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Mar
17
Free Silver Clay

Today we have launched our incredible FREE PMC Silver promotion. This limited offer allows you to get an amazing 61.1g of clay instead of 55g - 6.1grams of FREE clay. This works out at only £1.39 per gram.

PMC is not only the strongest and most durable of Fine Silver clays, but also has the lowest shrinkage of only 10 per cent during firing. This means you get even more for your money. Once fired,this super sized pack will give you 55g of Fine Silver which can be hallmarked as .999 at any UK Assay Office.

These packs are available to order on-line or by calling us now on 01494 774428. As stocks are limited we are also taking pre-orders - so make sure you don't miss out!

 

by Helen O'Neill , under   pmc3  silver clay

Mar
14
Lemon Geraniums

If you have seen our Facebook Page you will have noticed that we are propagating our Lemon Geranium plant again. This hardy little plant has been going at least 5 years. Plant lovers will tell you that it is an ideal plant to keep in the bedroom during the summer as it wards off mosquitoes. At The PMC Studio we have other plans for our little saplings...

We have found that this plant makes the best painted silver leaves. No matter what size of leaf you want to make this plant will produce leaves to fit all sizes! Simple paste the back with 5-7 layers of PMC3 paste (the larger the leaf the more layers) and fire on the PMC Slow Programme (45mins at 600C) for perfect results. 

If live nearby or are passing us on the way to the Harry Potter Studios or Roald Dahl Museum, why not pop in and adopt one of our lovely saplings?

by Helen O'Neill , under   painted leaf  pmc leaf  silver leaf

Feb
25
Make something special for Mother's Day

Mother's Day (30th March) is the perfect opportunity to create something unique and use your PMC skills. Here is a project I hope will inspire you. The design allows you to copy it or adapt to suit your needs. We would love to see what you make so please post any pictures on our facebook page. Happy making!  

What you need:

Agate/metal burnisher or tumbler polisher, Badger Balm, Clean up cutting and carving tool, Cutters- Heart set of 6, Large drinking straw, Heart shaped garnet 3-4mm, Paintbrush and cup of water, PMC3 9g silver, PMC3 paste to join components, Roller and 2 x 1.5mm spacers, Rubber block, Sandpaper, Snake roller, Stainless steel brush,Texture mat- Hearts Aflame

To fire: Kiln or use the Kiln Firing Service

Work mat or Teflon

Instructions for Flaming Heart Pendant 

1 – Add texture

Rub badger balm on your hands, work mat, texture mat and roller. Place the clay on the texture mat and roll the clay 1.5mm thick using the roller and spacers. Remove the clay from the mat and place on a piece of Teflon. Replace the excess clay back into the pack.

2 – Create the base

Cut the main heart shape out using the largest heart cutter. Use the next size down heart cutter to remove the centre and leave the smaller heart aside to dry.

3 – Create the bail

Roll out a flat strip and wrap around the (thick) straw.  Join the ends of the bail using paste. Now cut out two hearts using the smallest heart cutter. Place the hearts aside. Shape the edges of the bail using the clean up tool. Leave the bail to dry. Once dry, sand and refine. Your bail should be ‘perfect’ before adding to the rest of the pendant.

4 - Sand all the components prior to assembling the pendant. Start by adding the bail. Use plenty of paste to attach the bail to the large heart. Next, add the three smaller hearts using more paste.

5 - User the snake roller to roll a small coil. Wrap the coil around the Garnet to create a bezel. The table of the stone should be level with the clay to ensure the stone holds in place after firing. Attach to the main heart using paste and smooth using a little water with your paintbrush. Leave to dry and refine. Prior to firing make sure there is no clay left on the Garnet as this cannot be removed after firing.

6 - Please note: NATURAL GEMSTONES CANNOT BE TORCH FIRED.

Fire your pendant in an Evenheat Set-Pro kiln on the PMC3 Fast Programme (700C/10mins). Once fired, open the door about 2 cm/ 1 inch and leave the piece to cool in the kiln.

Should you not have access to a kiln The PMC Studio also offers a Kiln Firing Service. For information on how to use this service please go to www.thepmcstudio.com. The cost of this service is £2.50 per item or £10 for a kiln load plus return postage.

7 - Place the fired piece on the rubber block and use a stainless steel brush to polish. To achieve a high shine finish, continue using a burnisher or place in a tumble polisher with mixed stainless steel shot and 1/3 teaspoon of tumbler soap.

Optional: Use a soft cloth and silver polish to complete your polish.  

by Helen O'Neill , under   Mother's Day  PMC  Project

Feb
13
Avoiding fire scale on your Creative Copper Clay

The great thing about Creative Copper Clay is that you don't need to use a kiln pan and carbon, both of which reduce the life of your kiln. Here are some tips to help you avoid fire scale building up and how to remove any left behind.

1. As there is no way of avoiding fire scale altogether it is best to use 2mm thick spacers. This way your pieces will still be strong after the thin layer of firescale has been removed on either side. 

2. Wrap your pieces in a piece of kiln pillow.You can cut/tear the kiln pillow to size and re-use it many times. 

3. Fire in a preheated kiln. (Both our Evenheat and Creative Metal Clay Kilns have preset programmes to make it even easier!). Let the kiln reach the 900C firing temperature before placing your pieces in the kiln. 

4. Once the firing programme has finished, remove the fired pieces straight way. Do not let them cool in the kiln as this is when a thick crust will build up making your pieces more fragile and make you have to remove more fire scale.

5. Have some hot Picklean ready for the fired pieces. Leave your pieces in the Picklean for about 10 minutes to get the full effect.   

6. You can siphon off some of the Picklean solution and place it in your tumbler (use a separate barrel for copper/bronze and silver/gold) with some mixed stainless steel shot. Run you tumbler for 10 minutes. You find find the fire scale comes off very quickly and you will need to change the solution regularly.

These tips should help you make strong pieces with no manual polishing!

Jan
16
New PMC Courses available now

A wide range of PMC courses are now available to book, either at our main office in Chesham, or at one of our Accredited Training Centres (ATCs). An over view of our courses and Open studio days can be found in our courses section. Alternatively, if you prefer a certain date or want to learn something specific we also offer private lessons on a 1:1 basis. The cost of this is £36 per hour for up to 2 people plus materials. To find out more please call us on 01494 774428 between 10am and 3pm.
by Helen O'Neill

Jan
07
PMC Gems

The use of gemstones in Precious Metal Clay (PMC) is a great way to add some instant colour and sparkle. The best type of clay to use when setting any gemstone is PMC3 as it shrinks only about 10 per cent giving the clay plenty of space to shrink around the stone.

Lab grown gems

Until now most of the stones fired with PMC, have been lab grown gems such as cubic zirconias, synthetic spinels and Corrundums. They are a great way to practise gem stone setting as they are inexpensive and come in a wide range of colours and shapes.

Lab grown gems can also be torch or kiln fired. Although all lab grown gems from The PMC Studio are guaranteed to withstand torch or kiln firing up to 800C, it is best to fire test gems bought elsewhere. In this case you should test your stones by heating them without PMC. The general theory being that if a stone withstands being heated once, it is likely to withstand it a second time. The same applies to natural stones.

Natural gemstones

Only natural stones that can withstand a constant heat of 600C for 45 minutes can safely be fired with PMC3. If a stone does not tolerate the heat it will change colour, crack or explode in the kiln.

As PMC is such a new medium, not much scientific testing has been done using natural stones. The same gemstones from different mines and different suppliers will have different results. Results to date also indicate that success is not always based on the hardness or colour of the stone.

Currently the most commonly used natural stones are: peridot, diamonds, moonstone, pyrope garnet, sunstone and blue sapphires. These have managed to be fired without too much colour change.

Fairly new is the use of Sunstone. This unusual stone from Oregon in the US has performed very well in the pieces I have made so far. I have used them with PMC3 paste, syringe and lump clay and fired and polished them several times without any detriment to the stone. Although these stones are a little bit more expensive than the lab grown gems, I like them simply because they are so unusual and add some warmth to the colour of the silver. They are also available in a range of cuts from simple cabouchons to the higher quality, facetted stones, so you can choose to match the type and design of your piece.

Finally, the best thing to do when considering natural stones is to simply give them a try - provided you don’t mind losing a few! It’s great fun ….    

 

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