Monday, October 24, 2016

Jenny Vestal's Torch Fired Precious Metal Clay | Craftsy Class Review and Giveaway

By on Monday, October 24, 2016 34 Comments

Precious metal clay work is such a fantastic metal technique does not require a large investment in metal work tools.  Small pieces can easily be created with just a hand held torch eliminating the need for a kiln.  The end result is fine silver designs. Fine silver is nearly pure silver with none of the rapid tarnishing seen with sterling silver which has 7.5% copper.


Want to get started on metal clay work but can't easily get to an instructor?  You should check out Jenny Vestal's Torch Fired Precious Metal Clay Class over on Craftsy.  I received the class for review.

The class is designed for beginners in such a way that learners can follow along. If you wish to learn this way, please review the class notes and also each lesson before you begin. This will ensure you have everything on hand. You can learn at your own pace and ask the instructor any questions.

As these are torched fired pieces, the projects are small.  Many examples are actually buttons but you could always puncture just one hole for pendants if buttons aren't your thing.

The class length is on the long side - at 5.7 hrs. She does go over the sanding, polishing steps at every step because there are different tips and tricks or certain approaches she wanted to discuss.

Lesson 1
This is where the instructor introduces herself and explained how she first veered into metal clay. She also talks about the history of  metal clay- both companies which make PMC and Art Clay are based in Japan. One good point to mention is that metal clay is made from recycled silver.

This instructor used PMC3 which is a low fire clay and thus suitable for torch firing.   Others prefer low fire Art Clay.  It's down to personal preference.


She also covers the safety issues.  I agree with her one of the best spots to do torch firing is on the kitchen stove. Plus it is generally a flame proof area with a ventilation fan (nothing really toxic but there is a bit of smoke from the binder burning off).  Use a firing brick on a large metal pan.

Lesson 2
Another wonderful thing about metal clay work is the very simple tools you need - sometimes from the kitchen, like olive oil, to reduce the clay stickiness. A lot of great suggestions from the instructor on household possibilities.  I prefer Burt's Bees Hand Salve instead of olive oil, a tip which I learned from a local metal clay class I took.

Many of the implements and techniques are from the polymer clay world or even something you can make yourself. This lesson covers all that as well as how to handle the clay, measure the thickness, cutting, sanding and drying the clay. She just made two small rectangular plain tags as a beginner project.


She uses an extra playing card as a base for the rolled clay piece - that avoids any handling and potential clay distortion when drying the clay design.

However, there is one small thing I will clarify in case some of you are puzzled over this part. This card base in itself is one card thickness. So the rolling of 4 cards thickness in the demo is in fact results in a thickness of just 3 cards.  3 o 4 card thicknesses is okay for firing. But if you want to add deep impressions, 3 cards thick is not going to be strong enough -  this point is covered in Lesson 4.

Lesson 3
This one is all about torching including the types of torches and how to fill them and fire pieces. I like how she demonstrated the use of the two most common types of torches used. Useful tips on timing the firing to correctly sinter the pieces. Really good demonstrations of what happens with over fired or under fired pieces.


One tip which the instructor did not mention is to fire pieces in the evening (or have thick curtains on the window). That's because you can reduce the room lighting in order to see the color changes critical in the sintering process.  (They did darken the room while videotaping the firing process.)

Lesson 4
This part covers the many ways to add textures.  One of my favorites - using a real leaf to add the surface embellishment. The instructor shows how to make textured silver buttons in this lesson. She goes over how to cut out shapes, fire them and polish.


Lesson 5
This lesson covers how multi layered pieces are created.  Jenny again introduces new techniques and tools including how to make your own slip - a runny clay which is used as "glue".


Lesson 6
This one is on how to make your own silicone molds and to make identically sized pieces especially if you are making a set of buttons or pairs of earrings.  It also includes the instructions for making button shanks and bails.


The picture above shows the different stages (from left to right) - fired piece which has been patinated, lightly burnished fired piece, greenware (dried but unfired clay).

Lesson 7
Texturing can also be done in the greenware stage. She demonstrates how you can carve designs using different tools on the dried but unfired clay pieces.


Lesson 8
Design ideas certainly popped up when she showed how to make metal clay snakes which can be used to make custom toggle clasp and monograms. I loved her idea of making a 3 letter initials pendant!  She discusses the pros and cons of using PMC vs very thick wire.  Shawl pins are best made with proper wire - she explains why.


Lesson 9
Being able to make your own fine silver metal rings in the size you want is useful if you want to make pendants or use them in shawl ring designs.  This is a basic texture with hammers lesson.



Lesson 10
I thought this lesson was very useful. Realistically speaking, mistakes do happen. So she covers how to repair mistakes like cracks, unwanted holes and dents and those tragic broken off pieces.

In the process she shows how versatile this material is. You can bond different stages of clay with others. For example :  wet clay to fired clay, wet to greenware, etc. She also shared a great tip on how to strengthen the bond between different states of clay.

Lesson 11
This was my favorite lesson where Jenny used real leaves as the template for her inspire by nature collection.  A wonderful way to use up bits of metal clay saved from all the filings. Please note that the bronze leaf below was just an example. Bronze and copper firings can only be done with kilns - and those are not straightforward processes.


I particularly like how this instructor introduces some tools as she goes along rather than everything right at the beginning.  She also uses some very clear diagrams to explain technical points.

This is a comprehensive beginner's class which easily achieves its objectives - demystifying metal clay work and inspiring all kinds of ideas with this technique. Recommended if you want to get started in this fascinating technique.

Giveaway
If you want a chance to win a free access to Jenny Vestal's Torch Fired Precious Metal Clay Class please make a comment below. Make sure you leave contact info below if you do not have an online shop or blog.  The class is currently on sale too.

Email subscribers need to scroll down the post they receive, click on Share Comment and enter your comment. Pick Name/URL. If you don't have a store or blog, leave the URL blank.

This giveaway is international.

Extra entries if you become or are a blog subscriber or follower etc. If you also do shout outs about this giveaway, those will count as additional entries too! Please say so in the comments. (The exception is Facebook - just like/comment on the giveaway status there!!)

It ends in a week's time at 6 pm EST Monday, October 31, 2016. I will pick the winner randomly and announce the results as soon as possible after. So be sure to leave a contact email if you don't have an online link or make sure you come back and check! Otherwise I will redraw in a week. Good luck!

Disclosure
I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

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34 comments:

  1. Would love to learn this quicker way of working with PMC. Thanks. Jrgkuhn@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. This review comes after another custom request for an item I have been unable to find a bezel for. I don't have metal fabrication tools and hadn't thought of metal clay work!!!
    I would LOVE to win this class. Thanks for the chance and the great review.
    Subscriber and follower.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow how fun. I may try this. Bruin1974@wwdb.org

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ooh I have lotsa pmc and very keen to learn more and better ways to work with it, firing especially!! Blog follower, subscriber and Facebook fan, I can be contacted at retro-grrl@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Pearl, I would so love to win this Craftsy class, but so sure this form of posting is going to work. You know, all of the forms allowed are tracking what a person does ont he internet and the data is compiled and resold. Data is money and we have few ways to protect our privacy.

    Hugs, Deborah Johnson,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are reluctant to share your email, just link to say your social media like Facebook or even your online shop! That way, I can still contact you easily if you win. Some people also mask their email so bots can't read it for example beadinggem [a] yahoo dot com. Or use a dedicated email address for all online commenting that is separate from the one you use for family and friends. It is possible to get all the emails you receive for your online activity forwarded to your main private email.

      Delete
  6. I don't know if I've told you this Pearl but I've had a bag of PMC3 - and a syringe - sitting in my cupboard in my studio for about 4 years because I don't know enough about using it. I'm afraid it's going to dry up and blow away if I don't get it out and learn how to work with it.

    A lesson like this would have me on my way in no time I think!!

    Learning something new like metal clay is a challenge. First off you have to know how to work with it and then there's just getting over the fear of messing it up - especially when the cost of it is a challenge in itself!

    Chuck my name in there Pearl. If I don't win I'll be happy to take this class anyway so thanks for letting us know about it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny did say in her class that she did blow about $20 worth in her first learning experience! But I think taking a class like hers will reduce such occurrences.

      Delete
  7. Have always been intrigued by the concept of metal clay but felt a little intimidated by using a torch. This description makes it sound very systematic and doable. Definitely on my do list!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Metal Clay can be a lot of fun - AND beautiful results. I'd love to win this class!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This course looks amazing! I would love the chance to learn from someone who makes such beautiful work! m11abg@outlook.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for a solid review of this course...I was debating whether or not to purchase it but it sounds like I should (and I will if I don't win a freebie).
    Ruth @ lotsoftinybeads@gmail.com.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I would love to win this! I've wanting to get into PMC for a while now. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. This would be amazing to win so close to Christmas. I love wire wrapping but I could make all sorts of presents with silver clay. With every post you make, I'm more and more pleased to be a subscriber :) Lee.5thgen@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. This sounds like so much fun. Would love to win.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Just tweeted about your post and giveaway.

    https://twitter.com/kayzkreationz/status/790684063845654528

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ooohhh I'm so keen for this!! via FB

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have this class on my Craftsy Wish List - I just need to buy the clay and a good torch! I'm very appreciative of your review and the number of giveaways you do!
    Thank you!
    vrenibc@comcast.net

    ReplyDelete
  17. I've wanted to try metal clay for years now. I've bought the tools, the torch and read three books about it but something about it just intimidates me. I know a hands- on class would be just what I need to get started. Then the the skies the limit!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Pearl, you do find the greatest treasures to inspire us. Please add me to the long list of people who would love to receive this Craftsy class.

    ddj 0195 -at- yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  19. I just took a pmc class that required a kiln. I would love to learn the torch fired method. I follow you on bloglovin, tweeted, Facebook share, pinned, g+ and emailed. Thank You Pearl!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I loved your review. It really makes me want to jump in and try this!
    Crossing my fingers that I win ; )
    Sara.
    Shklee at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thank you for this giveaway ! I am a blog subscriber.
    voltzia@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Sounds like a fantastic course. I wish there was someplace to take classes around me, but my town is too small---would like to drive several hours to a larger city.
    I always look forward to the articles on your blog.
    dragonswing15137@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  23. I would love to win this course improving my metal clay skills is high on my list of jewelry "must do's". I love your blog, Pearl. Your reviews are so helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'd love to win this class. Just tweeted again.

    https://twitter.com/kayzkreationz/status/791625112311083008

    ReplyDelete
  25. I bought some pmc metal c lay and afraid to try on my own. love to win. thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I've had some metal clay for a while, but haven't gotten the nerve to try using it. This class might get me past the fear of ruining it. Just tweeted again about the post and giveaway.

    https://twitter.com/kayzkreationz/status/791851083530313728

    ReplyDelete
  27. Just yesterday, I was thinking about how I would love to learn this technique and where should I start looking for the best tutorials/books/videos etc., and here it is in your blog newsletter! This would be a wonderful addition to my jewelry design knowledge and techniques! Thank you for this opportunity!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Looks fun and I love Craftsy classes. Just tweeted again.

    https://twitter.com/kayzkreationz/status/792347410588504064

    ReplyDelete
  29. I would be interested in this class and the giveaway!
    pacw808@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  30. This is exactly what I have been looking for. I have purchased metal clay after seeing a program on television but really don't know how to use it.

    ReplyDelete
  31. One last tweet. Hoping to win and figure out how to use the metal clay I have. :)

    https://twitter.com/kayzkreationz/status/793074399918247937

    ReplyDelete

 

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