Precious Metal Clay, in very simple terms, is clay made of fine particles of silver, bronze, gold, copper, etc, water and a binder that holds it all together. You shape the clay in your desired fashion and let it dry. Once completely dry, it can be fired in a small kiln, burning away the binder and leaving only the precious metal particles which then sinter (or fuse) together.
I've been dreaming about branching out into this medium for a while now. When the opportunity arose to purchase a used enameling kiln at a good price, I dove in!
I couldn't find any local classes about starting in precious metal clay, so I read a lot about it. Prepared myself for the worst possible first experience. Bought my clay. And then I finally worked up the nerve to give it a try. Today, I can unveil my first piece of fine silver clay art jewelry.
Meet Mr. Hedgehog.
He's a funny little hedgehog. Almost fish-like in shape and structure. But he's kinda cute too.
The clay was a little more challenging to work with than, say, polymer clay. It took every nudge, dot and line very literally and grew exponentially as I worked with it. In completing one piece, I have already learned so much about the product. Some of the hazards I read about were accurate and came to fruition. At least I was somewhat prepared. And so the learning curve begins...
I may sell Mr. Hedgehog. I may keep him. My 3 year old daughter is rather fond of him. He is pretty special. :)