Last week I combined 2 of my favorite things, gardening and jewelry! I took a fun class out at Old Goat Farm Nursery on using plant parts to create molds that get filled with PMC (polymer metal clay) to create jewelry components.
PMC was created in Japan in the 1990's. The material consists of microscopic particles of metal (copper, bronze, silver or gold) and a water-soluble, non-toxic, organic binder that burns off
For our class we used sterling silver clay. I was surprised at the weight of the finished pieces. For molds we used sheets of polymer clay that had been created by imprinting various leaves. We evenly pressed our small rounds of PMC onto the molds. Then we carefully removed them from the molds.
The playing card was so that we could transfer our pendants to the drying area. I used an imprint of a cedar frond for one side.
They were all laid to dry on a warming tray. At home the artist uses an old toaster oven.
Drying is important. If there is still moisture in the piece then it can explode during the firing process. Once dry they all go into the kiln, at about 1650 degrees!
After firing they are cooled in water. Then we brushed off the burs with a brass brush. Next step was to apply patina with liver of sulphur. Surplus patina is removed with a baking soda scrub and a brass brush. Patina is removed from detail areas with steel wool. The last step is to tumble and polish.
My completed piece. Not the best design, but when I take a class I focus on learning technique rather than the outcome!
While we waited between steps we had lunch in the garden and toured the nursery. We met the rescue goats, peacocks, donkey and other birds. A very nice way to spend a day.