One of the best things about working at Rio—besides the animals, of course—is the frequent opportunity to take all sorts of classes and workshops about jewelry making. I’m not much of a jeweler (by which I mean “not a jeweler at all”), so the goal of teaching me anything about creating art like this is an uphill battle. That said, I was ready to take on the challenge at Yvonne M. Padilla’s all-day Beginning PMC® class.

Sitting down at the bench in our Saul Bell Training Room, I was greeted with this:

PMC Class 1

My workspace (including coffee mug)

On the bottom-right, see the gray pouch with all of the tools in it? That’s the Rio PMC Tool Kit, which contains a retractable scalpel, a tapered-point chisel Colour Shaper, a polyblade, brass brush, Cool Roller and spacers, bent burnisher, shrinkage ruler (which is AWESOME), paint/slip brush, awl—all in a roll-up pouch. Here’s a closer look at it:

PMC Class 2

The awesome Rio PMC Tool Kit, which each student gets to use/admire/be impressed by

Yvonne—who wrote one of the first books about BRONZclay™—gave us cool info on PMC, its background, what sets it apart, and what it’s capable of making. Did you know how easy it is to create amazing jewelry designs from scratch without casting or soldering? And this was all before we even got our hands dirty.

PMC Class 3

Yvonne holds our attention (and the materials folder)

PMC Class 4

Me wondering if I will ever be able to make something as awesome as Yvonne does

As soon as we got our hands on actual Fine Silver PMC+, fellow students and I got to work making pendants from a mold, custom bails for our pendants, and “5-Minute Earrings” using texturing stamps. We went on to sand, texture, and carve in preparation for firing. Yvonne filled us in on every step of the kiln-firing process, and even gave us a demo of torch-firing. We tried out beautiful post-fire finishing techniques that you can achieve by hand, and some brave souls used patinas to add color to their pieces. Best of all, we got to take our creations home with us! My classmates put together amazing pieces—here’s what I came up with:

PMC Class 5

Yes, that is a ziggurat on the right

Major kudos to Yvonne, the education team, and everyone else who had a hand in making the class such a cool experience. If you’d like to take the next Beginning PMC class in May, 2013 (or one of a whole bunch of other, equally awesome classes), check out our Learn with Rio page for links to our Jewelry-Making Classes and Winter Workshop series! Which one looks the most interesting to you?