26 May 2009

What is PMC?

So I thought I would right a post just to explain what precious metal clay (PMC) is. There are people out there who aren't crafty and haven't a clue what I work with so this is for them! I am pretty new to this medium also but this is what I have learnt.

There are 2 types of silver clay available, 1 brand is called PMC and the other "art clay silver" but for the purpose of this post I will call them both PMC.  Both PMC and art clay silver have different types of clay for example, slow dry clay or low tarnish. PMC once fired turns to pure silver 9.99 which is more pure than sterling silver 9.25 but not as strong as sterling, its is a much softer metal.

PMC comes in quite a few forms, clay, syringe, paper type and paste.  In my work I mainly use clay and paste, I do have some syringes but I am saving those for when I can think of a good use for them. There is also a product called oil paste which is used on already fired silver clay to attach findings or to mend broken pieces.  Oil paste can only be fired in a kiln.
The clay comes in different size packs, 7g, 10g, 25g and 50g and it costs just over a pound per gram so pretty expensive. You can use this medium like any other type of clay with regards to manipulating it. It is best to know what you are going to make before you take out the clay from the packet as it dries really fast. You can also get slow dry clay which gives you up to 4 times longer to work with the clay before it does dry.  The good thing is though that it never goes out of date and if your clay does dry out you can bring it back to consistency.  Small dried out pieces call also be added to your silver paste pot which is just watered down clay which is used to attach findings, stick pieces together and it can also be used to make designs on your work using a paint brush.
There is also PMC paper type, which is silver but you guessed it, like paper! You can cut it with scissors, punch it with paper punches or even fold it and use it for origami.  
PMC can be fired either with a blow torch or in a kiln apart from the paper type and oil paste which is kiln fire only.

There is definitely lots to know about PMC so I have only touched the basics here but I just wanted to share a little bit about the medium I like to use.  Now bronze clay and copper clay are also available so one day I hope to introduce those clays into my designs too.

No comments :