I am learning to hand engrave on silver. It is very difficult and painstaking but I love the fact that it is a very direct way of patterning metal. Yes I have a tool in my hand but it is a small tool, used almost as an extension of my hand.
I took a workshop 18 months ago where I first picked up gravers to work on silver. I planned to go home and start practising right away but I left it a long time as other things inevitably intervened. I started again this past winter and tried to practise regularly but it wasn't going right so I contacted the instructor of the workshop - Jane Short - and she invited me to come to her studio for a day of instruction and practice. It was wonderful and just what I needed to get the feel of it again and ask a lot of questions.
I am not so interested in traditional engraving, script and lettering, scrolls and figures. I want to use the technique within my own aesthetic sense. It combines well with enamelling as you can engrave a recess for the enamel to sit in which can itself be further engraved with pattern as I have done with the piece above.
I am aiming to practise often now. A little everyday is ideal and I did that for several months cluminating in this piece of engraving fired with enamel. I must start on another piece right away as time flies and I don't want to get rusty.