Repoussé is a metalworking technique used to create intricate designs and patterns on the surface of a metal object, usually by hammering the metal from the back side to create a raised relief on the front side. The term “repoussé” comes from the French word meaning “pushed up” or “raised.” This technique has been used for centuries in various cultures to create decorative and artistic pieces, such as jewelry, sculptures, and decorative panels.
To create a repoussé design, a sheet of metal is first softened by heating and then placed over a mold or a pitch (a material that holds the metal in place). The artisan then uses various tools, such as hammers and punches, to carefully shape and sculpt the metal from the back side, pushing it up to create the desired design on the front side. This process requires skill and precision to control the depth and intricacy of the design.
Repoussé work can range from simple patterns to highly detailed and complex scenes. It’s often used in combination with other techniques, such as chasing (detailing the design from the front side) and engraving (adding fine lines and textures), to create stunning decorative pieces that showcase the craftsmanship and artistry of the metalworker.