Monday, November 28, 2011

Blogspot...or not...and PMC Sterling!!

I have an app known as 'Blogpress' and I think I even reviewed it here when I first purchased it.  As of right now, I'm not impressed.  I used it a couple of days ago just to talk about what's going on in my life at the moment and when I chose the option to 'save and preview' my blog, the app crashed and my 3 paragraph blog entry disappeared.  I'm very unhappy.  My time is relatively limited and when I spend even 15 minutes writing, I don't appreciate my thoughts disappearing into the internet black hole.  The app hasn't worked since.

Tonight, I have other reasons to write.  I went onto one of my favorite sites to buy a new batch of PMC 3 (the clay I've been using lately to make my jewelry) and the new heading was an option to pre-order PMC Sterling!!!  That means that FINALLY they have a clay version of Sterling Silver!!!  I feel bad for everyone who has used metal clay for years because I just happened to stumble upon it a few months ago and was initially disappointed that I couldn't make sterling jewelry with it.  I hardly had to be patient at all before it was finally available!

There is a catch, however, with this exciting new find.  The way I fire my jewelry now is with a torch, because it is sufficient to burn the organic binder (stuff that holds all the minuscule flakes of fine silver together) and get myself a piece of metal from clay in less than 5 minutes (after the hour or so worth of molding and sanding the piece, of course).  With the sterling clay, you need a kiln.  To say that kilns are expensive is an understatement.  The ones that I would need for this new clay are at least $580.  And that's not including the cost of electricity to run the darn things and all the weird supplies I would need to get to finish the firing process (something like a bowl full of carbon to actually sinter the metal).

I have thought this over all afternoon...it has consumed my thoughts since my discovery of this new opportunity...and I have decided that I will start saving money from my sales to buy a kiln.  So I'm hoping sometime in a few years I will have enough, haha.  In all honesty, I hope to buy a kiln sometime next year. That will give me time to read reviews on how this sterling clay reacts and how difficult the firing process is.

What worries me is that for the first 30 minutes of firing, the piece of jewelry is just burning off the organic binder...then I have to take the piece out and place it carefully in a bunch of carbon to complete the firing process.  So before the metal is at all melted and turned into a solid form, I have to mess around with a dry piece of jewelry that I put a lot of time into, and that has no binder holding it together anymore.  Sounds a little risky to me.  Hopefully people will review it in the next few months and say it's totally easy and risk free to move the partially fired and extremely delicate jewelry into the carbon.

The reasons I am definitely going to try this and invest a whole lot of hard earned money are pretty important to me.  Not only can I continue to make small pieces like I am doing now and offer them at a lower price (rings, charms, etc.), but I can start making useful things like sheet metal, my own sterling wire (expensive stuff), jump rings, and most importantly, bangle bracelets.  I have a bracelet my parents got me while they were on a cruise in the Caribbean that I have worn daily for the past 4 or 5 years:


I could technically make these bracelets with the metal clay I'm using now but I would still need a kiln to fire such a large piece and the clay is more expensive.  I don't mind the higher cost for the clay itself, but I would have to charge a lot more than I would be willing to pay if I were shopping for them, which I think would hurt my chances of selling them in my Etsy shop.

That brings me to the last and more obvious reason I'm excited about this clay.  It costs a decent amount less for 25 grams (enough to make several pieces of jewelry), so I could sell these items at a much better price.  And I could start selling supplies of sterling silver in my shop...strips, discs, wire...once I got good at it.

So now that this topic has taken a sufficient amount of time from me working on my paper for school (you would have known all about it if Blogpress hadn't dropped the ball), I am going to close out for the night.  I hope someone who makes jewelry from metal clay stumbles upon this blog in the near future and benefits from learning a little about the PMC Sterling so my hours of research on such a new item are helpful to more than just me.  I'm sure I'll suck up any newer information on it as it becomes available and continue writing about it until I can try it out with my very own kiln (so tune back in sometime in 2012 for that blog entry)!

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