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PMC and ceramic


#1

Dear Orchidians,

I’m ceramic artist, but I am a great fan of this forum. I must admit
that I am really impressed by the readiness of so many people to
render assistance and support for resolving a particular problem of
colleagues of theirs.

The work with metals has always been of immense interest to me,
especially combining metal and ceramic parts in the jewellery. All
this led me to the idea of inlaying of PMC on already fired ceramic
objects (pendants, beads, earrings, etc.). As of the present moment
I don’t have any direct impressions from this kind of material, only
what I saw and read on the Internet. However, I am really eager to
try working with it and so, I did a research of most of the
at the web related to this issue (including the forum’s
archives) and I reached to some conclusions and specific questions.
Please, if somebody can confirm or deny their correctness, I would
be most grateful. At the moment I am about to order the necessary
supplies. The actual experimental work is a thing I have never
shunned from but there is always a possibility for a mistake when
ordering the materials, which worries me a bit. Here are the
conclusions and the questions that came up:

  1. I presume that the best way to start is to read the book of Tim
    McCreight; “Working with Precious Metal Clay”. Is it OK for
    beginners? And if you consider any other book of real value on these
    matters, I’d be most grateful.

  2. Concerning the inlaying upon already fired (almost glass like,
    vitrified) ceramic surface is it PMC 3 type the most appropriate? And
    in what form shall I purchase it - as a clay or paste?

  3. Am I right in thinking that the actual attaching of the PMC on
    the fired ceramic surface does not need any intermediary substance -
    one just needs to fire the object and the silver inlays will be
    firmly attached to it?

  4. Which are the proper places for purchasing the PMC supplies
    (meaning, the one that offers the optimal combination between prices
    and services)?

  5. I saw at several places mentioning the use of PMC in slip form.
    However, I’ve never seen this material to be offered in such a form.
    Does that mean that it has to be prepared by the user?

Any other suggestions will be highly appreciated!
Thank you in advance!

Vladislav Ivanov
Golem Design Studio,
Bulgaria
http://f2.pg.photos.yahoo.com/golem_bg


#2

Hello Vladislav,

I’m happy to read of your interest in combining PMC with ceramics.
Some work has been done in this, both here in the States, and in
Holland (Andrea Wagner) and Britain (Gwen Bainbridge). I’m not aware
of any technical in print or on-line, but it’s good to
know that experimentation is going on in many places.

I’m happy to answer what questions I can, but let me be clear that
I’m not a ceramic artist. In most cases, all versions of PMC will
bond to ceramic without any intermediate layer. The exceptions seem
to be high temperature glazes that do not liquify or soften at high
temperatures. In these cases the PMC does not seem to adhere well.

As to which material to use, the primary advantage of PMC+ and PMC3
are that they can be fired at lower temperatures (as low as 1100F
(600C), and that they can be fired faster (2 hours for Original, as
little as 10 minutes for the others. Shrinkage on Original PMC is
28%, while the other versions shrink only about 12%. All versions
can be fired up to 1650F (900C). After firing, all versions are 100%
fine silver.

My experiments indicate that it is important to apply a layer of PMC
slip first. This appears to flow into microscopic irregularities in
the surface of the ceramic and improve adhesion. If a surface
coating is all you want, the slip is enough. If you are building a
three-dimensional element, this should be done with the solid
version of the clay, either by working in place, or by modeling the
ornament and setting it on a bed of slip the way a mason would seat
a brick on a layer of mortar.

The manufacturer of PMC sells a factory-made slip (also called
paste), and you can make your own. All PMC is water soluble. To make
paste, either forcibly blend water into the clay by smearing them
together on a plastic or glass surface, or, alternately, allow some
PMC to dry, sand it to create a powder, then mix this with water.
Except for the ease of buying ready-made, there is no difference
between these slips.

There are several helpful books on the market, all viewable in the
"In Print" section at http://www.PMCguild.com In addition, you’ll
find a wealth of on that site, including Technical Data
Sheets in the “Getting Started” tab.

And finally, as to where to buy PMC… again I direct you to the
website above. In the left margin you’ll see a vertical column of
links, including “International” and “Suppliers,” both of which will
be worth a look.

I would be happy to hear the results of your research!

Tim McCreight
Technical Consultant, PMC Guild


#3

Tonya Davidson at Wholelottawhimsy.com sells bisque beads for use
with PMC. She has tutorials on how to use them together on her site.

That may be a good starting point.
Amy


#4
I presume that the best way to start is to read the book of Tim
McCreight; "Working with Precious Metal Clay". Is it OK for
beginners? And if you consider any other book of real value on
these matters, I'd be most grateful.

Yes, it’s a great book. Even though it’s the oldest PMC book out
there, it’s still terrific and a great reference. There are so few
books on PMC you can practically buy them all. Rio Grande carries
all of them, I think. No books on combining ceramics and PMC.

There is also a yahoo group for PMC called Metal Clay Gallery you
may wish to join. And there are ceramics lists that have covered
this topic from their angle.

I think there is some technical available on how to do
this at

http://www.PMCGuild.com
and/or try
http://www.PMCConference.com

Concerning the inlaying upon already fired (almost glass like,
vitrified) ceramic surface is it PMC 3 type the most appropriate?
And in what form shall I purchase it - as a clay or paste?

Whatever you like to work in.

Am I right in thinking that the actual attaching of the PMC on the
fired ceramic surface does not need any intermediary substance -
one just needs to fire the object and the silver inlays will be
firmly attached to it?

I don’t do ceramics and I’ve never done PMC and ceramics, but I have
heard some people say that they like to prepare the area on the
pottery where the PMC will go – scratch it up

Which are the proper places for purchasing the PMC supplies
(meaning, the one that offers the optimal combination between
prices and services)?

There are many, many places to buy PMC. Rio Grande, many others you
can find on line. See a list at http://www.PMCGuild.com

I saw at several places mentioning the use of PMC in slip form.
However, I've never seen this material to be offered in such a
form. Does that mean that it has to be prepared by the user? 

That’s because it’s usually called “paste” in the catalogs. That’s
the slip. You can also make your own. I make my own. Some people
claim store bought is better because it’s more consistent.

Elaine

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#5

Hi Vladislav,

If you intend to attach metal clay to low fire ceramic
(earthenware), there are tutorials, and related info, on this web
site:

http://www.wholelottawhimsy.com

However, if by vitrified you mean stoneware or porcelain (that’s
usually what the term refers to), I think it’s a tricky process. I
remember some discussion on the PMC Guild web site, but they have
closed their archives to non-members, so I can’t check. It might be
worth joining in order to get the info, although I’m afraid you will
find it disappointing. The only easily available discussion I know of
is here:

pmc-conference.com/techresources/seminars04/Handouts/Meierjink.pdf

–it consists of about three sentences.

What potters call slip, the metal clay companies call “paste.”

As for the rest of your questions, I will let the pros answer.
Orchidian Jackie Truty will sell you any supplies you want, if you
remember that there are two brands of metal clay, and PMC is only one
of them:

http://www.artclayworld.com

Good luck!
Lisa Orlando


#6

I know that the discussion has just been about PMC, but I’d like to
remind Vladislav et al that there is another metal clay, Art Clay
Silver. We have a product, Silver Overlay Paste, that’s formulated to
bond to high fire glazes, glass, porcelain and similar non-porous
surfaces. You can find on our website,
www.artclayworld.com. You can also put a first layer of Overlay
Paste onto the glazed ceramic, and then add dimensional Art Clay to
that. Firing temps are 650 degrees C. for 30 minutes to 870 degrees
C. for just 5 minutes.

Jackie Truty
Art Clay World, USA


#7

I have been forwarding this thread to a friend who is a ceramic major
at Arizona State University.

Can you post back and let him know that I had asked one of my
professors about incorporating PMC in my ceramics pieces and he
said that you can wedge the two together and throw it to get a
marbleized effect with the two media.

Epaul


#8

Hi Vladislav -

In addition to all of the wonderful advice given by all of the metal
clay experts on this list, I wanted to say that a recent episode of
the American show called Crafters Coast to Coast had a segment about
a ceramic artist who uses PMC on his ceramic pieces.

Pictures of the piece he made on the show and step-by-step
instructions for making that piece can be found here, along with the
artist’s Web site so that you can contact him to ask questions:

Ceramic and Metal Clay Box
http://tinyurl.com/bjrgl

Linda


#9

Dear Orchidians,

I am really impressed and happy by the answers I received to my
questions about PMC and ceramic, and by the high competence level
showing from each of them, as well. Even before I posted my questions
I felt sure that this is the exact place I should find good willed
answers by real professionals, but I must admit you exceeded my
bravest expectations. So, a huge thank you to you all! If I achieve
some good results, working together with this 2 materials (PMC or
ArtClay and ceramic), I’ll definitely post some pictures to your
attention. You made me think that I should start think more about
working with metals, and that’s just for the sake of finding more
common topics to discuss with you. No kidding! Now I feel eager to
find a question within my scope of competence, posted in the forum in
order to “repay my debt” to all the great people here.

Thank you again!
Warm wishes

Vladislav Ivanov
Golem Design Studio
Bulgaria