Rainbow PMC Wavy Earrings
Mary Ellin DAgostino
PMC is a natural for use with enamels.
For almost traditional enamels, you can make the fine silver
base out of PMC. What is really new is the
potential for mixing the enamel directly into the PMC3 and firing it to create a hybrid
material. The advantages of this for the
non-enamelist are greatthere is far less preparatory work to be done (creating the
fine silver base, washing and sifting enamels, applying numerous coats of enamel, stoning
between coats, and, well, you get the picture). Besides
all that, it is easy to do and you can get fantastic results.
Materials & Equipment:
PMC3 clay and paste, stainless steel wire or high temperature wire, programmable kiln, ear
wires or other findings, PMC working tools, textures, and Thompson Enamels in the
Cobalt bluea dark opaque blue
Nitric bluea bright medium blue
Gem greena bright transparent green
on the basic shape or pattern you want to use. Draw
the basic shape on a piece of parchment paper or plastic sheet. Trace a second copy of the design so you can make
both earrings at the same time. Remember to
reverse drawing for the second earring if the design is asymmetrical so that the earrings
will be mirror images of each other.
which colors you want and in what proportions.
out a small quantity of your first enamel color onto your work surface. Mini-measuring spoons ideal for this are included
in the Rainbow PMC kits. Repeat this for each
of the colors. Be careful to not mix the
enamel colors. The ratio of clay to enamel
for these colors should be either equal amounts of clay and enamel or twice as much enamel
as clay. If you dont use enough enamel,
you may not get a good colorful effect.
4. Dip a
paintbrush into water and just touch the brush to the enamel to moisten it. Do this for each color, but be sure that the brush
is absolutely clean between adding water to each color.
out the amount of PMC3 clay desired using a mini-measuring spoon. Thoroughly mix the PMC3 into each color of enamel
using the pallet knife. You can add more
water as necessary to facilitate mixing. Be
sure to clean the pallet knife between mixing each color to avoid contaminating the enamel
the clay and enamel mixtures to dry (if necessary) until you can shape the enamel and clay
mixture into a ball that you can roll in your hands.
Split each ball in half (one for each earring).
out two more portions of clay equal to the amounts of clay you mixed with the enamels.
this point, you have 8 pieces of clay: 2 plain and 2 of each of the three colors.
a ball of clay of the first color into matching coils and place on the patterns. While they do not have to match exactly, a good
match will enhance the appearance of your earrings.
10. Repeat for other colored
mixtures and the plain PMC3 clay. When
rolling out an applying the plain PMC3 clay, roll out one end a little thinner. As you apply this final piece to the design, use
the extra, thinner part of the coil to create a bail.
Use paste to join the end to the coil.
Alternatives are to create the bail separately and attach it wherever you
want or drill a small hole and add a jump ring after firing.
11. Gently compress the pieces
together, applying a small amount of water and paste to ensure that the coils bond
12. Apply texture if desired
using rubber stamps, textured paper, lace, or with potters tools.
13. Dry the piece thoroughly in a
dryer box or with the hair dryer. If the
pieces are not dry when you go to fire them, the moisture may cause them to puff up.
14. Twist stainless steel wire
into a frame for suspending the earrings over the kiln shelf. If you lay the pieces directly on the kiln shelf,
they may stick or have rough backs.
15. Fire at 1450 for 10 minutes. You can start the pieces in a cold kiln or preheat
the kiln and place them in the already hot kiln. Just
be sure that the earrings are kept at a temperature over 1290F for over 10
16. Brush and burnish or tumble
the silver surfaces of the piece as usual.
17. Attach the ear wires
Blues and greens are really the only colors of enamel that work well when mixed into PMC. Most other colors of enamels cant take the
sustained heat and turn a khaki color. Other
colors can be added using traditional enameling techniques.
You can load the PMC3 and enamel mixtures into syringes and extrude
them to create fine lines. However, since the PMC/enamel mixtures are not as strong as
plain PMC, you should use a base or frame of plain silver that is decorated with the PMC
and enamel if you are concerned about strength.
Complete directions are included in the Rainbow PMC kits by