Betelnut Metal RepousseandChassing Wire Art
Metal Repousse & Chasing

Repousse or repoussage is a metalworking technique in which a malleable metal is ornamented or shaped by hammering from the reverse side to create a design in low relief. Chasing is the opposite technique to Repousse, and the two are used in conjunction to create a finished piece. It is also known as embossing. Repousse refers to pushing the metal out from the back side of the piece - Chasing is pushing the metal down from the front. There is a lot of back and forth between Repousse and Chasing when creating a relief. As the metal is moved around it becomes stiff, or work hardened. The metal will crack if the stresses are not relieved.

Repousse and Chasing are techniques for creating 3 dimensional reliefs in sheet metal. The process is a very old one which is often overlooked by metal artists today. It is a direct method of sculpting metal using simple hand tools and hammers. There is no loss of material when forming metal with these techniques - the metal is not cut by the tools but pushed into shape in small increments.  There are as many approaches to Repousse and Chasing as there are artists.

The tools used for Repousse and Chasing are simple punches of specially shaped faces which push the sheet metal around by tapping on the tool with a hammer.  Most chasing tools are made from hardened and tempered tool steel.  The texture of the business end of the chasing tool will be transferred to the surface of the metal. Smooth faced tools like these are often used to move the metal into shape. Chasing tools with textured faces can produce different surface effects and are often used in the refinement stages of Repousse work.

Repousse and Chasing are commonly performed over pitch. Pitch is a resinous tar-like substance which is semi-fluid when hot and hard when cold. It provides a backing for forming the metal that supports it yet allows it to be deformed. The pitch holds the metal in place during hammering and prevents the material from being pushed around, other than what is directly under the chasing tool. The pitch is used at different temperatures depending on the amount or depth of forming required. The final stages of refinement, called planishing, are typical done on cold, hard pitch.

Repousse and Chasing are having wide presences in India especially in the States of Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Paschim Banga as such. The States of southern India is mainly making objects mostly for temple and other ethnic construction and other states like Uttar Pradesh is making commercial handcrafted decorative objects.

Metal Repousse & Chasing

The Invincible Durga - Depiction on Copper Sheet
  Repousse or repoussage is a metalworking technique in which a&nb..