We are pleased to present this project, excerpted from Nancy Megan Corwin’s book, Chasing and Repoussé: Methods Ancient and Modern. In the book, Ms. Corwin takes the reader on a marvelous tour of chasing and repoussé, including the tools, techniques, and history behind this vibrant artform.
In this project, Ms. Corwin makes a leaf from copper using chasing techniques on steel and rubber surfaces. Enjoy!
Simple Low-Relief Design
Here is an exercise in chasing with copper on a steel forming block followed by repoussé on a rubber sheet that has been taped to the block.
- Apply the design to the copper. Tape a sheet of annealed copper to a forming block covered with a thin sheet of cardboard (e.g.: file folder) to reduce unwanted marks on the back side.
- Go over the design with a liner to create a groove. Use less force than when lining in pitch; because the steel doesn’t give from below, the metal will compress and become thin where the liner strikes.
- Apply stamped images or textures at the same time. As you work, the surrounding metal will begin to warp, creating space under the metal. Some of these spaces will become the low-relief areas of the design and some will be flattened in the next part of the process.
- Flip the sheet so the back side is facing up. Slide a piece of neoprene rubber under the metal and use a running punch to give volume to the center vein of the leaf.
- This is what the leaf looks like from the front at this stage.
- Reverse the leaf and finish the repoussé with a rounded punch. You will be surprised by how much height you can achieve by working against the neoprene.
- Flatten the surrounding metal with a wooden dowel or plastic rod.
- Define the outside edge by chasing on steel. Cut out the leaf.