Tuesday, May 22, 2007

PMC for Me

I took a PMC (Precious Metal Clay) class this weekend, along with my friend Patricia, and we had a blast learning all the "ins and outs" of dealing with this easy-but-finicky medium. We'd been wanting to learn about it for a while, and this was the first class we could find here in Houston.

PMC, once fired, is .999 pure silver ... purer than sterling, and a little bit softer. These are my first efforts ... not exactly professional, but I'm pleased enough with them to share them here. Definitely more to come!

Above are the pieces, fresh from the flame, with no antiqueing added. They've just been brushed with a brass brush to take down some of the bright shine.

Next the pieces are shown after being taken from the Liver of Sulphur solution. The color in this image isn't exactly true, but pretty close. I didn't like the gold-y color, and so wanted to go back to the more silvery tone.

And above is the final version ... most of the Liver of Sulphur has been brushed away with the brass brush, leaving only a little darkening in the crevasses, which I like better. The penny is shown for size reference.

Some day I'm going to learn the secret for photographing shiny stuff indoors. Sorry for the poor images, especially of the large pendant. It has a rolled self-bail that's actually kind of neat.


  1. Wow, the PMC stuff looks lovely!

    And - please pardon me if I'm teaching you to suck eggs - here are two quick tricks for photographing stuff indoors:

    1. Turn off the built in flash in your camera. If you're just using a little digital point and shoot like most of us, then the flash is actually too close to the lens for taking shiny stuff. What happens is that the *flash* of light hits the shiny thing you want to photograph and bounces back almost in a straight line to the lens - which is why you get that super bright flare of light in the image. So - turn off your flash, and use the available light. You might be able to adjust your camera settings for different types of lights (fluoro, tungsten, etc) - check the manual.

    2. Because you're going to be using available light, you'll need to keep the camera steadier for the longer exposure. Use a tripod, or improvise with beanbags. And use the "delayed" /self timer function so the camera doesn't wobble when you press the button.

    I recently learnt that I can get quite good product shots with my little Canon Powershot A75 by turning the dial to manual, changing the light source setting to "daylight", turning off the internal flash, and using an Ott light as my light source. Nice and clean, easy to set up, and no flash flare!

    Hope that helps -and as I said, please pardon me if this is all stuff you already know.

  2. Caitlin, thank you SO MUCH for the great tips on photographing close-ups indoors! You've taught me several things that "professional" websites ignore. (Of course, they always want you to buy expensive special lights, etc.) Your tips are great, and I'm absolutely going to try them next time. I really appreciate your taking the time to post them here!

  3. I've always wanted to learn to work with PMC, so I love seeing your work in this medium. I'm glad to see you are posting once again. Hugs, Carla

  4. Linda..way cool! Love the rolled bail, too... one of these days I'll play with clays and PMC... I can see making bits of PMC to go into a quilt, but does it tarnish? Is there a way to seal it???? I need to learn, eh?

    And yep, Caity, those were GREAT tips. Another place for good photography tips is Holly Knott's website... I finally bit the bullet and bought the expensivo light bulbs and my whole setup, inlcuding the nearly $40 for two bulbs plus shipping, for lighting quilts, was about $55 including the clamp lights, lumber, etc. Not bad, eh?

    Cheers, Sarah

    PS--still have that postcard!


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