I’ve been using this time at home to explore new things and to revisit some jewelry techniques. I’ve been working a lot on repousse’. When life gets back to something approaching normal, I will have improved my skills.
A few years ago I took a number of classes in a high relief approach to repousse’ that produces a very distinctive version of this art form. As I created more pieces, I realized I was producing jewelry that looked way too much like the instructor’s designs. I wanted to develop my own style – something more mainstream. So, I’ve worked on my basic approach and I’ve been refining my technique studying with other people.
Here’s a photo of what things look like at the start of the project. The photo shows an iron bowl with pitch and a few of my tools. The metal piece to be shaped sits in the pitch while you work on it.
Repousse’ takes time, but I really enjoy this technique – there’s a sort of “zen” about tapping away on the metal and watching the forms develop from a sheet of copper or silver. It’s amazing – using tiny tools and hammers, I’ve created a dimensional finished piece from a flat piece of metal.
Repoussé means “push up” in French, since the metal is being raised by hammering from the back to create dimension on the front. Chasing is done on the front and pushes back around the pushed-forward designs to define/outline them. The metal is supported in pitch or similar material.
The silver bracelet shown here is far from perfect, but it reflects the direction I’m going. I’m trying two different leaf designs for a couple of bracelets in copper and a small leaf pendant. I’ve added a repousse’ jewelry section to the website for these new pieces and they’ll also appear in the Ancient Arts Collection