by Linda Kline
Director of Education
The staff at PMC Connection tells me there is one question that is most frequently asked by teachers: “How much silver should I buy to be ready for my class?”
It doesn’t matter how long I’ve been teaching, that’s a dilemma that presents itself at the start of every class.
In “season,” November-April, I have weekly classes at Vero Beach Museum of Art…….IF the classes have enough registrants to make. Unfortunately, I don’t know if that will happen until a few days before the start of the class. That leaves little or no time to order adequate tools and silver in time for the launch of the class.
In the good old days when silver was $17-25 a gram, I could afford to order excess and keep a generous inventory. But the extreme rise in prices and shipping costs has put the kibosh on that luxury. These days, I eek through by estimating what I think I’ll need. But it’s frustrating and causes a lot of stress and financial strain. I can’t afford to order too much and sit on the inventory. Neither can I afford to run out of silver for my students.
If I’m low on silver or caught short-handed waiting on an order to arrive, I’ve got a few fallback projects that I can pull out of my little bag of tricks. PMC Sheet and fine silver wire are really good resources to have on hand and can be used in many different ways. You can twist some fine silver wire, for example, cover with multiple layers of PMC3 Paste, add some bling, fire, and you’ve got some pretty spectacular earrings. Or dazzle them with PMC Sheet. It’s less expensive than clay, and has unlimited creative options. Try some abstract folded or origami designs for terrific earrings. Or, cut out some paper punched elements and add them to fine silver wire to make some affordable, lightweight earrings. A change in materials can be a wonderful tool for helping students break out of a design rutt.
In short, if you have unlimited financial resources or you’re psychic, you have it made. If you’re like most teachers, however, the best we can do is what we do best: wing it……with panache, of course. Think head and always keep some materials at the ready that you can use to challenge students when your best laid plans leave you temporarily short of metal clay.
Somehow it always seems to work out okay……