Metal clay excites me and I like to share information about this amazing medium with everyone I talk to.
But one of the things that makes me cringe is when someone says (after I talk about how it starts out in a clay form and ends up being metal) so you use molds to shape it? Somehow that makes it sound like all I do is push it into a ready made shape and fire it. So I proceed to clarify the large variety of processes used in creating a piece of metal clay jewelry.
One of those processes can be using a mold. I show them pieces where I made the piece first out of polymer clay, cured it, and then made a silicon mold of the polymer piece to be used with the metal clay.
Of course there are times when a ready made piece (like the buttons I bought yesterday) are used to make a mold. Those molds can be used as is but that wouldn't be very artistic (or legal.) The artist uses that form as a starting point and creates something totally new from it.
The example here is created from a plastic button. (Making it in metal gives it a whole different look.)