Last week, I was at a Drill Engraving course with Katharine Coleman at West Dean College, just south of London. I have always enjoyed the engraving workshops that I have taken, none of the have required any previous knowledge, and while it might one day be nice to have a master class for more experienced engravers, I have always really enjoyed the mix of people that shows up to these classes, from people totally new to anything glassy, to people experienced in glass but new to engraving, to experienced engravers. There is always something to learn from each student, and the variety of people that enrols and what brought them to engraving is always interesting.
Most of the engraving I’ve been doing since shortly after I first started at Sheridan has been on a lathe of some sort, and I’ve not enjoyed drill engraving very much. This course was good, because I’ve actually developed a taste for engraving with a drill now. As much as I like the lathe, the detail you can get with a drill is impressive, and it is nice to be able to use the tool like a pen, bringing it to the glass rather than having to bring the glass to the tool. It is much more portable too, requiring only a small amount of equipment, all of which is ugh light than y lathe, of course. It was nice to use higher quality drills, I learned how to use the speed changes and lower settings to control the finish, and we learned a lot of things about modelling in intaglio and polishing small areas, which was very useful. The drills we wee using are lovely, and didn’t do that horrible “my hand still feels like it has it’s own personal earthquake going on” thing for hours after you stop engraving, which makes it much more pleasant to work for long periods of time. I’m looking forward to beginning to incorporate more drill engraving into my work in the future.