Friday, May 18, 2012

Clay and Tactile Making

Fimo Dragon
I've been making a lot of things out of various squishy clay materials recently. The coolest is PMC (Precious Metal Clay)... it's microscopic particles of silver (or I also have copper and there's some nonprecious metals too) with organic binder that burns off when you fire it. You're left with a 99% fine silver object. So far I've only made tiny charms with it but I have a few lab-created gemstones I'm going to try to set in the clay and make some jewellery out of it.

I'm having an infinite debate about how to make a nice ring out of PMC. There seems to be a lot things you can do, like fire it as a flat piece then bend and solder it together (possibly only able to bend it while still hot, though, from what I've heard. This is not ideal for my limited home workshop situation) or do various things with investment powder "pellets" that the ring shrinks against and you're left with a nice, perfectly round shape. I have a rather lumpy piece of copper clay ring to be fired still that I'll need to put on a mandel to turn into a circle probably. We'll see if it stretches and breaks.

Last night, I was playing with plasticine (aka modeling clay to Americans) and built a rather cute little dragon. Having now gone home and started playing with my 5+ year old Fimo clay that I bought to make horns out of, I realise just how soft plasticine is. I'm having to fight to mould the fimo... but on the other hand it's much easier to smooth out than plasticine.

There's a bit of elitism about digital things, probably partly down to marketing and partly down to PROGRESS! but actually there's at least as much value in making things by hand as there is in the digital world. We both put long hours into our works so I don't feel we should argue over such things. It's better to appreciate each others works, for better or for worse.


  1. I find that you have to work fimo quite a bit, but then it gets nice and smooshy.
    You've been taking stick for making stuff with your hands???

    1. The squishiness varied among the packs I have (admittedly super old packs) - I had to add in a bit of oil into the solid black but the metallics seemed more squishy. I read that the more translucent colours have more plastiser (sp?) in them so they tend to be more squishy.

      and I guess it's more of a photography issue. There's *huge* flame wars on film vs digital and the last paragraph was a bit sparked off by someone's comments on me being mostly film photographer and them going "oh no you're not one of those purists, are you?" and then oddly how they went on about how they like manipulating images afterwards, like somehow that doesn't happen in a darkroom or by choosing a different printing technique, or a certain film or camera.