Innovative chasing

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 steel punches that she makes by hand. 

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.

To Alice, it's like drawing in 3D.

What is Chasing and Repoussé?

It is the technique of moving sheet metal from both sides by hammering steel punches into the surface of the metal, whilst supporting the work 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. Using only simple tools, you can create a wide variety of styles, forms and textures.

  • Repoussé

    Repoussé is pushing the metal from the back of the piece, usually pushing out larger areas. Rounder punches are used for this.

    In this stage, Alice works from the back of the piece to push out areas for the crystal shapes with a rounded punch.

  • Chasing

    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.

    Once the crystal shapes have been repousséd into rounded forms, Alice works from the front of the piece, using punches with a tiny flat surface to move the metal into the flat, angular crystal shapes for which she is known.

  • Pitch

    Pitch is the substance used to hold and support the metal in place while it is being worked on. It is soft when heated and hard when cool. The pitch is held in a bowl in order for Alice to hammer the punches at different angles.

    Traditionally, bitumen is used — a type of asphalt that's used on the roads. Alice uses different pine resins as her pitch, as it is more environmentally friendly.

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Commissioning a chased piece of silverware...

Between the initial drawing and the finished piece, chasing and repoussé is a major part of Alice's making process...

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Above: a commission from New College Oxford for their permanent silver collection.

Read more about the commisisoning process below.