I got an urgent email from a jewelry friend. The subject line was “I need your help.” She needed some metal clay and in a hurry, too fast to do mail order, where could she get some?

I wrote back right away with 4 ideas, and thought of another one the next day. Many of my suggestions had to do with calling other metal clay artists in the area to see if they had some on hand that they could sell her.

Of course, there’s also the Blick stores, which sell PMC 3, and the Chicago suburbs are also home to Art Clay World, so driving there is another option.

What if that happened to you? An opportunity comes up, a commission, something, and the deadline is tight, could you get your hands on some metal clay? Who would you call?

Sometimes folks in jewelry are a little hesitant to network with each other; sort of a competition thing. But just as in any other field, you’ve got to network, got to have contacts.

Where to start? Join your national and local chapters of the PMC Guild or Art Clay Society.

If your local chapter has monthly meetings, make an effort to attend.

Online, use social networking sites such as LinkedIn.

Make sure you know people before you have an urgent need. Networking has two sides — so be ready with what you have to offer.

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