What if you could manipulate metal as easily as modeling clay? That question occupied the mind of Dr. Masaki Morikawa in the early 1990s. A Japanese metallurgist working at the Mitsubishi Materials Corporation, his mission was to increase production of highly refined gold for use in microchips.
He challenged his team to think differently about their work and the result was a new material that would revolutionize metalsmithing, particularly for fine art jewelers.
Precious metal clay (PMC) is comprised of microscopic metal flakes, water and an organic binder to provide malleability. When fired at high temperatures, the water and binder burn away, leaving a 99.9% pure metal object. Unlike traditional metalworking, PMC doesn’t require years of training, physical strength, specialized tools, or large workspaces.
Its ease of use makes it popular with professional and amateur jewelers including some enthusiastic Lincoln High School sculpture students.
Faced with an expanding number of art students and an auxiliary space that can’t keep up with the demand, Lincoln art teacher Marilyn Proctor-Givens has downsized her projects. Though she’s working on a smaller scale, she’s committed to offering her students unique learning opportunities.
Brainstorming potential projects, she thought back to an inspiring PMC class she took several years ago.
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