Learn | Issue 4 Summer 2021

Please describe your work history/experience since you began metalworking. I have always had an artistic nature, and from an early age would produce pen and ink drawings, the subject composed of thousands of tiny dots. Later, I encountered Scrimshaw and found myself transitioning to producing ‘bulino’ style images on ivory, antler, and bone. These were used in rifle grip-caps for sporting rifles, knife scales, pens and walking sticks. Engraving metal was yet another medium to explore, and was allied to my existing work on sporting goods, so a natural development. The differing styles and techniques required for the varying pieces I engrave have ensured that boredom is never an issue. As soon as you become competent in one style, you realise that you still need to put more time into developing your skills in another area. Twelve years later, I am still enjoying learning and developing the skills needed to produce quality work. Having worked with some great people and wonderful projects along the way, I definitely find myself placing increasing importance on this aspect. I am now in a very fortunate position where I can pick and choose the projects which excite me the most and I only want to produce pieces that are done to the best of my ability. After all, I made the choice to become an engraver, and my aim is to continue enjoying the work. This may be a bit idealistic, but it works for me and keeps me smiling!

When creating a new piece of work, what process do you go through (sketches, research, etc.)? For me it helps to have the object in my hands. This tends to give me the certain feeling I need to start creating the design. The size, the shape, even theweight in my hands, all help to guide me toward a design style for that piece. It also allows me to achieve accurate templates, which are essential when attempting to find a perfect fit of design and medium. Inspiration for a theme having been obtained, the actual process of formulating a design is not easy to describe. There are the obvious rules, and the design needs to be bold enough to see with the naked eye, and of course, balance. A sense of balance is as important as the design itself. After much pencil lead, I get a ‘gut feeling’ that tells me I’m going in the right direction. Where do you go for inspiration? Are there particular artists that inspire you? I am a huge fan of Victorian architecture as well as the era as a whole. This forms much of my inspiration. Artists such as Escher and Dali have long been favourites for me. Even as a kid, I was a huge fan of the fantasy genre and the artist Boris Vallejo. There are a few true, master engravers out there, whose work I adore, from composition through to execution. In their work, it is very easy to see the passion they have for what they do. I have huge respect for those people, and feel sad for those who simply see engraving as a job and pay-cheque.




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