Saturday, 1 July 2017

Stop the page massacre, invest in an environmentally friendly hand engraved silver bookmark

Hello you!

Have you noticed a hole in your life? I know, you really missed my blog but it's back. Well, when I say it's back...I don't know for how long and I am not going to make empty promises. I have been on this planet long enough to know that they usually are well hollow. BUT: I am going to try my best at writing stuff on here on a more regular basis. I really am going to do that. Well, at least that is what I am thinking RIGHT NOW! ( I wrote the last sentence in bold characters just to show you how serious I am about this.)

I have a new project that has got something to do with engraving. I'm making bookmarks. Why, I hear you say? Why not, I answer back. Books are great and you really don't need to destroy those beautiful pages by earmarking them. I say: Stop the page massacre, invest in an environmentally friendly hand engraved silver bookmark. Just like this one.



Yes, I did this. And in this blog, I am going to document the making of another bookmark. It's a commission and I'll show you how I'll make it come to life.

Right, I'll get on with my life now and if you are happy to read my sentences, let me know by leaving a comment. A positive one. The negative one(s) will be taken down OR if they are witty enough, laminated and framed. Actually, scratch that, this would encourage bad behaviour on your part and I know that deep down, you are a good person and you love me. Thanks.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Wolf howling at the moon



This was an interesting engraving to do. I decided to engrave one of my favourite animals, the wolf, on a William Henry knife. The original photograph depicted this wolf surrounded by snow.
At the very beginning, I actually wanted to depict the snow. But then I thought that incorporating the moon in the design would be... cool. ( I am trying to think about another word, but just cannot find one at this moment in time.) I was rather happy with my decision but then something rather obvious struck me:
moon=night scene. And dear reader, engraving a night scene is not that straightforward. I was confronted with a few challenges. What technique would I use to depict " The Dark?"
Ha, hang on a second, I will tell you all about it in a few hours. I need to go for a walk in the sunshine  before it disappears!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Engraving of a partridge in flight.


This is probably one of the most exciting engravings I have ever done!
Why?
Well, simply because I was able to reproduce a drawing of a partridge by Jonathan Pointer, a fantastic wildlife artist. 
And then, after I completed the engraving, I showed him the end result. 
Dear reader, let me tell you that it was one of the most nerve wracking hours or so of my life!! 
Waiting to hear from him and see if I had done justice to his beautiful work...that was the ultimate challenge!
What of he hated it?? Would I have to leave the country and work on an oil platform with my friend Chris?
But let us all calm down. None of those scenari happened, though I kind of think that the oil platform gig sounds rather exciting. 
Indeed, I am glad to say that Jonathan was delighted with the result. I had fulfilled my mission: staying faithful to the original material of the artist. And that, ladies and gentleman, is what engraving ultimately is all about.

PS: I am not sure engraving is all about that. But it sounds really good, saying that, a bit like in a Jerry Springer end of show moment. 






Sunday, 28 April 2013

Engravers Inc.


I feel terribly guilty. I had promised in my last entry that I would show you what sort of wax I use. I am not talking about the kind of wax that some of us ladies use in our very brave battle against rogue hair. Instead, setters wax was (ha, wax was!), so yes it was going to be analysed and debated. But that will not happen today. Indeed, what I want to let you know is...( drum rolls please!):

 that I have just become a member of the Hand Engravers Association of Great Britain!

Have a look at their site http://www.handengravers.co.uk

I think that this association is trying to do something highly important. Hand engraving is slowly disappearing here in the UK( actually not that slowly come to think of it). We MUST do something to bring in new people into this highly skilled craft. If we don't, well frankly, we're doomed. ( I sound alarmist a bit. But shock tactics are said to work the most.)
 Reader, YOU could become an engraver. Yes, you could. Just have a look at the website I have  showed you. There is a section about engraving courses in London. Why not go there and have a go? And if in 20 years or so, you have become a notorious hand engraver, well please mention the big influence I had in you deciding to turn your life around. (and do send me 50% of your earnings. After all, you will be rich and famous because of me. Ok, that is a joke. I meant 40%.)

But seriously, I still wonder why it took me so long to become a member. Already the activities lined up for this year sound amazing. Like the opportunity to spend 3 days in Malcolm Appleby's presence. Yes, MALCOLM APPLEBY! He of the Raven Gun. How amazing is that?  
See this link all about the Raven Gun which you can see in the flesh at the Royal Armouries, in the Tower Of London.

So yes, I am looking forwards to taking advantages of the opportunities that the Association is creating for us. Like the paperweight project for example, where you can submit 2 engraved metal paperweights showcasing your abilities. I understand that at the moment, they are exhibited at the watchmakers museum in London. How utterly exciting!

So, I am going to leave you now, with some very wise words from the Association.


"The aim of the Association is to raise the profile of hand engraving amongst potential collectors, retailers and the public. We want to create greater awareness of the craft throughout the United Kingdom with exhibitions, articles in the general media and specialist press, and through our website".

AMEN TO THAT!

Katia

PS: here is a bit of some engraving I am doing at the moment. I cannot tell you what it is. It is a secret.








Sunday, 21 April 2013

Miami Vise



Yes, you guessed it, this entry is going to be about vises. Unfortunately for you Miami fans, the city will not be featured heavily. It actually won't be featured at all. I just fancied making a pun about vises. ( Technically, I don't even think that this could qualify as a pun. I'll check with my lawyer later on and see what he says.)

Without further ado, let me introduce you to my most beloved heavy piece of equipment.





Isn't it just perfect?  Bold, blue and sturdy. I have been working with this beast for more than a decade now. I am very proud to say that it is apparently one of the last Record vises that were built in Sheffield ( UK).
I would have never thought that I could become emotionally attached to a big lump of metal, but I have. We have been through a lot together. 
I will for ever remember taking a London cab with none other than my gravers, hammer and this extremely heavy vise  as I was making my way from the Eurostar to the first workshop I was going to work in. ( Rigby's rifle makers.) 

It is a numero 3 and has been modified to accommodate the needs of an engraver. ( More particularly a gun engraver.)






As you can see, part of it has been cut. This is simply so that it can swivel freely without getting permanently embedded into my chest. ( I must stress that this has nothing to do with the fact of me being a lady. A man would have the same problem if that part had not be shortened.)

The base of the vise has also been completely transformed. A big steely rod has been threaded into it so that it can rotate  360 degrees. That rod finds itself in a hole drilled in a solid piece of oak which is bolted onto my bench. The little pits you see in the wood are not caused by woodworms. It is just what we engravers do just after sharpening the graver. We puncture wood! 


I use lead jaws in order to prevent  whatever I am working on from being damaged or dented by the normal jaws of the vise. I know!  LEAD!!  How utterly dangerous. ( Fear not, I always dress the jaws with a cloth and wash my hands thoroughly in order to avoid saturnism galore. I am a very sensible lady.)







I must also add that many items I work on are not even held directly into the vise as they would simply be crushed by its force. They get the "wax" treatment. ( This will actually be part of my next blog entry so I shall not go into details about it now.)

Well, I think that this pretty much covers up everything I needed to say about my vise! 
I must go now, but first I would like to leave you with a picture of something I have just engraved and am really proud of. A 1mm high gold inlaid letter! Ta-Daaaa!









Till next time,

Katia.





Monday, 15 April 2013

Under the thumb

I am rather new to the world of blogging and I am not sure about what its code of conduct is.
So I am going to make the rules up as I go.

Here goes:

1) I will ignore completely what is going on in the news, even if a major event has occurred. ( there is only one exception to this rule, which is the eminent threat of an asteroid crushing planet earth to smithereens. If that were to happen, I would reveal all the nitty gritty things about me because anyway, there would be no tomorrow.)

2) write at least 3 posts per week for a month.

3) I cannot think about anything else right now so I hereby present the COC's blog to the house.

As I said in my very first entry, I am an engraver. I can prove this. My body bears the mark of the trade. Don't believe me? Well, here is the proof! ( if you are easily upset turn away now as this is not a pretty sight.)





See? There is a big grove in the middle of my thumb where I hold the graver. Ouch! ( it does not hurt, but I like to pretend that it does.)

I also stand all day behind my vise. Yes, I am on my feet for hours. Scientists say standing rather than sitting will lengthen your life by 5.87 years. Hurray! 
Anyway, I bought a special mat that is especially made for us people who stand all day long. At first I was a bit sceptical. Now I am just in love with this mat. It is so comfortable, I am sure I could sleep standing like a horse on it all night.

So here is a picture of me behind the vise. Unfortunately, you cannot see my mat. And that is a shame.




    This picture was taken by a journalist who wrote an article about me a few years ago. Oh yes, I indeed was on sale on the shelves of WH SMITH. ( well, at least Fieldsports Magazine, which is the publication I appeared in, was.)

    And that concludes the second post of this blog. 

    Katia.

    PS: I had something else to add, but it has just escaped my mind. Wait, it's back! I would love it if you left a comment in the comment section. Comment away I say!