A recurring joke of mine is that I’m going to come up with a series of books for people who are too busy/lazy/easily distracted to do things the traditional way. They’d all be entitled “The Lazy [enter specialty here]” Book number one would be The Lazy Metalsmith. The projects could be completed in an hour or less with a minimal amount of tools. I actually worked on this idea with my friend Cheryl, who has an actual degree in jewelry design from Tyler. I was thinking she’d lend credibility and devil’s advocacy to the project. We sat and drank margaritas one night, hammering out (ha! no pun intended) projects for the book. We started to research publishers. And then we never did anything more with it; I don’t even know where my notes are.
A symptom of The Lazy is not finishing big projects. That is why I do better with a smaller scale, like writing tutorials. So, I am pleased to announce that my first PMC tutorial, the Lentil Bead, is now available on my Tutorials page.
The September PMC workshops at Sparkles are on the schedule… Click here for details. I’m working on getting photos to post for the Box Pendant, so check back soon for those. Please note one change this time: I’ve asked Connie to collect the teaching fee when students register. We had a few no-shows in the last set of workshops, spots which people on the waiting list would have loved to have.Unfortunately, because of the new addition coming to our family, September will be my last set of PMC workshops for a while. What I am planning to do is write tutorials for the PMC techniques I teach so those of you who didn’t get to come in person can learn from detailed, step-by-step instructions.
Or catch-up, rather… I’ve been on the go a lot lately, finally had a whole week at home so I worked on getting special orders in the mail. Today I did a PMC pendant using a custom texture sheet, which gave me the idea of writing a tutorial. Keep bugging me for it if you’re interested; it’s a neat technique for texture addicts.
Updated: Tutorial now available here!
Last Thursday through Sunday was the bi-annual PMC Guild Conference at Purdue University. It was a time to come together with hundreds of other PMC artists from all over the world, learning and sharing ideas about this metal clay stuff. I was fortunate to get a ride from a couple ladies from MD & DE, and of course we spent the 12 hour trip in both directions talking about teaching and selling and working with metal clay, so that made it all the better.
You may have been to conferences before and seen attendees with their goody bags and hometown-bearing nametags. One thing notably different about this conference was how easy it was to strike up a conversation with a stranger simply because of the jewelry she was wearing. It was like jewelry was a social lubricant, an easy discussion topic (followed closely by people asking me, “Where in Virginia is THAT?”).
Another neat thing about the PMC Conference is that attenders are encouraged to make PMC charms to swap with each other. That is fun enough to see in itself, but this year they went a step farther and donated charms to create bracelets to raffle for charity. Well, from 380 people at the conference, an incredible 34 bracelets (!) were assembled from donated charms, and over $12,000 (!) was raised for the Cancer Society and Bone Marrow bank as a tribute to a PMC artist who had died waiting for a bone marrow transplant. Several of the raffle winners were cancer survivors themselves. I was so touched how this metal clay community dug deep and pulled together for something really meaningful.
Another thing that struck me about this conference is that conversations would skip over get-to-know-you stuff and dive right in with, “What do you think of the new Bronze Clay?” or “How long do you allot for a beginner class and what do you cover?” It was so great being in a place where everyone knew what it was like to be a jewelry artist and/or instructor, knew the right questions to ask, and had an opinion about different products.
Of course it’s going to take a while to decompress and process the information I gleaned, both from conference speakers and from conversations outside of the events themselves. I had a great time, but it’s good to be home.
There are still openings for the workshops next weekend in Newark, DE. Here is the schedule:
Friday, July 11, 1-4 Stone Setting (Intermediate)
Friday, July 11, 5-8 Pendant & Earrings (Beginner)
Saturday, July 12, 10-1 Charms (Beginner)
Saturday, July 12, 2-5 Leaves & Hollow Forms (Intermediate)
More information on workshops can be found here. I’m not sure when my next set of workshops will be (did I mention we’re having a baby?), so if you’re interested in learning about PMC, get in while you can! If you’re unable to come, please email me with what workshops you’d like to see on the schedule in the future. firstname.lastname@example.org
I look forward to seeing all you classy gals!
Hey, Silver Clay people! I’ve scheduled another set of PMC Workshops at Sparkles Bead Shop in July!
The lineup includes two beginner-level sections, a Stone Setting workshop for those of you who aren’t able to come this month, and a new workshop called Leaves & Hollow Forms. Yes, I know I need pictures but I kinda like keeping you in suspense.
Check out my PMC Workshops Page for more information.
I am selling my current PMC kiln, a Sierra 360. It runs on household current, can run a firing cycle on a regular countertop, and has a digital controller with preset metal clay programs. If you are interested in stone setting, fused glass, using glass cabochons with your PMC, batch firing, or hollow forms, a kiln is a great tool to have. You can read more about it here and here; the only difference is that mine has a little porthole instead of a window on the door.
I do want you to know that my kiln fires hot and cannot be used at the 1650°F setting. PMC+ and PMC3 can be fired just fine at 1470°F or below (see chart), and this includes all forms: lump clay, syringe, slip/paste, and paper/sheet, as well as ArtClay 650. The only clay that needs to be fired at 1650°F is PMC Standard/Original, and the temperature can be monitored with a pyrometer in that case.I am offering this one for $300, less than half of the retail price. Kilns are normally and expensive aquisition so this is a great way to get started kiln firing for less! If you live in Delaware I will bring it to Sparkles at the end of May so we don’t have to worry about shipping. If you live in northern Virginia, it is available for local pickup. Email me if you are interested, or if you live somewhere else and need a shipping quote.*Update: the kiln has sold – Thank you!*
I am really excited to see Connie and my Sparkles students again! Thanks so much to those of you who keep in touch; it warms my heart.
I made a PMC Workshops page so they didn’t take over my regular class page. I added class descriptions as well, so you can see what you’ll be working on. Please note that the schedule has changed a bit. If we need another section for beginners, we can add one earlier on Friday. Basic tool kits are required, but you only have to buy it once and you’ll be equipped to work with PMC at home. I’m still working on the price because I’m trying to source things, but I’m guessing around $30. Fire! I didn’t include a torch in the kit because some people may want to skip that and go straight to a kiln. Crazy! Ahem. (I am one of those people; I never torch-fired anything until my certification course – scandalous!) I will have a torch for firing in class, so you can make that decision later. You may even own a torch if you make Crème Brulée or if someone in your household does plumbing. I have yet to post the amount of clay needed for each different workshop. The price depends on the crazy silver market, so I’ll price it according to how much it is when I buy it, then update that web page so you know what to expect. Ballpark estimate: $40 (no promises).For everyone else who would rather me go on about birds and our bathroom remodel, I apologize for all the jewelry-talk lately.
I’ve heard from several of you guys in Delaware and Connie and I have set some dates for PMC Workshops. Check out my Classes Page for more information, and please register with Sparkles. I’ll be updating that section with more details and a kit price, but I wanted to get the dates posted now.
Update 4/3/08: Workshop info is now on this page.
Last week I went to visit my PMC friend Tiffany Scott in Purcellville, VA. She has a teaching studio in her house and I seriously thought about moving in. So beautiful, so well-organized. She apologized for it being so “messy” and I told her she was not allowed to come to my studio. Tiffany showed me how to transform a drawing into a stamp. Brilliant! Texture is something that is so fascinating to PMC (or even polymer clay) artists. It often becomes an obsession… finding objects around the house that have a unique pattern, looking at commercially available texture sheets, making molds of everyday things. I recently purchased a pack of sage leaves, took molds of them, and threw them away. Another day I asked the waitress at a restaurant if I could purchase a spoon because of the texture on the handle. It’s a sickness.
Tiffany also introduced me to Lucketts, a tiny town near the Leesburg outlets known for its antiques. That’s where she gets a lot of decorations and furniture. My brain was too full that day to shop, but I will return. With the big car.