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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Introduction to Precious Metal Clay

The other day I held a metal clay class at the Lakeland Art Gallery.  I thought it might be fun to share what we were working on.

This class was meant for people with no experience, and we were going to make a simple stamped silver pendant (or earrings).  I told them to think about what they wanted to make first.  The clay dries out rather quickly, so you have to have a plan.  That doesn't mean that you can't change your mind in the middle of it, but a plan helps.

Picture by Melodie Koher
Everyone had fun looking at all the stamps and textures I had brought, trying to decide which they wanted to use and how.

Once we got to rolling out the clay, some had a little anxiety, while others really got busy creating.  It is fun to see all the different things people come up with given the same set of instructions.  

Picture by Melodie Koher
In the end, everyone got their pieces dried, sanded and ready to fire.  It was hard for them to imagine that their fragile clay pieces would turn into solid silver.

The next week, after I took the pieces home and fired them in the kiln, everyone got their pieces back.  They had shrunk slightly, and were white, not silver.  A little brushing with soapy water though quickly revealed the silver under the white residue.  Then we got to experiment with a liver of sulfur patina.  We got some great colors, and everyone liked their patina so much, for the most part, they didn't want to remove any of it.  

Here is a look at the finished pieces of my students:

If you are in Northern Indiana and interested in taking a class, subscribe to my Facebook page for notifications on new class offerings.

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