Tuesday, March 18, 2014

PMC Class with Donna Penoyer

This past weekend, I took a PMC (Precious Metal Clay) class with Donna Penoyer.  It was at the Society for Contemporary Craft here in Pittsburgh, and the class title was Imaginary Sea Creatures in PMC.  I has asked if a newbie could take the class, and was told yes, but it really wasn't a newbie class!  However, I plugged along and thought I'd show you what we did.

 First we started out with an exercise making a PMC tentacle.  We made a form using epoxy putty, and then made a mold with polymer clay.

 We decorated the polymer after pressing the form, and baked it.  Using the PMC, and the putty form, we pressed the clay into the mold.

 This is my rough tentacle, after drying but before sanding.  You can really see how rough it it - I had no idea you had to sand PMC so much. 
 Here's my finished, sanded tentacle.  If I made another one, I think I would use a toothbrush or something to give the areas in between the suckers a brushed metal look. We didn't fire it in the shop, Donna is taking them to her studio to fire and we can pick them up later.  I'll be sure to show you how it turned out.  I'm hopeful!
After that exercise, we got into the class topic...making sea-like imaginary creatures.  She brought a lot of shells, urchins, texture sheets, etc. for us to use.  Here's where being a newbie was somewhat of a challenge - since I had no experience with this at all, I had truly no idea what I was doing.  Donna was very helpful, but probably I should have taken PMC 101 first.  I did do some sketching of things I thought I would make, and here's how it ended up.

 I took molds of three different types of shells, with the idea of using parts of each.
 We made armitures (structures to drape the clay on while drying) and then pressed our clay in the molds and created the piece.

 Here is my rough sea creature.  It did not turn out the way I drew it, but since it was my first time making anything, I didn't really care.  I was taking the class for the experience.
 Here's my sea creature after standing and adding a hole for the jump ring.  This one is a little bit rougher than the other one on the surface, as I'm leaving the texture from the shells.  I wonder how it will look when it's all shiny and silver?

There were more steps than I mentioned of course, but I can't give Donna's class away, now can I?  I did conclude that for right now, PMC is not really for me.  The expense of the clay, and the amount of time required sanding, makes it seem almost impossible to get into.  Perhaps as you get more experienced, the sanding time goes down, and I am sure copper clay has to be less expensive, but for now, I'll just admire things other people make with PMC.

Here's an example of Donna's art, which you can see on her web site.



  1. And you didn't even have to smell it while it was in the kiln!!!! ;) Well, despite the sanding, you made me want to do more of it, especially achieving such great textures. (Now if only silver would cost less!)

  2. I've been dying to make my own texture molds to then use with PMC but as you say, the expense really does make you think twice!
    Still, it looks like you had a great learning experience :)

  3. I think I feel the same about PMC as you. I've seen so much beautiful jewellery made with it, but I went to a class and decided it wasn't for me.

  4. If you get a dremel or a flex shaft, sanding and polishing takes pretty much no time at all.

  5. You can't know until you try! Good to know about the sanding. I've seen some PMC pieces that looked more like wet sand than metal, obviously there's a lot of finishing you have to do on it. Good to know!

  6. Neat! I've been wanting to try PMC… I'll definitely keep all the sanding in mind. ;-) I think you really turned out a fab design for your first go at it. I hope you'll come back and show it when it's finished.

  7. I think your pieces turned out well. It all sounds too intense for me.

  8. awesome! As a metal clay artist, I can tell you sanding time doesn't go down at all! its labor intensive. I guess you do pick up wants to smooth before it dries. I also break a lot during sanding, so there is repairs and loss :( I love it though, I think its worth all the work! LOVE your tentacle!

  9. Love what you created..glad you had the chance to try. I have been wanting to branch out and try it, but the expense has held me back. Some day!


We would love to hear what you have to say, please leave a comment.