The making of Lady Liberty - metalsmithing on an iconic scale
This summer I had the good fortune to visit my niece in New York City. Along with my mom and sisters, we got to see her awash in the fun exciting energy of the city, following her journalism dreams as she interned at NBC Nightly news. Normally when I visit the big apple I stick to galleries and general nyc mayhem, but this time around we hit some iconic staples- Rockefeller, 9/11 memorial, Ellis Island, and of course the Statue of Liberty.
Part of the reason Lady Liberty was such a highlight for me (in addition to having a great reminder of America as a welcoming country) is because the process used to make her - repousse hammer forming - is one I frequently use in my sculptural work. Repousse is the art of hammering metal from the inside (or back) to create a form. It is often paired with chasing, which is hammering from the outside (or front) of the form.
I thought I'd share some images from the museum for those who are curious how she's made...
Here’s a time lapse video showing one of the copper forming processes on a much smaller scale in my studio. Here I’m working on one of my vessel sculptures.
There you have it! Pretty amazing for those of us who geek out on metalsmithing. For those of you who want first hand experience with this process, the next workshop I'm teaching is right up your alley. October 7-8 at Pratt Fine Arts in Seattle, I'll be teaching a Metal masks class where we'll be hammering copper sheet much like you see here (only thinner metal and smaller pieces!)