Art Nouveau Repousse Figure in Copper
This hand made plaque was created using ancient techniques of chasing and repousse. This is a motif classically derived from the Art Nouveau style. I drew this from an antique book-end and then sculpted it into the copper sheet by hand.
Following transferring my drawing to the annealed copper sheet, it is placed on a bed of warmed chasing pitch. I forged my own steel tools and use them to outline the drawing. The chased design is then inverted and steel tools used to push metal from behind. Then the piece is removed, re-annealed and further details chased from the front.
Each piece requires a minimum of 3 turns (this one took 6), often more as the metal is progressively sculpted into relief entirely by hand. Using 26 g copper a medium-low relief can be obtained. I pushed the limits of the 26 g metal for this piece.
While I may make duplicates from my drawings, each piece is a one of a kind original, no two are exactly the same and each is hand-worked. For this piece I used a solution of Liver of Sulphur to provide a dark patina with hints of red and purple. The copper is lightly coated with wax to soften the patina (which will continue to age gracefully) and somewhat protect the surface.
Notes on presentation: The wooden plaque (6.5 in square) is pine treated with an oil-based stain. Then it is coated with 3 coats of semi-gloss lacquer. The copper (about 4 in square with a ¼ inch bent edge) is mounted with small decorative tacks. There is silicone adhesive behind the copper to both improve adhesion and to support the work in case of small bumps and bruises. This piece needs care as it is elevated above the surface of the wood and a sharp blow could produce a dent. Please note, this is an indoor presentation, not intended for outdoor display!