I clearly remember my first time working with a new material that looked like clay but was not clay at all. I just could not believe this clay was in reality pulverized pure silver mixed with organic binders to make the metal have a consistency of clay.
I was starting taking metalsmithing classes at Southwest School of Art in San Antonio with the wonderful Chair of the department (metals) at that moment, Claire Holliday. She mentioned to me about this great material that she tough I will love to learn how to use it. I was very curious to see this "magical" clay and decided I will be taking her introduction class. When the class started I was anxious to get my hand into this material and see first hand what was all this about.
I do have to be honest with you when I first put my hands into the clay I was so stressed because I have an obsession of having my hands clean ALL the time. The clay was in my hands and fingers and I had to clean them very often, I did not realized I was washing away SILVER !!!! The class was fun but I was not very much convinced about it, mostly because I did not like the idea of my hands getting dirty. I continued with my metals classes and left the metal clay on the side for a while. I just did not know what to do with that material, it was until I got in another class with Claire Holliday that I finally realized the great potential this amazing material has. Since then I have been creating most of my work with metal clay (PMC3) and every year that goes by I can see through my work how much I have progressed.
These are some of my first pieces I made with silver metal clay. As you can see my obsession with hearts has always been present in my work.
The Milagro Heart at the bottom left corner was made during my first ever class with metal clay.
Next to this piece you can see a hollow carved bead, my first bead I ever made too.
The earrings were the first time also using a stone in the jewelry.
The heart on top was made because someone love my first heart (the one at the bottom) but I already had sold it so I had to recreate another in a bigger size.
This rosary was made a very long time ago !!! I used my first cross I made during my first class and a center piece also made on my first class.
I can definitively see how much my work has change since the time I made this piece.
When my teacher and mentor, Claire Holliday, retired from Southwest School of Art; the students decided to make pins or pendants for her as a way to say Thank You to her great teaching and guidance all these years. I could have done the piece with sterling metal sheet but I decided to make it with metal clay since she was the person who taught me how to work with it.
Later on more types of metal clay came to the market, first was bronze clay. I was eager to try the new clay and I played in my studio with it making these pieces.
It is so great to go back at my pictures and see what I was making more than 5 years ago, very few of this pieces are with me now.
I can see how with a lot of practice and not getting discourage because maybe something did not fired correctly, I was able to mature and get better.
Now I do not care if my hands are dirty any more, on the other hand I WANT to get dirty with the clay and create, create, create !!!!
How was your experience when you started creating your art?