Wooden Book With PMC and
By Christine Cox
Briefly, here's how I made this book using
an experimental technique with Precious Metal Clay (PMC) . I haven't
worked out all the bugs, but there's potential in using unfired PMC.
The book has shiny/burnished/unfired PMC,
matte/darkened/unfired PMC and shiny/fired PMC for 3 distinctly
First I prepared 2 pieces of oak for the
cover by; cutting to shape, drilling for sewing, sanding and staining.
I cut a piece of clear plate glass to the
height of the finished book. For this book I cut one river shaped piece
of glass and then cut that into 3 wavy strips. I lined the edges
of each strip of glass with PMC, reassembled them and then fired the
joined piece in a glass kiln. The metal clay sinters in the kiln and the
pieces of glass become one unit. Note that the glass in my book fades
from a soft yellow to a darker amber color. That is caused by the silver
reacting with the soda ash in the glass during the firing process.
To hold the glass inlay into the wood cover, I carved a "riverbed" shape corresponding to, but
slightly larger than, the 3 strips of glass. I then lined the riverbed
-- bottom and sides -- with unfired (raw) PMC which I then burnished
just as hard as I possibly could (being careful not to crack the thinned
wood) with a metal burnishing tool. This made the clay look like
I mixed up some 2-part epoxy and smeared it
all over the PMC in the riverbed and then laid the glass into the resin
while it was still wet. This left some great bubbles that resemble
After the epoxy was dry I "grouted" the
edges of the glass along the walls of the riverbed to make sure that the
glass was bound on both long sides with PMC. If you try this, be careful
not to get any PMC into the grain of the wood as it stains badly (voice
of experience). I then burnished this PMC as I did earlier.
After the PMC
dried I carefully brushed liver of sulfur over the exposed PMC "grout"
to darken it.
I then sewed the book together using Keith
Smith's Type lV board attachment and a Coptic Stitch.
If I was to use the unfired techniques in
this article again, I would carve the wood to the exact shape and size
of the fired glass/PMC piece, forgoing the "grout" around the edges. I
didn't like the finished look as well as I might have and it can be dug
out with a fingernail. Perhaps a layer of epoxy over the top is the
answer. Let me know what you come up with!