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PMC Sculptural Possibilities


#1

This art clay seems to be used more for its possibilities in
texturing, while I’m more interested in it’s sculptural
possibilities. Before I buy this, I’d like to know:

-is it a suitable material for modeling, do pieces stick together
well, does it dry and go brittle fast like some clay while working
it?

-is the baked end product as brittle as cast metal or even worse?

-the pmc 3 clay can be baked with a flame, any tips how it is done
well? (so I don’t have to buy an oven)

thank you for telling me, good luck, davina


#2

All metal art clays dry out and will crumble if worked too much for
too long. (yes, depending on conditions that can happen VERY
quickly!)

Baked (actually sintered) product can be brittle if not done
correctly. For the ultimate strength you have to do it at the
highest temperature for the longest time. Of course, you need to
consider shrinkage with any of the product when firing at the
highest temp. for the longest period of time. It also depends on the
thickness of parts in your piece.

The materal - when raw (unfired) needs “slip” to connect pieces.
I’ve connect parts, and had them fall apart after firing. I soldered
the parts together because that’s a more permanent way of connecting
parts.

The ‘butane flame’ is not a reliable way to fire even small pieces.
I would not attempt using this method for anything that even
resembles a sculpture.

Keep in mind, the product (no matter which kind) is much more
expensive than buying sheet or wire, and it would be more economical
to do the sculpture in wax and then have it cast (even in silver!)


#3
-is it a suitable material for modeling, do pieces stick together
well, does it dry and go brittle fast like some clay while working
it? 

Yes, in my experience both Art Clay Silver and Precious Metal Clay
become dry while working with them; however, this is easily overcome
and not something that is a problem for me anymore.

Yes, pieces stick together well. Wet clay to wet clay, attach with
water. All other situations use slip, aka paste.

-is the baked end product as brittle as cast metal or even worse? 

No, in my experience, fired PMC does not have the characteristics
that cast metal can have that people may complain about. It can be
further formed after firing, it is not hard to drill.

-the pmc 3 clay can be baked with a flame, any tips how it is done
well? (so I don't have to buy an oven)

It can be done well, but I personally do not recommend it. You can
also fire PMC + with a torch, FYI.

Short of buying a $500.00 kiln, there are two options under $200.00.

  1. Ultra light Bee Hive Kiln by JEC Products, available from him or
    Rio, you need the extra shelves. Great little kiln to have for
    enameling, granulation, as well.

  2. The Speed Fire Cone, a new device that runs on a disposable
    propane tank. I have not used this myself. See ads in Art Jewelry
    Magazine or search the archives here or at the yahoo list Metal Clay
    Gallery for more on the Speed Fire.

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


#4

I have to disagree, to a certain extent, with the statement that,
“all metal art clays dry out and will crumble if worked too much for
too long.” I have carved, drilled, sculpted Art Clay Silver with hand
tools and power tools with terrific results. Especially the 650
Lowfire formula, which is quite dense when dry. There are limitations
in size and volume with the torch, and the most dependable way to
fire is always the kiln.

Jackie Truty
Art Clay World, USA, Inc.


#5

Hi Davina,

While PMC does a great job at capturing texture, I wouldn’t say that
is it’s primary virtue. In fact, I’d give that description to the
fact that PMC allows us to work in ways that are similar to
metalworking, but unique. Among these is the creation of
three-dimensional forms, both for jewelry and functional objects.

All versions of PMC (Original, PMC+ and PMC3) offer three distinct
stages. First, the material feels and works like modeling clay. This
allows for three-dimensional modeling with the ease of a finger
touch. At this point, false starts can simply be wadded up and you
can try again. Who doesn’t like a “Do Over?” The second phase is
what potters call “leather hard” and what will be familiar to
jewelers as wax carving. I often rough out a form with my fingers,
then let it dry so I can work it with files, chisels, and sandpaper.
And finally, after firing, PMC is 100% fine silver, so it can be
worked with all the conventional metalsmithing techniques, including
filing, bending, soldering, sanding, tumbling, enameling,
electroplating, etc.

You asked some specific questions:

About working time - Original PMC has the longest working time, but
also the largest shrinkage rate. All versions can be misted with
water to restore their working properties.

Original PMC is somewhat brittle, about the same as cast fine
silver. The other versions are significantly denser and resemble high
quality castings.

As you say, PMC3 can be fired with a torch. Simply allow the piece
to dry thoroughly, then heat to a glowing red and hold for at least
one minute. You can see a video of this process at either of these
two sites:


http://pmcguild.com/gettingstarted/video_clips.html

Good luck,

Tim McCreight
Technical Consultant, PMC Guild
http://www.PMCguild.com