Grand Lake / Art Classes: Discover a new medium |

Grand Lake / Art Classes: Discover a new medium

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

Local artist Patty Alander and Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District are offering a two-day art class in which participants will learn to work with one of the most exciting, relatively new materials in jewelry making today ” precious metal clay.

Two seats remain for this two-day session, but other classes are scheduled throughout the summer at various locations. If you miss the April session, the next precious metal clay class is May 8 and 15 at the FVMRD’s program building and there is another workshop at the Grand Arts Center tentatively scheduled for sometime in June or July.

The malleable substance is made of microscopic pieces of powdered fine silver (or gold) and an organic binder (with some water). Artists mold and carve pieces with their hands and with tools as if they were using clay. There’s even a process similar to piping icing on a cake in which the artist pipes out the medium.

Once the pieces dry and are fired in a kiln, student artists are left with a piece of .999 fine silver jewelry. The heat of the kiln (or a small torch) burns away the binding material, leaving the pure, precious metal.

Artists may incorporate patterns, stamps or punches to emboss textures and shapes into their pieces. The final product could be earrings, rings, bracelets, lockets, beads, pendants, bolo tie clasps, napkin rings, small dishes, sculptures or picture frames. Artists familiar with the process are also finding new uses for PMC every day.

Alander, who is originally from the Chicago area, owns a business called Elevate Art. Among her many artistic talents, she is known for her unique carved pottery (called sgrafitto), stained glass and clay monotypes.

She is a certified precious metal clay instructor. As a potter, Alander heard about the PMC process and already had the skill set for it. She has been using precious metal clay for about six years.

She and her husband, Erik, made their home in the Three Lakes area about 12 years ago and once Patty got settled in she almost immediately began offering art lessons through Fraser Valley Recreation.

Since then, she has shared her talents and passion with Fraser Rec. students for almost a decade.

The class is sponsored by the FVMRD and is being held at the Grand Lake Art Gallery. Grand Lake Art Gallery’s Liza Cervenka, co-owner with her husband Jim, said she’s “constantly amazed by Patty’s talent and her passion to learn other art forms.”

Students will come away from the class not only with a new-found sense of appreciation for the art form, but also with between three and five pieces of jewelry they made during the lessons. Those taking the class for certification may also receive a discount on purchased materials.

For more information on Patty Alander and to view her work, visit her Web site

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