I took a PMC (Precious Metal Clay) class over the weekend. I'd been meaning to do this for years; I've always been good at sculpting small objects, but bridging the gap between my original sculpture and metal has been an often-frustrating experience of dealing with casting companies. Though I finally did find a caster I like a lot, metal clay takes the caster out of the picture entirely. PMC lets me sculpt an original, pop it into the kiln, and get a pure silver piece soon after. No wait, no mess, and no real cost (other than the cost of the clay itself). It's fantastic.
Working with the clay was a little different for me; I'm more used to polymer clay, which can be worked for a long time without drying out or getting messy. PMC dries out pretty quickly, but water moistens it up again (and also makes it messy). The trick seems to be "add water, but not too much" to keep it workable. I might buy an atomizer to see if that will help. I'm also delighted to find that the dried clay is very carveable, using small carving tools and an exacto knife.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the class. Working with PMC really seemed to click with me, and I'm looking forward to doing more with it. (Once I acquire all the tools and materials needed, anyway.)