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Creating a PMC mermaid

Dana, I was asked to create a piece for a friend, using 20oz of silver
PMC and 10z of gold PMC. I have made a vessel of sortsa mermaid
canoe with an fish outrigger. The mermaid measures almost 12"L x 6"W
X 4"H; the fish-9"/1"/2; the overall thickness would be 1/8" to 1/4",
with some thicker areas in details. They have been formed around a
core of styrofoam, paper mache and paper clay. In its construction I
have thinner and thicker layers of paper and of silver PMC. So that I
know that there will be no part of the skelton that will fail to
support, I have decided to low fire to 600F or so and remove paper
ash. Then I will fill all voids within the shell with alumina and
bury it in same in a firing box. Do you think the alumina will have
sufficient weight to support this size and kind of structure. Also,
I am considering making a slip of the gold and plating some surface
area. I would apply this to the low fired silver piece and then fire
it to 1650F. I have heard this is suffient to set the gold as well as
the silver. Doesn’t seem like the gold would have a good density for
finishing, but I guess it will marry with the silver. What do you
think of my reasoning on all of this? A friend who has a larger kiln
and has fired PMC successfully will do the firing. Of course, we want
to start the process this Sunday, July 22, and have left little chance
for you to reply. It’s okay if you are on vacation, really. Sincerely,
Nona Leeper

Hi Nona,

It may still not leave enough time for your deadline to begin
working, but you may want to bounce this question off the PMC Guild.
They have a Web site that allows you to ask a question (under the
"Resources" link, I believe). Well done Web site, by the way…

Hope this helps,


Dave Sebaste
Sebaste Studio and
Carolina Artisans’ Gallery
Charlotte, NC (USA)

Hello, The support issue seems sufficiant. I personally use
vermiculate to support inside and outside the hollow form.

Now for the gold issue. Usually you construct the gold pmc component
first. Fire it. Then construct the silver pmc and add the gold
component at this time.

I do not believe that the gold pmc slip is the way to add the gold.

I would fire the silver pmc structure and then use a kuembo gold
application to the surface.

At this time I have added many gold (of different colors and Karats)
to the silver pmc + and fired them together… with success. They do
turn black on the surface. A little sunding takes care of the black
as you might anticipate. When initially constructing and placing the
gold elements into the pmc + I treat it like I would a cz and make
sure that the gold element is secularly ancorded into the base. I do
not rely on the two metals fusing. (Maybe they do fuse, I just don’t
know so I don’t count on it happening.)

Good luck.