Author of CHASING: Ancient Metalworking Technique with Modern Applications, Marcia Lewis has been chasing metal for over 35 years. Trained in many media, married to a wood worker, metal is still her choice though she often combines it with papier-mâché, wood, polymer clay etc. A Navy Brat, Marcia’s parents saw to it that she had art lessons no matter where they were stationed. Settling in Southern California, her middle and high school arts education was far superior to what students have in these same schools today. Her undergraduate education was at San Diego State University and graduate school followed at Cal State University at Long Beach. Following graduate school, Marcia worked in Switzerland as a goldsmiths apprentice and in London as an assistant silversmith. She received a George C. Marshall Memorial Fellowship to work in Copenhagen and a National Endowment for the Arts Grant before taking up her career teaching post at Long Beach City College where she devoted 25 years to establishing the Jewelry/Metalsmithing and Functional Arts programs in the art department. As Professor Emeritus, she now offers workshops to all levels of interest (high school through college age). These workshops are a service to the field that has sustained her through life and is now so lacking for students in these difficult economic and political times.


Her work, both jewelry as well as functional pieces can be found in collections such as the Oakland Museum of Art in California, the National Museum at the Renwick in Washington DC, the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in New York, the National Ornamental Metals Museum in Memphis as well as many private collections.


There are two ways one can create three-dimensional objects, additively and subtractively. The subtractive method is not conducive to metal working because metal cannot be carved as expediently as other materials such as wood, stone or plastic. Cast metal is heavy and is more about wax working than metal working. Engraving is subtractive, but only on the surface of the metal and makes no impact on the form itself. Chasing is a method of working metal where both the form and its surface can be involved. As an art student, I initially worked subtractively by carving wood. In my first metals class, I struggled because the fabrication process was additive and therefore technically new to me. It wasn’t until I discovered the technique of


chasing that I found my niche. It allows me the freedom to work almost as intuitively as I had in carving. Chasing allows me to be less concerned about weight in my forms because the metal is very thin and light. With the addition of repoussé through die and hydraulic forming, the chasing techniques have become a way to make my statements in metal contain maximum three-dimensions, but with minimal attention to engineering and technology. Cast metal can be chased to increase control of the surface so one needn't be a superior wax worker if one is adept with using punches. Chasing is one of the oldest methods of metal working and the closest I have come to working subtractively in metal.