Lizard Wall Sculpture, hammer-formed brass

by shelbyvision on November 16, 2009

I guess this is repousse, although I do it a little differently than the norm. I don’t use pitch, because I hate the mess, and I prefer to be able to work from both sides, switching back and forth readily. The first four pictures show the beginning stages, with just wood for backup. The material I’m using is 16 gauge brass. It’s punched and hammered from the back, and then pushed in around the edges in front. The last picture shows how far I was able to go with it before it needed to be annealed.

There were several repeats of this process of hammering, punching, annealing to get to the degree of three-dimensionality that I wanted. The pictures just show a few of the steps. The next pictures show a new technique I discovered, using a very short stake that just protrudes above the stump enough to be useful, and make it easy to hold the piece to work on it. This one is being used to shape the legs.


Here’s another similar tool I used to get an undercut around the edges, especially the front of the head.


In the next picture I’m planishing the body, using a more ordinary stake. I didn’t try to planish the legs; I knew that would get me into a world of trouble. Then hammering the texture into the background.


Then the finished piece, front and back.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

shelbyvision November 17, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Thanks Jason. A lot of fancy expensive tools do not make an artist.

jasondeck November 17, 2009 at 12:10 am

It’s incredibly bad ass as always, and I’m continually amazed at the level of mastery you show with the most basic set up.

shelbyvision November 16, 2009 at 3:05 pm


jason November 16, 2009 at 2:51 pm

Ahh, so you’re sinking it directly into the end grain of the stump?

shelbyvision November 16, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Thanks Jason. No, I’m not using the holes, but rather the solid wood. Yes, I do use a sandbag, and used it some for this piece.
Thanks, Jerry. Yes, it’s something I came up with after discovering how nearly impossible it is to use a normal length stake for this. It actually requires three hands, and I only have two.

Jerry Fowler November 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I like that idea of putting a small punch in the stump and then working against it. It looks like I will need to try making a small stump and experiment with some copper. Nice looking lizard.

jason November 16, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Beautiful work, once again.

In the forming of the legs it looks like you are punching down into the holes of the stump, but I’m not sure how you are forming the body. Are you using the same small round holes? If so how do you keep the elongated body from picking up smiley marks from the hole along the length of the body? Do you ever use sandbags for sinking?

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