If you look at my in process posts, you see that all of my pieces start out as wire or flat sheet. I buy my bronze, brass, copper, nickel, and silver this way. Prior to the industrial age this wasn’t possible. So as much time as I spend forming each piece now, it’s nothing compared to what metalsmiths from the past had to do.
In pre-industrial times a jeweler or metalsmith would have to form their own sheet and wire. They would melt
down gold, silver, etc. into ingots. These ingots were then hammered down by hand. After hours and hours of making the sheet or wire, it was then possible to begin actually forming the piece.
Thank goodness I can buy nice, even thickness metal in the gauge (thickness) that I want. I like to make things using hand tools, but there is a line even I won’t cross. It takes enough time to actually form my pieces. In fact, I should be getting back into the studio right now…