A Phoenix from the Flames

 

Thank You

Wow. What an amazing two months. I am at a loss for words to adequately describe the feelings of love, relief and happiness that I have felt since the metal clay community came together to fundraise for our benefit. My family and I went deep into debt trying to keep the magazine alive, but it just wasn’t possible. When we finally called it quits, I was scared. Very scared.

I started the magazine out of my studio on a lap top computer… and suddenly it threatened to ruin our lives. In absolute despair, I wrote a letter to our readers explaining the journey. Then I braced for the angry comments. Instead, hundreds of readers came out and started fundraising. Companies that advertised with us donated money and items to auction. And the letters from readers did come, but they were filled with love and encouragement. Some shared stories about how their family businesses were lost due to similar situations. Many mothers wrote to me, understanding what this stress was doing to our family and to our children. I cherish all of these notes. I am also very grateful to magazine publisher Ryan Jones at Jones Publishing who took on our readers subscriptions. All subscriptions to MCAM have been honored by Ryan with his magazine titles.

I would not wish to go through this stressful experience again. However, the most marvelous thing happened. Our community became closer. The comradery, encouragement and friendships developed over the past two months have changed me. I have marveled at the conversations online between people who have never met in person, but whose common interest in metal clay connects them. Friendships made, art exchanged, ideas shared. Amazing.

I had to find a way to keep us together and keep the lines of communication open. Facebook has been a nice way to connect, but conversations and ideas are not easily searchable and get lost in the feed. I hoped that a blog would work better, so I created “Creative Fire” based upon an image from a conversation with a fellow artist. I had quipped that I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. She replied that it was the tribe of metal clay artists—all gathered around the fire I had lit. I want to keep us gathered. To grow in numbers. To continue to share, explore, learn and create with metal clay. We are an amazing group of artists.

Fueling this fire…PMC Connection! In addition to the letter I wrote to MCAM readers, I reached out to our advertisers seeking ways for MCAM to continue. PMC Connection president Jennifer Roberts immediately wrote back and asked what she could do. Like so many, her company donated to the fundraiser and the auctions. When I posted a link to the very rough start of the blog about a month ago, she asked for more details about where I wanted to take it. We both felt strongly that preserving the wealth of information and projects from the magazines was of equal importance to exploring where metal clay is going. We were looking for a hybrid – the best hits of MCAM combined with the future of metal clay. Above all, we agreed that it should be FREE. So, Jennifer and PMC Connection offered to sponsor the re-imagining of Metal Clay Artist Magazine as Creative Fire.

So here we are, dear readers. What this blog becomes is up to you. We still need your photos, your ideas, your questions, and your lessons learned. Most importantly, we invite you to continue the conversation with us. This is our blog. This is where we gather!

Jeannette Froese LeBlanc
jeannette-signature
Editor-in-Chief
CreativeFire.com by Metal Clay Artist Magazine

From our Founding Sponsor

For the past few years, many have lamented the loss of community in the metal clay world. Things appeared to go downhill even more a few months ago when the editors of Metal Clay Artist Magazine announced that, due to factors beyond their control, they could no longer produce the much-loved magazine. But then the metal clay community rallied and came together in an unprecedented way to help Editor-in-Chief Jeannette LeBlanc and her family retire the debt created by the print magazine’s demise. The community was there all along, we just didn’t realize it.

Through the GoFundMe drive and the three Facebook auctions benefitting Jeannette and her family, contributors left countless messages of support, thanking Jeannette and all who worked on the magazine for years of friendship and inspiration. Not only was MCAM an exceptional magazine, it was trailblazing. From its all-female editorial staff to its place on the shelves of mainstream bookstores, MCAM elevated metal clay to new heights.

CreativeFire. It’s an appropriate name for a project born from the ashes of a distributor bankruptcy that turned the publishing world on its head. Everyone at PMC Connection is thrilled to be a part of this new endeavor. The website is in its infancy. But in the coming months, CreativeFire by Metal Clay Artist Magazine will bring the best of the print issues, together with a wealth of new information, ideas, and functionality to your fingertips. Most importantly, it will all be online, available 24/7, completely searchable, and free.

We’re honored to support MCAM in creating its new online home at Cre8tiveFire.com.

Jennifer Roberts

jennifer-signature

President, PMC Connection
www.PMCConnection.com

101 Responses to “A Phoenix from the Flames”

  1. It is amazing how thoughtful and helpful the metal clay community is. For the next auction I would like to donate a woven wire bracelet. Just let me know where and when. I will be having a left knee replacement this summer. Just let me know. Blessings, RobinBeth

    • Thank you RobinBeth. I’ve had a few people say we should repeat the auction next year for a cause near and dear to artists. A few suggestions have been to start a scholarship, to help another artist in trouble, to fund an art outreach program. Lots of ideas out there…and I’m sure we’ll all have more. The most wonderful thing about all the troubles I’ve had is witnessing the generosity and “community” of metal clay artists.

  2. Shelly Reswick

    I am new to metal clay and to this magazine that looks like a wonderful resource. I have a suggestion for an article. I started with torch firing copper clay and after a fee goof ups that went fine. I then tried torch firing Promethius Bronze clay and I could not get it to sinter at all. I s=went through 100 grams of Promethuis trying different things as I fired it trying to get it to sinter with no success. I thought I might have over conditioned the clay so I tried a different piece of clay that I conditioned very little, and so on but still no success. I now think the problem might be that the bronze clay got contaminated with some small amount of copper clay. What is unclear to me is how to go from working with one type of metal clay to another properly without contaminating the clay. I have heard many different and opposing views about how to work with different metal clays so there is no contamination of one metal with another. I have heard that you need to use completely separate tools, texture sheets, rollers, tongs, pickle etc for each different type of metal clay and I have also heard that if you wash all your tools and everything that comes in contact with the clay you do not need to have separate sets of everything for each type of clay. I have heard that you can only use copper tongs on copper but I have seen copper tongs used to pick up silver pieces before quenching. I have seen the same pickle used tor different types of metals and I have heard that you need separate pickles for each kind of metal. I would love to read an article that sets the record straight about how to properly work with copper, bronze and silver clays so there is no cross contamination. Thank you in advance for any help you can offer!

  3. I love to be part of the metal clay community, I paid my annual subscription in the iPad app, but if I have to pay again a new subscription I’ll be glad to do that and please take the other one as my poor collaboration, I wish to help you more, and I apologize for my zero knowledge on blogs and its mechanism!!

  4. So happy this story will have its happy ending. I loved your magazine and so proud to be a part of the metal clay community of artists. I’m thrilled to see the new blog, but secretly wish for the hard copy to be published again

  5. So excited to see the success. I wish there had been time for me to participate. I missed most of the auction. I have been so busy I haven’t been on fb much. So happy for you Jeannette and the for metalclay world!

  6. Marie-Ann Coyle

    As one from Down Under I am so pleased that you are able to carry on, as the magazine and PMC Connection are really the only way I can keep in touch with what is happening. I look forward to the new format. Well done and good luck.

  7. RobinBeth Faulkner

    I’ve been making jewelry with PMC since 1996 after I read an article by Mr. Tim McCreight about this new interesting material called Precious Metal Clay (PMC), I turned to my husband and said “I’m getting this”. Took my first class with Linda Kaye-Mose and I was on my way. I am very glad this is back and going to continue as it was a wonderful addition to clay (PMC, Copper, Bronz etc.) I look forward to enjoying every work.

  8. Such energy to get this up and running so quickly! Jeannette, do let us know if there is anything more we can do towards eliminating the debt, you should not be left with ANY… ‘the labourer is worthy of his hire’ as a celebrated teacher supposedly said two thousand or so years ago. Fantastic pleasure from the mag, and now from the blog too. I LOVE PMC Connection for stepping in to sponsor your continuing inspirational work!!

  9. After moving from Central PA last summer, I’ve been trying to find a community in my new life. I couldn’t have imagined a virtual community would have been so amazing and inclusive, galvanizing people from all over the world with sharing and caring hearts. I’m so thrilled to be a little part of this group!

  10. This is wonderful for all the metal clay community. Thank you for your dedication and hard work! I’ve purchased your magazine from the beginning which was a wonderful resource for all especially new artists like myself. I’m looking forward to this new chapter with Cre8tive Fire and the metal clay community.

  11. This is such wonderful news! I’ve totally been inspired by your magazine and your dedication to the metal clay world. Thank you for providing a forum and community for metal clay artists even for newbies like myself!

  12. I was so thrilled to hear about Creative Fire!!! MCAM has been such an inspiration and resource for my own creative fire for the past five years and the thought of loosing it was unthinkable. I am incredibly grateful to you and PMC Connection for continuing to feed our flames. Happy Dance! Happy Dance!!! You know I am here for you and you know what my skills are so PLEASE call on me anytime you need anything I can help with. I have a question for you that I intended to email privately but then thought there might be others out there who could benefit from your answer, so — For us country folk with limited data, what is the best way to send you large files (e.g. photos)?
    Good Luck and Happy Trails!!!

  13. I’m so glad Jeannette that your dream will continue. And in so many ways YOUR dream became OUR dream. MCAM nurtured my growth with every issue that was published, and I’m sure that this was true for so many of us. You’ve got a new dream, we’ve got a new dream, and if I can help that dream grow in any way please let me know. Kudos for your perseverance Jeannette and kudos to the metal clay community for their solidarity. Although I wouldn’t have expected anything less from it.

  14. I am SO thankful to be a part of this rebuilding process even as a newbie. It’s difficult to find the excellence in instructors that I’m discovering here. I’m taking my first class on line with Holly Gage and it is wonderful to learn from such an accomplished artist. Let me know how I can help. I’ve been in business in the arts for over 40 years making a living. If there’s anything I can do, let me know!

  15. As the (apparent) first male member of CreativeFire, I congratulate and commend you for continuing the tradition of MCAM. The metal clay community needs all the sources of information and inspiration it can get. Yours has been, and is now still, one of the best. I hope you and participants in this blog will help to further the evolution, expansion, and integration of metal clay in the jewelry-making arena. Bring it on with CreativeFire!

    • Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

      Hear! Hear! Right on! I think our community of artists has gone through a serious phase these past two months. Besides being stronger as a group–I also sense an increased pride. We are metal clay artists. We are not imitating another art form–this is our media. Now on to the next phase…upgrading our skills, sharing our ideas and maybe even setting up some technique standards.

  16. When I left the world of pottery a couple of years ago and started on my journey into metal clay I was really worried that one of the most important aspects of my life as a potter, the community of wonderful craftspeople, would be lost to me. Little did I know that this community would also be a warm and welcoming one. I am so glad to be a part of another group of creative people that are watching out for each other. I look forward to participating fully.

  17. Julie Cannariato

    Such great news! Thank you Jeannette for all you’ve done for the metal clay community to unite and inspire us and thanks to all the community that helped support this endeavor, especially Jennifer and the great folks at PMC Connection. Job well done all! Julie

    • Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

      We are definitely here because of community support! PMC Connection has been an advertiser and supporter of Metal Clay Artist Magazine since issue number 1!

  18. I’m so glad to hear there will be a new outlet for all our metal clay ideas. Your magazine started just before I did and it has been an incredibly valuable resource. I went all over town looking for my first issue which was the one with the first sterling clay recipe. I finally found it at Books a Million and I was ecstatic. I ordered all the missing issues from before my subscription began and I look forward to seeing what this blog will have to offer. Hopefully I can contribute too. Do pictures go to you at editor@metalclayartistmag.com too?

    • Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

      Wasn’t that a great issue? Lisa Cain did an enormous amount of work on that clay recipe–and then shared it with our community!! Please do contribute! MCAM was written BY metal clay artists FOR metal clay artists…and so will Creative Fire! Yes that address is where to send photos for the gallery and ideas for articles and posts!

  19. Audrey McDonald

    Congratulations , this is wonderful news! You have lit a fire under me to get creative again ! The excitement I felt when your first issue of Metal Clay Artist Magazine was published I feel once again! At eighty pluss it is never to old to learn more ! I look forward to watching and reading Creative Fire as it develops ! This is an amazing Community and you are a very Special Person Jeannette!

  20. Karen King

    Like a Phoenix!!!!! Thank you, Jeanette, for your tireless efforts and commitment in the face of adversity to keep this community connected. Thank you also to Jennifer and PMC Connection for sharing in the vision and sparking the “CreativeFire” for all of us. Well done.

  21. Congratulations. When I started metal clay, my creative fires were on fire. Love working with silver, but the current prices are a bit challenging. So I started working with base metals (tried many different kinds and brands), but my results are never consistent. So I moved from metal clay for a while. I even have one piece still sitting on the bench ready for the kiln fairy. Well, I just want to share this because your story is bringing me back to metal clay. I want to find my creative fire again. I know they are many like me that struggle with firing base metals, maybe you could write about this in your blog someday. I wish you the best. I am sooooo looking forward the next steps…

  22. I love the feeling of such a tight knit community. The fact that everyone came together to help someone that has helped us so greatly, brings tears to my eyes. Thank you Jeannette Froese LeBlanc for not giving up and for being so transparent to all of us! Another reason why I’ll follow :)

    • Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

      Thank you Anise. I am forever grateful to our community. I thank all of us, all of the artists, all of the clay manufacturers, all of our advertisers and all of the metal clay teachers–both those who teach in the studio and for those who have contributed to the magazine since 2009.

  23. This is fantastic ! I know very little about how blogs work but will be learning if there is anything I can do to help I will definitely be spreading the word in nz we sometimes feel miles away from anyone here this could help bring us closer Thank you!

  24. Marilynn

    I am so happy for you and me and all the other wonderful metal clay people that I have been learning from. As a 70+ young lady :), I am just venturing into this wonderful world of metal clay and had just discovered your magazine and then I couldn’t find it, it was very disappointing. So, this news has made a new metal player a very happy old chick! Thank you so much!!!!!

    • So happy to hear your rising out of the ashes like a Phoenix . I loved your magazine and received my certification from pmc connections. I’ve been teaching pmc, copper, bronze clay , enamel and metal smithing for the past eight years. I would love to help you in any way I can. Articles , projects videos. What ever you need. Please take a look at my website. JoAnnWadler.com Thank you again for rising out of the ashes!

  25. Jeanie Babbage

    I’ve been working with metal clay for less than a year.. I had found a few places online for info and looking for my ‘community’. I think I have found it.

  26. Terry D'Addio

    This is wonderful news. I am so happy that something good has come out of something so stressful and sad. The Metal Clay community is awesome! Looking forward to Creative Fire!

  27. Hi Jeanette and Carl
    I”m so glad that you’re back and specially that your family and you are out of danger….
    Pleased to see this website. I’ll miss the ” old” magazine though. There is still metalclaytoday but they were complementary and MCAM was very beautiful AND useful.
    Welcome back (In a way you’re back in France too, as you are in the other 99 countries)
    Fran

    • Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

      Thank you Fran–love being in France! :) One step at a time…I too want the luscious printed pages of MCAM–but the more I learn about what we can do online and having the material free to anyone, anywhere–maybe this phase of our life will be even more exciting!

  28. Sue Timcke

    What wonderful news! It just shows what a bit of ‘people power’ and support from a caring company can do, I can’t wait to see how it all develops. Sending love and luck from the Scottish Highlands x

    • Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

      Exactly! Wonderful community we have and super company PMC Connection to see the need and to help out! And thank you for the Scottish luck! My grandmother was from Glasgow!

  29. laura simmons

    Excellent news and kudos to pmc for supporting. Looking forward to great things. And maybe one day I’ll consider my work good enough for the gallery. One day….

    • Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

      Oh Laura–send me your photos. We’ve never held back showing off the work of all metal clay artists. We are all learning and sharing from each other. And yes isn’t it wonderful that PMC Connection helped get this new phase of MCAM off the ground!

  30. Lucinda Bos

    I have to say that I am amazed at this turn of events! I am so happy that Jeannette and her family are on the road to a better life, and that she is going to be able to keep her dream alive, and watch it continue to grow. Your company is a very special one as far as I am concerned. I actually just got my order from you today, my first one with PMC Connection after seeing you on FB. I am pleased with everything about it. And I will be spending whatever I have in my budget with your company. You are a light at the end of more tunnels than you know, and you Jennifer are a very special person. I look forward to the partnership between you.
    Cindy

  31. I had only begun to enter the world of metal clay. I have since become an instructor. It is so wonderful to have the talent, creative process and tools of the trade to grow and learn….and create! This new journey will be begun by all of us sharing and supporting all you do! Thank You!

  32. Loretta Hackman

    This is awesome! Congratulations on the continuing endeavor, and many thanks to all who are working on this. This community that you helped to create is too important to lose. Let me know if there is any way that I can help!

    • Jeannette Froese LeBlanc

      Thank you Loretta! Well the next step will be to gather material! I’ll be hunting for ideas, projects, photos, questions… We are an awesome group of artists. I spent 20 years working in pottery and never felt this close to a group of artists.

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