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Picking up the Graver

pracetice engraving on steelRecently I started engraving again. I say “again” because I had been engraving a little bit before summer hit, but with events and the subsequent insanity of Fall, I haven’t touched it. Now I’m doing a little bit of engraving, every day until my graver gets dull and Brian needs to resharpen it for me on his faceting machine.
It’s been wonderful!
For those that don’t know, I used to be an animator. My specialty was hand-drawn animation, done either on paper or in programs like Flash with a tablet. My career was barely started when I heard the words, “You have carpal tunnel,” from my doctor. I could barely react before it was followed with, “In both hands.” The solutions were either surgery, which would restore 80% of my functions (if I’m lucky), or just don’t draw anymore.
Drawing was something I had done every day since my fat little baby hands could hold a crayon! You might as well tell a fish not to swim, or a bird not to sing. I sunk myself into metalwork so I could still make money, create and not lose my mind. Eventually, my hands got better. The muscles around my wrists grew and were able to support the “drawing hands” and about five years ago, I could draw again.
By then, the animation world had changed, and frankly, so had I. People I had known in college were leaving the studios in droves, burnt out in every way. Technology I had mastered was now obsolete, and I was incredibly rusty, to boot. But I had found that making jewelry combined my art skills and my obsession with history into something that I could do every day, without pain or fear of further damage.
I still missed drawing.
So I looked into engraving. Drawing on metal. I went to an intro class back in May and I feel like I was given drawing back. I’m being smart, though – I’m letting the tool do the work and I’m taking breaks to stretch. I still have some more practicing to do before my engraving can go up in the shop, but keep your eyes peeled. I like to post my practice work on Instagram.

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Engraving, War Practice and More

So, yeah – WOW.

Things have been a whirlwind for us here, on many different levels. I finished my Basic Engraving class, and it was AMAZING! Oh my goodness, engraving is fantastic. If you follow my Instagram feed, you know I love to draw, and this just combines drawing, jewelry and metal into one form. I can’t wait to combine it with things like gemstones and enamels. If you want to drool over some epic engraving, check out Sam Alfano’s Instagram feed – @master_engraver. Beautiful stuff!

After engaving class, we drove back from Kansas and clelbrated Lemony’s SIXTH BIRTHDAY! Whoo hoo! Then it was time to prep for our first solo SCA event, War Practice at Cooper’s Lake, which was this past weekend.

First off, Cooper’s Lake is beautiful. I’ve heard about it, but as you know, hearing about something and getting to experience it are two entirely different things. My one regret is that I didn’t get to go down and see the lake, but I’ll make sure to go see it and wander about for a bit next time.

Everyone there made us feel so welcome! It meant a lot to us SCA newbies, and Lemony had a wonderful time playing and making new friends. She even tried Youth Combat and loved it! I appreciate all of the suggestions I got for ways to get medieval on my displays. I think I’ll use them for mundane art shows as well, because why not? And I’ll be sure to get my documentation together. I don’t really make direct replicas, but my work is often inspired by specific pieces.

What now? Well, I’m waiting for my engraving tools to come in the mail and I’m planning for next month’s shows. I’m also thinking about circlet designs…

Did you go to War Practice? Is there anything we should look up or do at our next SCA event? Leave a comment and tell us.

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Engraving Classes, Day 1

Today was Day 1 of five here in Emporia, Kansas. I’m in the Beginner’s class being taught by the amazing Sam Alfano. He makes it look so easy!
I had some trouble with the handpiece, but he suggested the smaller Monarch one, and it’s working much better for me. But I want to do some more research, then get some sleep. More tomorrow!

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