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Incorporating PMC into fired pottery

A potter friend of mine is interested in incorporating PMC as
embellishment into his fired pottery. He wondered whether original
PMC could be fired above 1650 Fahrenheit without melting and losing
its shape, and if so how high above 1650. (At some point would it
splatter or do something disastrous to the kiln?) Is anyone
familiar with techniques for incorporating PMC into pottery?


He wondered whether original PMC could be fired above 1650
Fahrenheit without melting and losing its shape, 

I would say, NO! Hot spots in kilns result in the material becoming
chrystalized (not a bad look, but not what one is striving for.)

 A potter friend of mine is interested in incorporating PMC as
embellishment into his fired pottery. 

There is no clay body that matures at low enough temps to be
vitreous at PMC firing temperatures, and no, PMC can’t be fired
higher without melting. However, pots can be raku-fired at around
1650, and some people have added PMC to clay pieces that way. The
greater shrinkage of silver clay as compared to ceramic clay means
that they would have to be combined with considerable care.

That said, I think where there’s a will, there’s a way. As long as
your friend understands how both materials work, experimentation
should pay off. I would think PMC could be fired onto already-fired
pottery, as long as the cooling process was geared to the clay.
Could be fun!

I’m pretty sure there was an article on this subject in Ceramics
Monthly maybe 4 or 5 years ago.


 fired above 1650 Fahrenheit without melting and losing its shape,
and if so how high above 1650. 

Not very high. The melting point is something like 1750.

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay

Hi Mona,

A few years ago the PMC Guild publication had an artical about using
the metal clay on ceramic pieces. As I recall, the metal clay was
applied to the fired ceramic piece, then fired at the temperature
for metal clay. Perhaps Suzanne Wade, the editor, has some words

Judy in Kansas

Hi, Mona,

You’re more likely to find people who know about such things on a
ceramics listserve. However, there is an article on the 2004 PMC
Conference site (which is somewhat difficult to negotiate–you need
to find the page that lists the PDFs of the handouts for the
Albuquerque conference)

which talks about the hazards of trying to combine relatively
high-fire ceramics and PMC. You can, however, incorporate it easily
with low-fire bisque–there’s an article listed on that, too; see

There used to be articles on the PMC Guild site, but they’ve closed
the archives to non-members (I complained, but never got a response).
Some potters ran experiments and found that PMC would simply fall off
some glazes, if I remember correctly.

If your friend wants to use it with greenware, it becomes very
complicated, because you have to allow for differences in shrinkage,
as well as the low temperature required.

Good luck!

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Elk, CA


You will be limited to the melting point of fine silver, I am
afraid, which is 1760F. Once you cross the melting point, it will,
uh, melt. I would expect that you would experience deformation as you
approached the melting temperature, as well. You’d also have to think
about possible problems caused by the shrinkage of the metal clay and
different COEs in the materials.

In addition, be aware that ceramics kilns typically do not feature
highly accurate temperature control, and often have “hot spots,” so
if you’re trying to flirt with the limit of what the silver can take,
and fire to 1750, for example, you may well find you’ve melted the
silver when part of the kiln soared way above that temp. That’s why
ceramics kilns are normally not recommended for PMC.

That said, there are artists out there who are experimenting with
different ways of incorporating metal clay into ceramics, with some
success. There was an article in the Winter issue of Studio PMC
about using PMC almost like a glaze on ceramics. I can send you a
copy, if you like, and I’d be happy to forward an e-mail to the
author, if your friend would like to get in touch with him. There
was also a presentation at the PMC Conference by Tonya Davidson about
using ceramics as a base for PMC: you can find a description of the
process among the 2004 conference handouts at
(The presentation title was “Ceramics as Armature.”) On the same
site, you might be interested to read about Noortje Meijerink’s
reflections on PMC and ceramics entitled “A Dutch Ceramicist’s Vision
on PMC.”

I know there are also a number of other people experimenting with
metal clay and ceramics, and there may be some other approaches out
there. You might also want to post the query on the PMC Guild forums
at and see what the folks there have to say about

There’s also a FAQ with a lot of basic info about PMC on the site,
which your friend might find interesting if he’s inclined to

Good luck!


Suzanne Wade
Phone: (508) 339-7366
Fax: (928) 563-8255

Is anyone familiar with techniques for incorporating PMC into

Hi Mona,

I’m not, but I remembered seeing work done using a combination of
PMC and ceramics by an artist in the PMCGuild website. I googled
her name (Vera Lightstone) and here’s her website:

Maybe this lead would help your friend.

And related to that other thread: for those who don’t think there’s
a place for PMC with “serious” jewelers, you might want to check
out the gallery at the guild’s website. I sure was pleasantly
surprised, after seeing some pretty underwhelming stuff before
checking this out…

Here’s to diversity…
Cindy Crounse
Refined Designs


Slightly to the left and just messing around.

One way I have been casting silver ( 950 with de-ox alloy) around
beach glass (tumbled bottle glass found on a beach) is to apply wax
directly onto the glass, with all the embellishments that the wax
allows and then to sprue it all up and spin cast it.I keep the wax
thick enough to sprue onto.I cast it at 700C with Satin Cast 20 at
which temperature the glass seems to be plastic. Then I put the
flask back in the oven and let it cool over night. Then I softly
remove the powder the next morning.

I get about an 80% return of non cracked glass.

Makes for some cool pendants. Looks a bit like stained glass. Doubt
it could be used on pottery though. Bit expensive, plaster and all.

Hans Meevis

Hi Lisa, thank you! I’ve gotten a number of responses to forward on
to my friend. The guy and his wife do brilliant, shining,
knock-your-eye-out small saki cups that are like jewels, using an
old firing technique from Persia called “strike firing.”

I saw you moved from Benicia to Elk. Elk, Mendocino, that whole
area is full of jewelers, I know you will enjoy it. I get up to
Mendocino once or twice a year for jewelry classes and treasure
every minute there.


Thank you! I’m forwarding your message to my friend, who is If you get an e-mail from him, it’s about
incorporating PMC (which I really enjoy working with, btw, even
though I did graduate to “real” metalsmithing, fabrication, etc.
For me, PMC allows me to mold an object and reproduce it immediately
without going through the casting process or sending it out.

Cheers, Mona