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MEET our Metal Artist

Dan Davenport

I have lived all of my life in the country in the house where my mother was born. This has given me a great appreciation for nature that inspires my artwork.

Since retiring from my first career as a police officer in Michigan in 2003, I have been even busier with my artwork. I joined the Art a la Carte Gallery, Occoquan, Va in 2011 where you still can find my art. Along with my wife who does the packing, unpacking, and helps with sales, we have done art shows week after week as far away as Utah and Florida. My art form is Repoussé, derived from the French word pousser meaning "to push forward." This ancient technique has been used extensively throughout the history of metalworking.

All my patterns are created by hand carving a design in reverse on a piece of steel. The smaller the design, the more intricate is my carving process. Because it is tedious, one works on a design a few hours at a time over weeks to months depending on the size of the final work and how much detail is in the design.

To help you understand our process better ... the dogwood or any pattern is created only once. This is what is carved in reverse image in a block of steel. Every piece of dogwood is created from the same original steel block no matter how big or small the finished piece will be.

We don't make every design in every size because not every block of steel is the same size. Hammering the aluminum on the back side forces the front of the aluminum down into the reverse carving in the steel and that is what picks up the forward image on the front of each piece. Each piece starts out as a rectangle or square and gets clamped tightly over the steel carving cause if the aluminum moves, it's junk with a blurred image. If you don't pound it closely enough you have a part of the image missing on the aluminum. Then it gets cut out to the proper size, sanded, edged, antiqued, and formed.

I’ve created the pieces to be functional because I like functional art, but you can decide whether to simply let your eyes enjoy the artwork or put it to use. They are easy care with just soap and water clean up. I hope my pieces give you as much delight as I have had in making them for you!

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