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View Full Version : Discussion on Silver Clay anyone?


paintfool
06-13-2006, 03:33 AM
Thanks Penguintrax, for your explanation of what silver clay is!

silver clay is comprised of an organic binder and fine silver (99.9% pure) particles. When fired (kiln or torch) the binder is consumed and you are left with fine silver.

The two brands are Precious Metal Clay and Art Clay Silver.

I'd heard a little about this product before working on building the forum, but became intrigued after seeing the beautiful things that can be done with it!

Can anyone post a picture of what the material looks like before firing? How high of a temp does one fire it at, and for how long?

Does anyone have any information on resources for purchasing it? Is it toxic before firing?(as in, do you need gloves?) Sooo many questions! :D

Thanks

Cheryl

ShellyD
06-13-2006, 12:02 PM
Hi Cheryl,

What I know about Art Clay Silver on this side of the universe.

Firstly, it is non toxic. You don't need gloves to work with it. Although you do need to work quickly as it can dry out pretty fast.

You can make the most beautiful pieces of Fine Silver jewellery, and each piece will be unique. Basically you can make a ring, pendant and whatever your heart desires in a day. Less...even.

This is what a piece of clay looks like;

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Jun-2006/84045-lumpclay.gif

Briefly, once shaped, moulded and sanded (before firing it must be dry), you fire it either in a kiln or with a chefs burner to burn away the organic binder and you are left with a Fine piece of silver jewellery 99.9% Silver. There exceptions where only a kiln can be used.

In a kiln, I fire my pieces for 10 minutes at 900 degrees celsius.

It comes in a clay form, paste, syringe and paper type.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Jun-2006/84045-product.gif

I think if you do a search for Art Clay Silver or Precious metal Clay you will find instructors and product.

What else....there is so much. It really is a fun hobby!! A great way to make special gifts for friends.

Hope this helps some what.

Michelle

Penguintrax
06-13-2006, 04:54 PM
http://www.artclayworld.com/ and http://www.pmcguild.com will have TONS of information for you.

tamjai
06-14-2006, 10:06 AM
One of the tricks in working with silver clay is that even tho it is non-toxic, you want as little on your hands as possible because every speck counts. olive oil or badger balm help to keep the product from sticking to your hands.

Everyone fires it differently. I used Art Clay Silver Slo-dri and fired it at 1475*F and held it at that temp for a hour. Maybe that seems like overkill but my pieces are so sturdy and will never snap. I had some work fired in a class and they were quite brittle. You should be able to drill, shape, hammer, stamp the finished metal just like sheet silver.
tam

paintfool
06-14-2006, 11:17 AM
Thanks everyone. Great information!

I can clearly imagine the value of wanting to keep the material from sticking to your hands & using a smooth work surface.

bdswagger
06-14-2006, 01:43 PM
Question... what's a chef's burner?
Leigh


Hi Cheryl,

What I know about Art Clay Silver on this side of the universe.

Firstly, it is non toxic. You don't need gloves to work with it. Although you do need to work quickly as it can dry out pretty fast.

You can make the most beautiful pieces of Fine Silver jewellery, and each piece will be unique. Basically you can make a ring, pendant and whatever your heart desires in a day. Less...even.

This is what a piece of clay looks like;

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Jun-2006/84045-lumpclay.gif

Briefly, once shaped, moulded and sanded (before firing it must be dry), you fire it either in a kiln or with a chefs burner to burn away the organic binder and you are left with a Fine piece of silver jewellery 99.9% Silver. There exceptions where only a kiln can be used.

In a kiln, I fire my pieces for 10 minutes at 900 degrees celsius.

It comes in a clay form, paste, syringe and paper type.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/13-Jun-2006/84045-product.gif

I think if you do a search for Art Clay Silver or Precious metal Clay you will find instructors and product.

What else....there is so much. It really is a fun hobby!! A great way to make special gifts for friends.

Hope this helps some what.

Michelle

bdswagger
06-14-2006, 01:50 PM
Thanks everyone. Great information!

I can clearly imagine the value of wanting to keep the material from sticking to your hands & using a smooth work surface.

Yeah, the stuff is pretty exspensive from what I understand, so you don't want to waste any of it. I know you could at one time-when the metal clays first came on the market-buy gold metal clay too. Or am I hallucinating? Anyway, you have to remember that, being virtually pure silver, it's going to be softer than sterling silver which is an alloy, and I seem to remember reading that as it fires, that it shrinks? Because the binding 'clay' burns off during fireing?

I haven't worked with it myself, I've only read about it or heard from others who work with it. And that was awhile back.

Leigh

ewdb
06-14-2006, 10:19 PM
hi everyone,

I'm glad to see this new forum. i haven't tried metal clay yet but i've been reading up on it and plan to try it soon and work it into some lampworked glass pieces. (i've only just began that too)

i tried traditional silversmithing a few years ago but didn't much enjoy the process - it was terribly complicated, plus all the chemicals required kinda scared me...

From what i've seen you can create some fantastic fine silver and gold peices in metal clay with just basic tools and a kiln.

I've also worked with polymer clay and air dry clay - had a lot of fun with that as well. I've alway been fascinated with glass and metal so hope to develop both my metal clay and lampworking skills as soon as i can afford a kiln. at some point i hope to be able to combine all those past techniques into a new style for me.

anyhooo...if anyone is looking for projects there are several really good free ones on the Lapidary Journal projects area and Art Jewellery Magazine websites

here, i found a couple cool projects i'm dying to try:
http://www.artjewelrymag.com/art/default.aspx?c=a&id=202
http://lapidaryjournal.com/stepbystep/aug05.cfm

Art_at_43
06-16-2006, 12:50 PM
Hi,

I was wondering where I can get silver clay in Toronto, Canada. I did a search and wasn't successful. I'd love to try it. Perhaps if I knew specifically what types of retailers sell it. ie pottery supply, craft store? oops sorry I'm editing now. I found a place called beadfx. in Scarborough which is near Toronto.
Thanks
Cindy

ShellyD
06-16-2006, 05:12 PM
Hi Cindy,

I checked the Japanese website as they are the guys who developed this stuff... it seems the USA are the distrubutors for Canada and Mexico as well.
Try this link www.artclayworld.com (http://www.artclayworld.com)
I hope this helps.

As for the chefs burner question - how we describe here in SA, is that it is the little butane burner used to melt the sugar on top of Creme Brulee - I still prefer firing all my pieces in my kiln though.

Till later....
Michelle:wave:

Musicbeads
06-20-2006, 08:22 PM
I would also like to mention that you can fire small pieces 10 grams or less using a butane torch - the creme broulee size. Pieces fired in this manner are done in about 2 - 3 minutes.

Leigh, there is art clay gold also.

Linda

Titanium
06-21-2006, 07:43 PM
Hello All,
Hello Cheryl,

I have 3 packets of pmc3,but haven't had time
to do anything with them.Been too busy learning
how to work with silver and gold alloys.

But I have seen images of folk using torches to
fire the silver clay.
Just sending this reply to say I found the forum.
Longtime potter in low and ultra low fire vitreous
earthenware and egyptian paste.
I also make my own glazes and enamels from
carbonates,oxides and .....
Later.
Titanium

paintfool
06-22-2006, 04:24 AM
Hey T!! So good to see that you found your way here! I think that this is going to to be a great forum. I hope to see more of you here. :)


Yes, i did find some information on torch firing. I'll find the site again & post a bit later.

Cheryl

claire.c
07-08-2006, 02:24 PM
Leigh, before I tried it myself I was also convinced that it would be soft and easily malleable once fired. But in fact it is quite firm, although it has no other metal content of any significance it has a more open structure which gives it internal strength (I think). I have tried hammering and annealing the fired material and it all seems to work OK, but it definitely isn't as soft as you would expect.

Rebekah81
07-11-2006, 12:11 PM
Both PMC &ACS come in a variety of types which indicates firing temperatures/times. I'm most familiar with PMC -- it comes in PMC regular, PMC+ and PMC3. The PMC regular requires longer/hotter firing times but is ultimately sturdier so it is recommended for things like rings that encounter a lot of wear. PMC3 fires at the lowest/shortest firing times and is recommended for use with glass. It is also the clay to use if you're going to fire with a creme brulee torch. PMC always comes with information about recommended firing schedules for the type of clay purchased. Sherri Haab's The Art of Metal Clay has a great firing table. PMC regular is best at 1650F/900C for at least 60 minutes. According to Haab, you can get very good results with PMC 3 firing at 1200F/600C for 10 minutes. Her charts are much more detailed. I just picked out a couple of examples to show the extreme differences in firing times/temps between the different types of clay.

There is shrinkage with all types of ACS & PMC. PMC regular shrinks significantly more than PMC 3. If shrinkage is going to be an issue (such as making a ring) there are ways to adjust for the problem. I've only been working with items where it hasn't been a problem.

In addition to the different types, both PMC and ACS come in different styles. PMC comes in lump clay, syringe and paper.

The paper clay was designed for use with origami -- here's a project from DIY network that shows how to make a PMC paperclay crane http://www.diynetwork.com/diy/cr_jewelry/article/0,2025,DIY_13762_3499176,00.html. In addition the paperclay can be used with paper punches (sinter & polish the clay) and then the punches can be fired between layers of fusing glass.

The syringe can be used to make intricate filigree pieces.

Even the little paper punches and filigree pieces are incredibly sturdy. I have a velvet bag with all of my pieces in it and they rattle around together and no damage to even the most fragile looking.

I mail order my PMC. I went to the PMC Guild and linked to all their online retailers. I picked Whole Lotta Whimsey http://www.wholelottawhimsy.com/ and was very happy with them.

To purchase locally you'll need to find someone who is certified in PMC or ACS. Both PMC & ACS extend wholesale only to people who have been certified by the respective organization. So my local bead shops don't carry PMC but I can purchase PMC regular through the University Arts & Crafts center because they have someone who is certified on their staff. I just find it easier to order online.

The one class I took on PMC, the instructor recommended prototyping in polymer clay first. (1) polymer clay is less expensive (2) silver clay does dry fairly quickly even in very humid environments. I think this tip is a good one -- especially since the price of PMC keeps rising with the rising costs of silver! Speaking of expensive, there is gold clay but the cost is quite high -- once again check the PMC & ACS guild links in one of the previous posts for online sellers.

It is astounding what can be created with silver clay. I saw an artist's work last year that was incredible. She had fairies on swings -- all in incredible, intricate detail. She had wonderful, whimsical critters. Anyway, words don't begin to describe what a true artist can do with this material. Other than using another type of clay, I don't think she could've accomplished her vision in another medium.

tamjai
07-15-2006, 10:23 PM
Sheri Haab's book is great - it helped me immensely. I agree with prototyping in poly clay - there was a high degree of frustration in the class I took because people were playing and trying to work out their ideas with the little lump we were given. even a sketch will help the process along.
Pen Ink Paper is a good source for PMC in western canada and Rainbow minerals outside Ottawa now carry ACS. BeadFX has been carrying ACS for a while and are also a great source of info.
Pen Ink Paper (http://www.peninkpaper.com/)
Bead FX (http://www.beadfx.com/catalogue/artclaysilver.php)
Rainbow Minerals
(http://www.rainbowminerals.com/Art%20Clay.htm)
tam

beadyeyedgirls
07-17-2006, 10:37 PM
hi all,

standard pmc, the first formulation, should actually be fired for 2 hrs at 1650. i haven't tried it yet, but it's also got the highest shrinkage rate of the different pmc formulations, & many artisans use it for getting detail in smaller pieces--where it'd be harder to do in pmc+ or pmc3.

this week i'm taking pre-conference classes mon-weds., & thurs-sat is the pmc conference! i had a fantastic class today, "new tips & tricks for making beads without cores." cool, cool, stuff!

you can take certification classes with either rio grande or the pmc connection, & then you're able to buy at "certified artisan" prices. i took the connection course, & am able to get the discounts at the connection & also at whole lotta whimsy, & i think pmc supply honors it, too. for art clay, i believe there's only the one certification route, through art clay.

i hope to be able to post pics next week when i'm home; i think i had 3 beads in the kiln when we finished class, & i think i have two in progress, lol. not sure whether one made it into the kiln or whether i might have left it somewhere in the class!

metal clay is an amazing medium. it isn't cheap, & you do need to have some sort of plan for what you want to do before you roll out the clay. i've yet to take a metalsmithing course (on my wish list!), but i'm able to work in fine silver anyway...& then there's the whole field of adding gold, via several different options. there's also gold clay!

if you have the chance to take a class or to try it, go for it!

hlynn1975
07-19-2006, 08:19 PM
Hi there!

I got some ACS at the B&B show this year and just thought I would show you guy what I have made so far.

Earrings, the earrings are the same, one is just flipped to show the detail on the other side of the pieces.
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y262/hlynn1975/silverearrings.jpg

This is a celtic knot pendant. I'm going to insert some garnets into a chain and antique the chain. There will also be garnets dangling from the pendant in the holes at the bottom.
http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y262/hlynn1975/silverpendant.jpg

What do you guys think?
Heather

hlynn1975
07-19-2006, 08:21 PM
PS. DH says I can't go to B&B anymore, everytime I do I come home with another expensive hobby. LOL Last year I came home with a hot head torch and now ACS.

Penguintrax
07-19-2006, 09:36 PM
Nice work Heather! Did you kiln or torch fire?

ShellyD
07-20-2006, 03:13 AM
Heather, those are beautiful. :clap: :clap: :clap:

Later
ShellyD

Musicbeads
07-20-2006, 08:42 PM
Nice work, Heather, on both the pendant and the earrings. Have you done any more?
Linda

tamjai
07-23-2006, 05:23 PM
Here is an example of some leaf pendants made with paste and ginko leaves
http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/23-Jul-2006/38697-three_silver_ginko_leaves_necklace.jpg
I found at least 14 coats were needed to build up something that felt substantial.
tam

gbot
07-23-2006, 07:34 PM
Wow, what a wealth of information here! Thanks so much. I have 3 packages and afraid to try anything with it. They do have classes at our local bead store but its $85. a class so I guess I'm just going to wing it and fly by the seat of my pants and create something. I have the kind you can use a brulee torch with.

Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge.

Gladys

lisel33
08-03-2006, 05:13 PM
I am an avid metal clay user. I started out as a potter and then went on to metalsmithing, glass fusing, lampworking and metal clay. I recently fractured my right shoulder, so the wheel throwing is out for now, but I hope to get back to it soon.

Some information on metal clay. I prefer Art Clay Silver to PMC. A good place to purchase the materials is ebay, you can get it for much lower prices there than from Art Clay World. There are some very good guides on ebay as well with good beginner information.

I also prefer kiln firing to torch firing. When I started, I used the torch, but it is very time consuming, and the finished products are not as strong as when kiln fired. If you have a small jewelry kiln or annealing kiln for beads, you can use that for the metal clay. Because I do the fusing and the metal clay, I invested in a programmable kiln, the paragon caldera. It cost about $500 but was well worth the investment. It runs on regular voltage and doesn't eat up energy. I also teach classes and sell metal clay, so I fire for my students and customers so they don't have to get their own kiln. You might be able to find someone close to you who will do that for you as well if you don't have or want to invest in a kiln yourself. There is something called the hot pot which is only about $100, but I don't know how well it works as I haven't used it.

I have made small jars, miniature vases, rings, pendants, bracelets and more with the clay. When I get a chance I'll post some images of my work.

I find this stuff addictive and so creatively freeing. I teach absolute beginners with no artistic or jewelry background or experience and they are absolutely amazed at what they can do. I urge you to give it a try.

Lis-el

hlynn1975
08-13-2006, 08:46 PM
Thanks for the complements guys :) Here is the pendant all finished.

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y262/hlynn1975/CelticPendant.jpg

I torched this one. Right now I'm working on a chinese character bracelet and that was done in my kiln.

Penguintrax
08-14-2006, 10:36 AM
Very nice, Heather!

scootrgrl
10-25-2006, 06:26 PM
I have been looking on every site on what to put my PMC+ on inside my kiln. I read the directions that came with my kiln, to me, it sounded like you just put the ceramic fibre board that comes with the kiln on the bottom of the kiln and the pieces on top. So I did this and burnt the crap out of the fibre board and the bottom of my kiln is now brown.
I know that you put rounded pieces in a ceramic bowl with vermiculite but what do you put the bowl on???
I am mostly doing flat pieces so I would like to know what to put on the bottom..HELP!!

Janet

beadyeyedgirls
10-25-2006, 10:41 PM
janet,

was this the first time you'd used the kiln, & particularly the shelf? the shelves are typically coated w/kiln wash (not sure now if that's the name of it, actually!), & both the shelves & the kiln should be fired alone once or twice when you first get the kiln.

i bought my extra shelf from tonya at whole lotta whimsy, & she pre-fires them before sending them out. but i do remember that when i first got my kiln (also from tonya), the instructions said to run it empty a time or two.

also, i think it's preferable to elevate the kiln shelf off the floor of the kiln. did you kiln or shelf come with four little blocks? i use those as feet to hold up the shelf. i think the brown will burn out over time, & you probably don't need to worry about it. but if you have questions, i'd recommend the yahoo metal clay group... or email tonya. her site is www.wholelottawhimsy.com & she's amazing about answering questions & sharing information.

hth!

scootrgrl
10-25-2006, 11:29 PM
janet,

was this the first time you'd used the kiln, & particularly the shelf? the shelves are typically coated w/kiln wash (not sure now if that's the name of it, actually!), & both the shelves & the kiln should be fired alone once or twice when you first get the kiln.

OOPsss, no, I never did fire it empty, mind you I have been using it for my lampwork beads since August.

i bought my extra shelf from tonya at whole lotta whimsy, & she pre-fires them before sending them out. but i do remember that when i first got my kiln (also from tonya), the instructions said to run it empty a time or two.


Well at least the shelves aren't expensive and I can get another one with some feet!! Thanks so much for your reply, I have been to the wholelottawhimsy site a few times and will be picking up some things off of there for sure!

marbrm
12-09-2010, 10:56 AM
Great discussion- have picked up some tips already - thanks guys! I am an artist, also making jewelry and about to the the PMC.