Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Silver linings

Hello my lovely friends! : )

Well, I guess the time has come to explain
some of the weirdest purchases I ever made:

Yep, that's a gas torch along with its butane refill! 
And you migh wonder what has it to do with miniature making?

Well, I have started working with silver! : )
Actually, I am talking about PMC, which stands for Precious Metal Clay.

PMC is a material made of precious metal particles (silver, in this case) mixed with an organic binder, which is about 9% of the total volume and burns off during firing. This means that it can be sculpted and oven baked like normal clay, but what's left after firing is an object made entirely of pure silver. Cool, right? : )

Now, the problematic parts..

What I have found out is that PMC is considerably harder to sculpt than normal clay, expecially on a tiny scale. It's not elastic nor sticky, and you only have a few seconds before the clay starts hardening and becomes impossible to sculpt. 

PMC is also as expensive as pure silver, since that's what it's made of. 

And of course silver clay pieces need not only to be sculpted, baked, sanded and refined, but also fired at more than 1600 °F to turn PMC into solid silver.

And after that they have to be polished with metal brushes to make them shine.
A few seconds over the recommended firing temperature is enought to melt them down, making the whole process quite tricky to manage. 

You can see the problem in these pics. 
This tiny duckling was my first attempt at working with silver, and although she was cute enough, she lost part of her head during firing. I'll keep her as a good luck charm! 

But I have also to admit that the final result is so charming that is totally worth the effort - wasn't the title of this post "silver linings"? : )
It is really exciting to hold a solid silver item that you have designed and brought to life.
All the more so when it is a OOAK micro teeny tiny piece! :D

So, let me show you my experiments!

A silver kitten smaller than a grain of rice.
This one was a commission, and has already been adopted.

 A sweet micro mouse, which is available here.

The tiniest and cutest gnome, which is of course a source of joy and good luck!
He already found a new home, and I am sure he'll be much loved!

And now my absolute favourite, this incredibly tiny silver fox.
I don't even know if I'll ever be able to recreate such a tiny thing!
She's also waiting for someone to bring her home, here.

But I also think that silver works great when mixed with different materials and texture, so I decided to create a miniature silver mushroom and turn it into the heart of a tiny polymer clay terrarium.

Please welcome my latest fairy garden! : )

The terrarium features real moss, many handsculpted mushrooms and plants, and a little gnome that measures less than half an inch - or a quarter of an inch, if you don't include the hat!

The base of the terrarium is just 1 inch in diameter, and there's a little glass dome to protect it from dust. 

You can find it here, along with quite a few other new items in my Etsy shop
I am having quite a hard time to decide whether I want to focus more on my work or on my everyday life here on the blog. I like taking colourful, happy pics so much, but at the same time I'd like to show you every little thing I make.
What would you like to see the most? I'd love to know! : )

(oh, also, have a cute little fairy hat, just in case :P See you soon!)

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  1. Such fine work. I look forward to seeing your future work with the silver. I love the silver mushroom in amongst all the other bright mushrooms in the dome. Really cheerful.

  2. The fairy garden in the dome is fabulous!
    Greetings, Faby

  3. i say, don't focus! I like to see life and work. They are connected after all.
    Do you 'fire' the sculptures with the torch or in a kiln?

  4. Thanks! :) I don't have a kiln, so I am just using the gas torch at the moment. It's a bit tricky but it works (note:as far as I know, only PMC+ and PMC3 can be fired with a gas torch!)

  5. Hello from Spain, great job. Fabulous creations.

  6. Hello Mijbil,
    That is ridiculously small. I really admire your skill and your "no fear" attitude when it comes to trying new things.
    They are wonderful.
    Big hug,

  7. wow!!!! Love the tiny terrarium. I like to see both your work and snapshots of your life- you are a great photographer of everyday things!

  8. Il terranium è meraviglioso! Mi lasci sempre senza parole per i tuoi micro personaggi... wow!

  9. Ma che bel materiale, non lo conoscevo! Sembra strano ma viene voglia di provarci, le tue creazioni sono molto carine, mi piacciono! Grazie per aver condiviso questo materiale,

  10. I love to see all the excitement you dare throw yourself in. I am deeply impressed, it's super nice and so in silver.

  11. Your tiny silver makes are gorgeous. I love the tiny fairy garden so much wonderful detail for such a tiny item wow. Your work is incredible.
    Hugs Maria

  12. I can not understand how you can work on so small and tiny pieces. It is amazing and stunning.

    Wonderful scene.


  13. Mi lasci sempre a bocca aperta!

  14. Well, I have to say that I love everything... The silver things, the terrarium... It is amazing how you can work with these miniatures:)
    Hugs, Candy:)

  15. Che spettacolo!!Amazing!!! ^___^

  16. Hola querida,

    Es genial...


  17. This is really cute! Where did you get the tiny terrarium?

  18. Bellissimi davvero!

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