How to get my hackles up!

I recently read the following on the Ganoksin Orchid board from a traditional metal smith:

“There are two uses that I can see with PMC.

One is to introduce people to a starter form of jewellery making,

which is good– and the other is to make money for the people that

supply it.

For the rest, there is nothing that one can do with PMC that cannot

be done better, neater, and cheaper with carving waxes.

I have never seen a piece made with PMC that is up to an

international standard.

When I see ” Certified PMC Instructor ” my BS meter hits bright


I would not mind so much if they admitted they are certified play doh

instructors but to insinuate that PMC makes quality jewellery is

just plain bollocks.

PMC simply dumbs down jewellery making and produces an inferior


And if you don’t believe me, type in precious metal clay into Google

under images.

The pictures say it all.

It also consumes an inordinate amount of electricity in relation to

the finished product.

End of rant.”

So, my question to all of you metal clay artists out there, how would YOU respond? and should we? I must say I did respond, and none too kindly. The Ganoksin Orchid Board is highly respected with thousands of readers daily. What do you do when your work and medium are insulted so openly? How meek should we be? Just shake our heads and think, “well, he’s just one person and he can’t do much damage,” Really? Now thousands of jewelers have read his message.

Are we, as metal clay artists, just having fun? Are we deluding ourselves and just wasting time? ARE we just misinformed and misguided wannabes that can’t and couldn’t succeed in traditional metal smithing?

For one, I’m hopping mad. Angry, insulted and glad I’m not face-to-face with this ignorant idiot. It’s one thing to be wary and suspicious of a medium you haven’t even tried, but to be so judgemental without even learning about it, and THEN posting it on a well-respected Board is just, plain dangerous!!!

Read his comments again, and tell me you’re not offended.

I’ve always said that we need to educate the public. And that includes bench jewelers and all traditional jewelers.

And I’ve also said that the beginning years of metal clay hurt us in that so much inferior work was put out there for people to see, before we became experts, before we knew what metal clay was fully capable of.

So, please, please, educate, educate, educate. And don’t let remarks like this go unnoticed. Call these people out. This prejudice may not seem in the same league with race remarks and fat jokes (which offend the hell out of me), but this is our livelihood and what makes us artists. We need to speak up for what we are proud to be a part of.

End of rant.


13 thoughts on “How to get my hackles up!

  1. You go Jackie! I am a wire wrap artist and have always wanted to learn to work with metal clay.I find his comments very insulting! Glad you gave him what for. Some people have too much time on their hands and are bullies hiding in a computer.


  2. With regards to the Ganoksin Orchid board from a traditional metal smith: Maybe this person feels threatened or is afraid of the competition from metal clay artists. There is room for all types of media, and if your work is good, you shouldn’t have to worry about what other people are doing. For me, metal clay work is a form of sculpture, and it allows me to do things I wasn’t able to do with traditional metal smith techniques. It’s added dimension and texture to my work. If I made something with carving waxes, wouldn’t I have a long process to get it made into an actual piece? Just saying.


  3. This person obviously has never touched metal clay. There are things you can do with metal clay that you cannot do in other jewelry media – including wax. (Try rolling a texture on a hunk of wax…) I trained as a traditional metalsmith and I now work in metal clay almost exclusively. My work is not “dumbed-down” and I AM insulted by this person’s comments. He/she is entitled to an opinion but I think he/she is making comments/accusations/generalizations on a whopping lack of information. Looking at photos on Google is not informing yourself of what can be done with metal clay – or anything else – it’s what someone chose to post! Unfortunately there is no fixing stupid!


    1. I agree. Ever try folding origami from wax? Can’t be done. Metal clay has allowed me to push origami in directions no one could have imagined 20 years ago.


  4. this person needs to see the wide variety of work done in mc…sounds like maybe the person has only seen work done by intro students…not unlike what one might see from a newbie to traditional mc. Sad to see such ignorance.


  5. Thank you Jacki for speaking up for us Metal Clay Artist, knowing you and learning from you I know how much time and effort you put into helping us all to understand, and enjoy working in this medium. For myself and my husband we have several health issue that would not allow us to work in “traditional” metal work. Obviously this person who wrote the article has more issues than just the metal clay medium, probably has never used it. I worked with fused glass for many years, in the old days the goal was to have everything smooth-no bubbles. Now the things people are doing is amazing and would have been frowned on by traditionalist, for example actually using products to make bubbles happen. Everything changes and evolves, we should all admire each others talents and skill levels, be encouraging and share otherwise the medium will die out. While not all mediums are things I may want to do I still like to see and learn about the process it takes for the artist to get there.
    On a personal note I had something similar happen to me, a local bead shop owner was interested in having me teach classes (metal clay). When I went back a few months later, she told me she couldn’t hold metal clay classes there because her “traditional” metal workers would not like it. Of course all of the other bead shops in the area have closed except this one. Like I said previously if we don’t teach new techniques you won’t gain a new audience who may not have come in.
    I know this is long and I am sorry, but again thank you Jacki. The End of my rant


  6. Jackie – thank you for posting this blog! I’m SO PROUD of my Art Clay certification and really find working with metal clay rewarding and challenging! How arrogant of this person to insinuate that there isn’t a curve to working with metal clay! As a trained metalsmith (with experience in traditional handbuilding…and pretty much every other art medium…as well as a degree in Art History…there may be a slight possibility I may know a thing or two about metal and clay techniques, but hey…I’m no Hans 😉 – I know from working with this medium that there are varying degrees of skill involved (but isn’t that all mediums?)…I have to say…regardless of how you work with metal (in whatever form!), depending on how deeply you want to delve into it, you have to know the material (Bauhaus 101), so a taking metallurgy into consideration is usually necessary when you want to achieve a specific result. I love metal clay – I think that the medium is still so new that maybe some people don’t understand its potential and unfortunately criticize it. I think what you do is fantastic – you provide people with tools and knowledge that allows them to create and be imaginative. People NEED that in their lives. Someone who needs to insult a medium like that sounds pretty insecure to me.


  7. I started out doing traditional metal smithing techniques about 25 yrs ago and my mentor was a guy who did wax carvings and centrifugal casting. Metal clay made jewelry come alive for me. The man is soooooooooooo wrong.


  8. I began my journey in creating jewelry 22 years ago as as a traditional metalsmith. Metal clay opened up so many possibilities for me that simply weren’t possible with traditional techniques. While I will admit, there is a certain amount of instant gratification with metal clay at a basic level, to achieve any advanced technique requires lot’s of bench time and education. In my humble opinion, it is this persons ignorance of metal clay that would make him feel this way. I’m sad for him..


  9. I just did an google search for “metal clay jewelry” and the 1st few images were from Gordon, Marco, Barbara becker-simon and others of that caliber. All which rival some of the best cast jewelry out there. I’m sorry but there is crappy cast jewelry out there too- not everyone is a master. To judge a medium by beginners or poor craftsmen is just being a terrible person and looking for ways to be negative. Thank you for sticking us for us Jackie!


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