The design of a piece usually goes something like this:
Explore designs with sketches.
I may sculpt the design directly in metal clay. But sometimes I sculpt it in polymer clay and make a mold.
The dry metal clay is delicate, but can be sanded and adjusted after drying.
The metal clay piece is fired in a kiln. This bronze piece must be fired in carbon. After coming out of the kiln the piece needs to be cleaned and polished.