Thursday, April 15, 2010

It doesn't take much

It doesn't take much to amuse me. For a long time I've know that silver balls can be made by torch firing the silver until it balls up, but I've never done it. Tonight I was a little bored, so I took ACS sheet clay (which I've had for a long time), cut it into little squares and took the torch to them. How cool (showing my age again) to watch them turn orange and ball up into little silver balls.

I started with ACS but now use PMC brand metal clay. Lump clay, paste and syringe from both brands are very similar, but the sheet clays are very different. ACS sheet is shiny, stiff and very much like a sheet of metal. PMC sheet is more like a piece of leather. At first I liked the ACS sheet because of it's similarity to sheet metal, but my preference changed over the years. I now use PMC sheet exclusively. So, I needed something to do with the ACS sheet. Turning it into little balls was my answer.

I also wanted to show some students how to ball the end of fine silver wire. Of course Murphy's law prevailed and the wire would not agree. So, it also got turned into silver balls. It balled up beautifully (after my students had gone.) Oh well, it doesn't take much to make me happy.


Anonymous said...

FYI, Alice, one reason I like using either fine silver or Argentium silver for my wirework (rather than plain sterling which has more of a firescale problem when it's been heated) is that I can collect the little leftover bits and pieces from that and make little balls from those.

To me, that just seems more ecological than simply tossing them, and more efficient than saving them up until I have enough to send them off to a reclamation service. Plus, it's such an easy way to get little balls to use as embellishments in a design.

Alice Walkowski said...

I'm with you Carol. The next time I order wire, I'm getting Argentium. That way I can fuse jump rings too.

Fine silver wire is too soft for some applications, but good for firing in with the metal clay.