Top 5 Metal Clay Tips from Darlene Armstrong

I recently had the pleasure of working with the Interweave crew, filming four metal clay eCourse videos. The titles of the courses already released are: Getting Started Precious Metal Clay Series: Torch Firing PMC Introduction with Darlene Armstrong and Getting Started Precious Metal Clay Series: Torch Firing PMC Projects – Molded Earrings with Darlene Armstrong. The titles for the soon-to-be released courses are: Getting Started Precious Metal Clay Series: Torch Firing PMC Projects – Overlay Earrings with Darlene Armstrong and Getting Started Precious Metal Clay Series: Torch Firing PMC Projects – Faceted Stone Earrings with Darlene Armstrong. We filmed at my school, The Denver School of Metal Arts, in Denver, Colorado.

Metal Clay Videos: Behind the Scenes

Top 5 Metal Clay Tips from Darlene Armstrong

It is really amazing to work with many people in the room all the time. They had camera operators, a producer, a marketing branding person, script person, and many others. I’m deliberately keeping their names a secret! Needless to say, it takes a lot of people to produce a teaching video. Having makeup applied (in piles) first thing in the morning was a new experience! I wasn’t expecting that! (It did make me look good though!)

The crew made sure every piece of the shoot was on target and that each day’s plan was accomplished. They had 50 pages of script for everything that was to happen and managed kept track of it all.

From My Perspective


Since I was what they referred to as “The Talent” all I had to do is what they told me to do. Sounds easy huh? Well, you have to be alright with performing with everyone watching (luckily I got over being self-conscious after I took up teaching). You have to say your lines correctly and possibly many times with certain intonations until you get it right, and smile while doing it! “Be more perky!!” That was way out of my comfort zone, but I managed to make them happy some of the time! The film crew was sneaky and actually filmed me while I was practicing my lines before the real take, without telling me and often that was the best take anyway and we didn’t have to do a ‘real’ one!

The team was very supportive and great to work with. They worked amongst themselves well too, which was a plus. I had a very good time making these videos but I have to say, it is work. A lot of work! Teaching an 8-hour class is less demanding. I hope the students purchasing online courses realize the massive amount of work and effort, of 10 or more people, over 3 months’ time goes into pulling off an online video course. As I said, I enjoyed myself and look forward to doing more videos for Interweave in the future!!

Top 5 Metal Clay Tips from Darlene Armstrong

Darlene Armstrong’s Top 5 PMC Tips

  1. Work fast. You’ll have fewer cracks.
  2. Make each piece of the project you are working on separately, dry, clean them up and attach, dry and fire. Do not make the whole piece while it is wet! Too many ways that can go south on you.
  3. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try things. That’s how you discover cool designs!
  4. If you are using a butane torch to fire a piece with a stone in it, do not touch the gem head with the flame. Not even once. The stone can change to a brown or pale yellow color, crackle or fracture.
  5. Make sure your pieces are BONE DRY before firing them. I keep them on the griddle all day to make sure. If they are even a little wet inside when you fire, you will have a bubble form in your piece after you fire it. Not pretty.

Darlene Armstrong


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