I've been working with bronze on and off for 15 years. While they are on the small end of the spectrum size-wise, they are not hand-held pieces. Some of them begin as carvings in plaster. I then take a mold of the carving and cast it in wax. Next, the petals are built in wax on the cast of the carving. Then this wax original is taken to the foundry for casting. These waxes are most times so fragile that they cannot withstand the mold making process, thus I cannot get a mold of them prior to metal casting. If something goes wrong in the metal casting, the work to date is lost. I have been working for years with New England Sculpture Center. The skill that the team their brings to the table always impresses and I've been lucky to work with them. I do the finish work in my studio and bring the finished piece back to the foundry for the patina (the color finish of the bronze). The works with the pine-cone surface/petals are extremely labor intensive as each petal requires a degree of grinding and four stages of sanding.
Plaster is the first material I ever experimented with as I discovered my 3-d proclivity. I've been making sculpture ever since. During formal training at Mass College of Art I learned how to work with wood, glass, bronze, soap, you-name-it. In the end I came back to plaster, after adding bronze to the materials list. The immediacy offered with plaster has always been compelling, with the more labor-intensive bronze pieces being made in tandem. The ease of carving and bone-like surface continue to satisfy my designs. Plaster has offered me the freedom to play with form more than any other material, thus the opportunity to evolve. Each piece is an original carving or an assembly of them. The carvings are sanded from 80 grit screen down to 1500 grit paper. Like the bronzes, these are sensitive to hand oils and are not meant to be handled.