Off to Beautiful Rockton, IL

road at night

An image search for "moonlit road" turns up a lot of creepy results

I’ll be leaving at an ungodly hour tomorrow morning (5:30am, to be exact) in order to begin the trek to Rockton, IL. More specifically, I’m heading to the artist studio of Sherry Viktoria, which happens to be in Rockton, IL. I’ll be spending Friday and Saturday in the studio with a few other students, obtaining my level two PMC Certification!

This is a big deal. I’ll be learning how to apply enamel to my designs (something I’ve been warned against trying on my own, or else I’d have experimented by now), as well as using PMC’s Aura 22 (a paste-type clay composed of 22k gold) as a decorative element. We’ll also be learning how to prepare settings for stones that have to be set post-firing (something I’ve already done quite a bit of, but could still use practice in) and fine-tuning our texturing techniques, including the pursuit of the ever-elusive perfect mirror finish. At the end of the class, I’ll have obtained my level two certification (assuming of course that I pass), and will be qualified to teach introductory metal clay classes.

For those not familiar with metal clay, it’s my current focus, and it’s incredibly cool. Basically, it involves recycled (eco-friendly is always a plus) metal dust (fine silver, bronze, copper, gold – even a steel version is available) mixed with small amounts of binder and water to form clay. It comes in several forms: lump type, which resembles the modeling clay we all played with as kids except that it dries out much quicker; syringe type, which, as the name implies, comes in a syringe and can be extruded in all sorts of ways; paste type, which most ceramic artists would call “slip” and which is mostly used for repair; and sheet type, which resembles paper and can be folded like origami. When the clay dries, it’s fired in a kiln (ideally at 1650 for 2 hours), during which process the binder burns away, the item shrinks a little, and the final product is pure silver (or copper, or bronze, or etc.).

It’s amazingly versatile, as you can imagine, and also incredibly fun to play with. I’m extremely excited to further my skills with it and even more excited to finally be able to teach it! I’ll update post-class with photos of my completed projects. Catch ya on the flip side!

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