Have you ever heard of silver metal clay? I ask that of pretty much every person who walks through the doors of Heart and Stone. No is the answer I most often get and almost everyone is interested to hear more…It boggles my mind (how could so few have heard of metal clay?) but strengthens my resolve to create a space to teach, share and spread the word about this amazing new medium. Enter...The DIY Design & Learning Studio for Metal Clay housed within our studio space at Heart and Stone. (Update: The retail and studio space has closed as of July 2017. The Heart & Stone collection is still available online or by appointment. Classes, workshops and parties can now be hosted in your home or business.)
Silver Metal Clay aka Precious Metal Clay or PMC has not been around that long. It came to the US around 1996. It’s pretty amazing stuff! The short version is this: Silver metal clay is fine particles of silver (think powdered metal) mixed with an organic binder & water. You work with it like clay. You can roll it out, texture it, cut it, paste pieces together, and so much more. When you fire it in a kiln the binder burns off and you’re left with your pure silver piece. (or whatever metal clay you started with.) By 2013-2014 metal was available in a sorts of base metal alloys; different colors of bronze, steel, copper.
Pure Silver aka Fine Silver, one of the precious metals, is the easiest to work with in terms of the firing process so even though it’s a bit pricey it is a great introduction to the world of metal clay. Working with metal clay is bit tricky at first until you learn the basics. I'm currently teaching Silver Clay in a Day at Elsie Kaye Glassworks.
I have been blown away by some of the work coming out of our Metal Clay Classes. The atmosphere in the studio when class is going on can be pretty electrifying. It’s one of my very favorite times at Heart and Stone whether I’m teaching or whether it’s one of our other great Certified Metal Clay Instructors.
If you're interested in finding out more about Metal Clay there are a bazillion resources if you google. Here are few of my favorite resources...
Where to buy stuff and learn more...
Cool Tools - A personal favorite. Great videos to help get your started! You'll see our very own Lisel Crowley featured in videos all over the site. They have pretty much everything you'd ever need and great textures too. Also the carry both major brands of silver clay PMC and Art Clay. Many sites only sell one or the other.
PMC Connection is another really good site. More and different templates and textures.
Jewelry Artist Supply is a small company with some unique and interesting things. The owner provides great and quick support and she has competitive clay prices.
Favorite place for inspiration?
Metal Clay Now on Facebook is a must join. They also have sister sites on Pinterest and Twitter but I have not check those out. According to there mission statement Metal Clay Now "is a non-commercial, brand-neutral meeting place for all aspects of metal clay. By gathering artists, technicians and innovators from around the world, this enterprise will become a rich gathering place that will foster creativity and raise professional standards. Metal Clay Now is not tied to any distributor and welcomes discussion of all forms of metal clay."