Friday, April 4, 2008

A Creature of Habit

I am definitely a creature of habit. If I find a dish that I like at a restaurant, I will order it every single time we eat at that particular restaurant. I hang my robe on the right-hand hook in the closet and never on the left one. I almost always sit in the same chair at the dining room table to eat.

I'm this way about my use of metal clay, too. I spent the evening working on one of my dragon necklaces (I've had two versions sketched out for months and am only now getting around to finishing them). Metal clay is manufactured and sold by two different companies - Mitsubishi Materials Corporation makes PMC and Art Clay World (through, I believe, Aida Chemical Industries Co., Ltd.) makes Art Clay Silver. I usually use PMC rather than Art Clay Silver. There's no real rationale behind this - it's simply that I started out with PMC and liked it and never felt the need to try Art Clay. I've actually had a packet of Art Clay sitting at the bottom of my tool box for about 10 months, unopened, that I bought at the Art Clay booth at Bead & Button last year. (Embarrassingly, I kept referring to their product as PMC. Even more embarrassing, I learned later that the extremely nice and helpful lady (remember I had only been working with metal clay for about a month back then) who assisted me and who was very tolerant about my gaffe was none other than Jackie Truty - president and owner of Art Clay World USA. I will have to go and offer my abject apologies this year... Anyway, where was I?)

I decided to be bold this evening and actually opened the Art Clay packet. To my surprise, it really does handle differently than PMC. I use low-fire PMC (PMC3), and I bought the equivalent in Art Clay (Art Clay 650). I found that the fresh Art Clay is much firmer right out of the packet than PMC, which I like. It also drys out much, much faster (for the uninitiated - metal clay is notorious for drying out very quickly), which I don't like. I'll be interested to see whether the shrinkage rates are the same for the two types of clay.

On other fronts, I've had another piece accepted for publication. This was an interesting case for me, as the piece in question had been rejected a couple times before I managed to get it placed. I think this raises an important point about publication in beading and jewelry magazines generally. Although there are numerous magazines available for purchase these days, each one has it's own focus and interests. Sometimes when I've had a piece rejected (which happens a lot - I know I focus on the positive and only tend to mention my success stories, but I've had a lot of rejections as well), I worry that it's no good and think about dropping it. However, it's virtually impossible to second-guess an editor's preferences, and I'm learning that's it's better not to try. Anyway, this one will be published in the summer. I will let you know further details as they become available.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. See you on Monday!


Anonymous said...

Hey Congrats again! I can't wait to snap up all these magazines that you are going to be in!

I'd be interested in hearing your further findings on Art Clay. I've been noticing lately that it's much cheaper than PMC.

Hollister, CA

Melissa J. Lee said...

Hey Jenn,

Here's the thing about the price of Art Clay and PMC - the PMC weight is post-firing. So you get 50g of fine silver in a 50g pack. The Art Clay weight is pre-firing, so 50g of Art Clay silver includes the weight of the binder. That's what I've been told, at least. It's possible that Art Clay is still generally less expensive, but I need to figure out how much of that weight is binder and how much is the actual silver, first...

Have a great weekend!