PMC Class with Donna Penoyer

I posted this over on the Art Jewelry Elements blog on Monday – thought you might like to see it if you haven’t visited AJE!

This past weekend, I took a PMC (Precious Metal Clay) class with Donna
Penoyer.  It was at the Society for Contemporary Craft here in
Pittsburgh, and the class title was Imaginary Sea Creatures in PMC.  I
has asked if a newbie could take the class, and was told yes, but it
really wasn’t a newbie class!  However, I plugged along and thought I’d
show you what we did.

 First we started out with an exercise making a PMC tentacle.  We made a
form using epoxy putty, and then made a mold with polymer clay.

 We decorated the polymer after pressing the form, and baked it.  Using
the PMC, and the putty form, we pressed the clay into the mold.

 This is my rough tentacle, after drying but before sanding.  You can
really see how rough it it – I had no idea you had to sand PMC so much. 

 Here’s my finished, sanded tentacle.  If I made another one, I think I
would use a toothbrush or something to give the areas in between the
suckers a brushed metal look. We didn’t fire it in the shop, Donna is
taking them to her studio to fire and we can pick them up later.  I’ll
be sure to show you how it turned out.  I’m hopeful!

After that exercise, we got into the class topic…making sea-like
imaginary creatures.  She brought a lot of shells, urchins, texture
sheets, etc. for us to use.  Here’s where being a newbie was somewhat of
a challenge – since I had no experience with this at all, I had truly
no idea what I was doing.  Donna was very helpful, but probably I should
have taken PMC 101 first.  I did do some sketching of things I thought I
would make, and here’s how it ended up.

 I took molds of three different types of shells, with the idea of using parts of each.

 We made armitures (structures to drape the clay on while drying) and then pressed our clay in the molds and created the piece.

 Here is my rough sea creature.  It did not turn out the way I drew it,
but since it was my first time making anything, I didn’t really care.  I
was taking the class for the experience.

 Here’s my sea creature after standing and adding a hole for the jump
ring.  This one is a little bit rougher than the other one on the
surface, as I’m leaving the texture from the shells.  I wonder how it
will look when it’s all shiny and silver?

There were more steps than I mentioned of course, but I can’t give
Donna’s class away, now can I?  I did conclude that for right now, PMC
is not really for me.  The expense of the clay, and the amount of time
required sanding, makes it seem almost impossible to get into.  Perhaps
as you get more experienced, the sanding time goes down, and I am sure
copper clay has to be less expensive, but for now, I’ll just admire
things other people make with PMC.
Here’s an example of Donna’s art, which you can see on her web site.

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