One of the more interesting classes being offered through Sun Lakes Rock Gem and Silver class is Precious Metal Clay (PMC). No special tools are required and the results are only restricted only by the imagination of the students to transform a clay-like substance into any shape they desire. Under the tutelage of an instructor they learn to mold, texture and form the clay into jewelry and other small objects of decor.
Once they are satisfied with the form, it is dried under heat to a leather-like texture. Then it is cleaned, trimmed and rough edges removed for the final firing. It is then placed into a Kiln where high temperatures burn off the clay leaving only the pure silver, copper or bronze metal.
The first four classes consist of using a silver medium, crafting pieces that are catching to the eye, for instance a filigree of fine texture over a Quail egg. Once fired the pieces of the egg that are left are broken into smaller pieces that can be removed through a hole leaving the form that is then finished by cleaning and polishing.
The nearly finished form is shown in one of the pictures. One picture shows a student using gold ink to cover a textured design that is then buffed leaving the gold with silver highlights.
Once the students complete the silver class, they may then advance on to classes using copper and brass mediums. The beauty of these class offerings is the opportunity to use stones they may have polished in the final process, creating pieces of jewelry or decor they can be proud to display or wear. There is nothing more appreciated than a piece of custom made jewelry or stone art.
Article by Joe Evelyn Schwab