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Picking up the Graver

art engraving life metal engraving practice

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Recently 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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