It lasted three days (July 28, 29 and 30, 2009). I wore the above 2 disk power necklace every day for the Bar. I don't know that it brought me good luck but I really like the necklace and I'm proud to say I made it so it made me feel confident. I'm not sure how I did on the test and I won't know until November 20, 2009 at 6 pm but I enjoyed the compliments I got on the necklace. 
August 2, 2009

I'm working on a bronze clay broach. I'm sculpting the moist clay with my rubber tipped clay sculptor. 

The other day I used wood and a scroll saw to cut a rough pattern for the broach. Then I pressed the wood pattern into polymer clay and cooked the clay in the oven. All seemed well until I pressed the bronze clay into the mold and the mold broke and flew across the room. I tried holding the broken pieces together and pressing the clay back in but that did not work either. In this picture, I'm working on plan B for this broach. Fortunately, it's August and I'm making it for Kathy's birthday in December. I have plenty of time to make this work.  

August 3, 2009

This ring is fine silver with a green quenched crackle quartz stone set in it. I made it to go with the two disk pendant with the green quenched crackle quartz stone I made back in July. I used PMC 3 (silver precious metal clay 3). I created all the dicks that make up the band and I stuck them together over a ring mandrel using slip. It was way more difficult to get all these disks to stay on the mandrel than I thought it would be, because when the clay was still wet, gravity pulled the disks on the bottom side of the mandrel apart from the rest of the disks. Eventually, I got all the disks to hold together. Then I made the little bands that appear to be holding the disks together. I applied the bands with slip too. I used the same bands to make the prongs for the stone. 

Firing - I fired the ring in my kiln for 2 hours. I did not fire the ring with the stone in place. When the ring was done being fired, I quenched it in water and proceeded to try setting the stone. The prongs broke off several times. So, I kept having to sand down the lump of metal left when the prong broke, apply a new prong with slip and fire the entire piece again. Finally, the prongs held and I set stone. Given all the trouble I had with the prongs, I had little faith in their ability to hold the stone so I put a dab of super glue on the bottom of the stone to hold it to the ring. 

October 24, 2009

Copper Clay Necklace with Lab Created Alexandrite StonesThis is he necklace I just finished for my Halloween costume. The metal pieces in the middle are two of the copper clay pieces I pulled out of the kiln the other morning. The stones in the clay are lab created Alexandrite that I purchased from Gem Resources. For the upper middle piece was formed using a mold from Mad About The chain is just jump rings I bought at JoAnne's. I bought the beads on the chain from JoAnne's as well. 

November 25, 2009 Is anxiously waiting for my stones to show up from Gem Resources. I ordered black onyx cabs and red garnet cabs for a power necklace I want to make for my friend Cindy. I hope the stones show up before we leave for Seattle. 

The stones were in the mail just before we left for Seattle. I was so excited that I packed up all my metal clay stuff and put it in the trunk of the Mustang so I can work on jewelry in Seattle. 

November 30, 2009 Had to scrap an entire pendant. Turns out firing bronze clay twice is no good. Hopefully I won't have the same trouble when I fire my copper clay ring a second time.

I'm referring to the bronze clay pendant/broach I've been making for Kathy for her birthday. 

December 10, 2009 Is looking for an affordable type k thermocouple that will actually withstand the max temperature it is supposed to read.

I found the type k thermocouple I was looking for on e-bay. $20 plus shipping, not bad. 

December 12, 2009 The alarm went off for the kiln. Now I just have to wait for it to cool down enough to reach in and pull my goodies out.

Just sifted a bunch of the copper pieces out of the charcoal. Everything but one broach looks good so far. This was plan b for the broach so I guess I better develop plan c.

The problem with the broach is; the center shrinks more than the outside so the center falls out. I'm pretty sure the way I created the outside keeps it from shrinking at the same rate as the center.

December 25, 2009 The other day, I fired the broach a second time. It still didn't turn out. The legs leading to the smoky quartz shrank and are not touching the center again. At least this time I was a little closer than the first time. I filled the gaps again and fired the broach again. (By the way, I didn't fire the stones in the broach.) 

Last night, after everyone left, I fired the broach for a third time. When it was done firing I propped the kiln door open with my favorite rock and went to bed. This morning when I woke up and pulled the broach out of the kiln and sifted the charcoal away. All the pieces are connected. I polished it and set the stone (smoky quartz around the outside and an oval rutilated quartz in the center). Then I wrapped up the broach because I'm giving it to Kathy today. (I wanted to give it to her for her birthday earlier in the month but it was not done on time.) I didn't even have time to photograph the broach before wrapping it up. So, I photographed it after Kathy unwrapped it. 

December 28, 2009 I just got my new thermocouple in the mail. I can't wait to try this one out. It's a K Type thermocouple like the one I already have but this one has ceramic covering the metal end that goes into the kiln. That means this one will withstand much higher temperatures than the one I already have.
December 30, 2009 I started making a leopard print thimble and leopard print ring out of copper clay. One day I want to make an enameled leopard print thimble and enameled leopard print ring. I need the enameling stuff first though. For the time being, I'll just make these out of copper clay and either add enamel when I get it or make new ones and enamel them once I get the enameling stuff. 

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