Metal tooling as an Art Medium


Here are two examples of my repousse pictures. Each of these is 8.5x11. 


Here are some projects made by my students.

When I was teaching art in the public schools, one of my favorite projects to do with the kids was Repousse.  The definition of repousse is to hammer or press metal into a relief, or raised picture, from the reverse side.  Originally, we used copper, but when the price of copper skyrocketed, I found that aluminum worked just as well. 

I would order rolls of 12” wide aluminum that was thicker and more durable than aluminum foil, but that could still be tooled. I would cut these into sections so that each student had one.

There were three things needed. First, a soft surface like a piece of carpet, leather, or some sheets of felt sewn together; a tooling stick (a 6” length of dowel, about a fourth inch diameter, with one end sanded into a wedge and the other end a blunt point; and a ballpoint pen for pressing in details.

It occurred to me that this could be as valid a medium for artwork as paint or drawing media, so I made several pieces using this technique.

On my YouTube channel, I have a video about how to execute this technique, so I won’t explain it here.  But here is the link to the video in case you’re curious or are thinking of trying it.

One difference between my repousse pieces and my drawings and paintings is that these aren’t easily reproduced. Part of their appeal is the surface textures, and a photo of one of these just doesn’t cut it, in my opinion.   Consequentially, there is only the original.  No fine art prints to be sold.