Chasing and Repoussé
Alice is one of the only metal workers in the world to re-create and re-imagine mineral specimens using the technique of chasing and repoussé, making her work completely unique. Forming such sharp angles and flat areas to recreate the crystal shapes is extremely difficult and time consuming, and requires specially made punches that she makes herself.
Her signature sparkling diamond texture is made using diamond burrs as chasing punches, creating an imprint of the tiny shards of diamonds on the surface of the metal.
What is chasing and repoussé and how does it work?
It is the technique of moving the metal from both sides using specially made punches and a hammer, whilst supporting the piece in what's known as pitch.
This ancient technique has been used amongst metal workers for thousands of years and has been passed down through generations.
Repoussé is pushing the metal from the back of the piece, usually pushing out larger areas. Rounder punches are used for this.
Chasing is refining the detail from the front. This may be flattening areas, adding texture, or moving the metal in a way desirable to the design.
Pitch is the substance used to hold the metal in place while it is being hammered. It is soft when heated and hard when cool. Traditionally, bitumen is used — a type of asphalt that's used on the roads. Alice uses pine resin as her pitch, as it is more environmentally friendly (and smells better!).
Using this research, Alice uses sketches, paints, creates collages from photographs, and plays with compositions of shapes and texture.
Where Alice started...
Alice first discovered chasing and repoussé on a course with silversmith Bryony Knox, and from there she fell in love with the versatile technique.
Using this new skill, Alice developed chasing and repoussé into her work during her final year of university, adding her own unique way of adapting this ancient technique.
If you would like to see more of Alice's chasing and repoussé, or commission a piece from her, please contact her.