Learn to make beautiful jewelry using pure silver metal clay (Precious Metal Clay – PMC) in single day workshop classes. No experience is needed to get started, just a spirit of adventure and the desire to explore new ways to unleash your creativity.
I frequently teach metal clay classes, most often at my studio in Saratoga Springs, NY, but I also teach at the Arts Center in Troy, NY, the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne, NY and the National Bottle Museum in Ballston Spa, NY. I send out periodic e-mails to people interested in learning about classes as they are being developed. If you would like to receive these notices, please click here to send me a note.
All are single-day sessions and use Precious Metal Clay (PMC) which is pure silver in a powdered form mixed with a binder and water to create a clay-like substance. You manipulate it somewhat like a polymer or ceramic clay would be shaped and textured and then you dry it. Once dry you can sand and refine the piece and then it is kiln fired. During the firing the binder and water burn off and the silver molecules sinter (fuse together) resulting in a pure silver piece. You then go through a series of steps to finish and shine the piece. It is lots of fun and truly can be done by anyone. There are many ways to work with the clay that range from simple but great to very complex. I’ve been teaching PMC techniques since 2001 (Rio Rewards Certified 2001), and I’m still learning new approaches! The information below describes the classes, locations and costs. Please keep in mind that classes can be customized to your specific interests when it is a class at my studio in Saratoga Springs. I do ask that students in classes other than Precious Metal Clay Exploration have had some experience with metal clay prior to the class.
At each class I have plenty of PMC available for sale as well as tool kits and a few related supplies. In any of the classes at any location, participants are welcome to use my tools and texture samples during class. You may bring unfired pieces to any class, and we’ll include them in the firing.
Precious Metal Clay Exploration – All levels – This is the introductory class to take if you’ve never taken a metal clay class or if you’ve been away from working with PMC and would like a refresher. Explore the many ways that you can use fine silver Precious Metal Clay to create jewelry designs of your own. We’ll make pendants, earrings, simple beads, charms and rings. You’ll even learn to set and fire stones in your pieces. You will fully finish three or four pieces of jewelry in this one day class! Techniques and projects will be demonstrated and the instructor will help you create the jewelry that you want to make. Torch firing PMC using a small butane torch will also be demonstrated if time permits. Students at all levels of experience are welcome to join in the fun of using the newest method of working with pure silver.
Bracelets with Metal Clay – This class focuses on creating bracelets incorporating PMC. You should have taken a class or have some experience with metal clay to take this class. This class includes an emphasis on making metal clay clasps which is great for those who enjoy making beaded jewelry. You will choose which bracelets to make. Possibilities include Byzantine links, gemstone and metal clay links, copper, silver or titanium and PMC, rubber tube and PMC. Sterling rings will be available for purchase if you wish to create a Byzantine link bracelet and silver, copper, and titanium forms will be available for purchase for the bangle and cuff bracelet options.
Keum-Boo on PMC – Keum-boo is the ancient Korean technique of applying 24K or 23.5K gold foil on silver. In this class you will create PMC pieces suitable for this process and then after firing them, apply gold foil using this technique. I find the results amazingly beautiful, especially with a Liver of Sulfur patina applied. You should have taken a class or have some experience with PMC to take this class. (The price of gold foil is additional and varies according to the gold market. You’ll have the option of purchasing a full or partial sheet.)
Setting Stones in Metal Clay – Take your PMC jewelry making skills to new levels by learning how to successfully add natural gem stones that can be kiln fired as well as stones that can not be heated. You will learn a variety of ways to set stones and will fully finish a least three pieces of jewelry in this workshop. Additional charges for natural stones are based on actual selections or you can bring your own stones.
Rings with Sterling Metal Clay – Sterling clay (.925) is one of the newer metal clays in the PMC line. The increased strength of the sterling clay as well as the ease of working with it make it ideal for ring making. It is more forgiving in terms of drying out as well as being wonderful to add carved details. The best of both worlds is when you make .960 sterling clay (a 50/50 combination of pure silver clay and .925 sterling clay) because it doesn’t require the two step firing process involving carbon that is needed for .925 clay but retains the strength and ease of use. You will learn how to create this new alloy and how to use it. The emphasis will be on making rings, but you are also welcome to use your clay to make other items. While this class is ideal for those with metal clay experience, it is open to anyone with an interest in learning metal clay techniques for making rings with .960 sterling.
Enamels on Metal Clay – Learn new techniques as you experiment with cloisonné and champleve enameling on Precious Metal Clay. You will be guided through the process of creating several pieces of jewelry suitable for enameling and then learn enameling techniques to add colorful touches to your jewelry with brilliant enamels.
Hollow Forms in Metal Clay – You will use PMC to make a variety of hollow beads using combustible core substances and others without any core material at all. The materials provided for the class will be sufficient to allow you to experiment with several types of beads, and additional metal clay will be available for purchase if desired. The number of beads made will depend on the size and type of beads as well as the complexity of the forms. All will be done and ready to wear by the end of the day! This class is ideal for people who have been making beaded jewelry and have wanted to add some beads that they have made themselves.
Bronze and Copper Metal Clays – This single day workshop will introduce you to bronze and copper metal clays. Many silver clay users have been enticed to give it a try with amazing results. While many of the techniques are very similar to the ones used in working with silver clay, there are some significant differences as well. The firing process is unique both in materials used and timing. You will learn how to adapt your silver clay techniques to base metal clays, make slip, join pieces, texture clay, carve, make objects that include use of a mandrel, dry the clay, estimate shrinkage, finish and add colorful patinas and learn all sorts of tips and techniques. Come with a willingness to experiment and enjoy the somewhat unpredictable results that come when using a new material!
Textures and Molds for Metal Clay – This class focuses on creating your own unique textures to use with metal clay The emphasis is on making tear aways which are sheets of paper with polymer clay baked on them. I’ve used them extensively for over 6 years after learning the technique from Celie Fago. They are wonderful opportunities to use your own black and white designs or other black and white images to make low relief texturing tools. I will also show you how to make molds using several different types of molding materials and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Soldering on Metal Clay – This class is the one to take if you really want to add sterling findings (earring posts, pin backs, etc.) or solder jump rings closed on your metal clay jewelry. You’ll make pieces that need to have something added by soldering and then learn the basics of soldering using a butane torch. It is a less intimidating way of soldering that is very effective on most jewelry sized pieces. You’ll practice on some scrap metal and then move on to using your own creations. You must have some metal clay experience to take this class.