Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque suggests using several different methods to facilitate leaning bronze metal clay.

Deep dive learning bronze metal clay

Deep dive learning bronze metal clay is fun. Enroll in a series of classes. Read books about the technique. Try it. Absorb it. Repeat. A deep dive approach such as this exposes my senses to all parts of learning.

Some instructors facilitate this learning more seamlessly than others. The best incite you to imitate and catalyze you to explore all manner of possibilities.

That’s how “Tiny Houses, a bronze metal clay class” went. Eleanor MacNish exposed four of us to bronze metal clay over two sessions. As participants we were so excited that we could hardly stop playing.

Ellie Mac, as she calls herself, talked with us about the properties of PMC, precious metal clay. She showed us dozens of examples and explained why we might be interested in each one. Her attention to detail as well as her commitment to help us figure it out added to the positive effect of the presentation.

Late last year Ellie Mac talked with me about creativity. Seeing her creativity in action in her studio opened my eyes to a whole new side of this woman.

“Thorough” is one word that comes to mind.

Our tiny houses project exposed us to all manner of techniques used for metal clay: rolling, using texture sheets, needle cutting, wet clay with a template, forming wet clay, filing, making and using slip, drilling holes, embedding objects, firing clay and polishing clay. We received numerous helpful tips along the way. It’s those kind of “between the lines” tips that make classes worthwhile.

I found myself taking my newly discovered love of symbols (see this earlier post)  and pressing a stencil into precious metal clay. Later I dropped my piece into an oxidizer in order to give it a more aged look.

During each session, Ellie Mac’s enthusiasm carried us forward.

First she told us what we would do. Then, she demonstrated the process. Next, we each tried our hand at making it work. As is typical in classroom situations, we were at different levels on the spectrum of learning. 

All of our questions were answered offering numerous learning opportunities. When one of our group’s tiny houses came apart, Kate made an adobe house which was the envy of the rest of us. Another’s painstaking efforts resulted in a beautiful, well-proportioned completion. Throughout our time together, we cheered each other on and began to feel more confident about our efforts.

The handout accompanying the class was also quite thorough, and contained links to a number of other resources.

Thanks to Ellie’s quest for excellence, we have a great start for our ongoing quest into precious metal clay. My personal library now contains Ellie Mac’s highly recommended book, “Metal Clay Beads” by Barbara Becker Simon.

To help with learning bronze metal clay, this is the PMC personal library recommended by Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.
© 2018, Mary Ellen Merrigan, PMC personal library

Until I next report, I’m continuing the deep dive learning bronze metal clay quest. Have you tried bronze metal clay?


Scroll to Top