Great company here, glad to find

griff silver

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
351
Location
Katy, Texas
Thread starter #1
I am so glad to find this site, I am a hack looking to get better. My question is how does one become a "master Engraver" by title? Is there certifications one can earn as he learns? How does it work?
 

Attachments

sam

Chief Administrator & Benevolent Dictator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
10,015
Location
Covington, Louisiana
#3
Welcome to the Cafe. I think the only way to get 'certified' is under engraving instruction in Europe, if they still do that.
 

monk

Moderator
Staff member
::::Pledge Member::::
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
9,220
Location
washington, pa
#4
join the fega organization. they certify people. but i'm not sure that they certify one as "master". i think their certification is just simply "certified professional".
 

griff silver

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
351
Location
Katy, Texas
Thread starter #5
I may have been misunderstood. At what point does one gain the ability to put master engraver as a descriptive credential. Is it the ability to do all types of engraving, or can one specialize and be a "master of that area". I am self-employed for 10 years now. Engraving is not my strong suit but I wish to make it. How will I know when I can claim to be a master engraver?
 

griff silver

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
351
Location
Katy, Texas
Thread starter #8
Whats so funny??

I get the feeling I asked a bad question. I am aware that Sam and many others are masters with out question but they were not born that way, they learned it and practiced. I believe that perfect practice makes perfect not just practice. I have never had any formal training for engraving I just figured it out as well as I could. I do not even personaly know anyone that is a great engraver. So my entusiasm Is that on this sight there are some masters of the craft and my question was about direction more than paper. (path to follow) However I have been on my own since I was 20 and make a full time living mfg and engraving. That doesnt make me a good engraver. I understand that talent does not make people sucessful, marketing does credentials are a marketing tool, Talent and ability are what one wants for himself. I am no different.
For spur collectors this link might be of some intrest to you. www.wps-spurs.org
 

sam

Chief Administrator & Benevolent Dictator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
10,015
Location
Covington, Louisiana
#9
There's been much discussion on this topic before, but not here in the Cafe. Maybe some of the FEGA guys can talk about their experience with the 'master engraver' discussions. From what I know, unlike Europe, there is nothing to stop anyone from using the term 'master' in America. The closest thing we have is FEGA's 'professional engraver' status, and that is a good goal if you're looking for one.

Whether it's master engraver, master woodworker, or master guitarist, you should probably be able to 'deliver the goods' if you choose to use such a title.
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
4,969
Location
Christchurch, New Zealand
#10
Hi Griffsilver

My undersatnding of the word "Master" is that it comes from doing an indentured apprenticeship. Basically that the apprentice studies under the master who had also done a formal apprenticeship. When the apprentice graduates he in turns has earnt the right to be a master and teach an apprentice and so the cycle continues.

In New Zealand we don't use the word master anymore but it was in common use up to about the time of world war 2. However if you are a tradesman (person) and you want to teach an indentured apprentice all the paperwork that you have to fill out still uses the word "master". You can only teach an apprentice if you have a master tradesman working for you or you are a master tradesman yourself.

The word "master" in a title can be looked at a couple of ways I guess.

The first is to say............Master engraver e.g. my work is of master quality...which is more of a marketing thing and usually a self appointed title.

Or......... Master engraver...............which is a recognition of your qualification that you recieved by completing a formal apprenticeship. A good example would be Marcus Hunt, Master Engraver. No different than a Doctor putting all their qualifications after his name. In other words, a formal title that is earnt and you have the right to use.

Just because you have the title Master dosn't mean you are any good at it. It is purley a recognition of a qualification and tells the world that you should have reached a certain degree of compentancy in your trade. Just like good doctors and bad doctors the proof is always in the end product.

That's been my understanding of it as I'm a master signwriter because I did a formal apprenticeship under a master. In turn my daughter is also a master signwriter as she did her apprenticship under me. We just don't use the actual title anymore which is a bit of a shame as it was a recognition of an achievement/qualification more than anything but in some parts of the world it is still very much alive.

I'd be interested to hear what others have to say as well.

Hope this helps you a bit

Andrew
 
Last edited:

TallGary

Elite Cafe Member
::::Pledge Member::::
Joined
Mar 16, 2007
Messages
201
Location
Plainfield, Illinois
#11
Guilds

There is an interesting discussion of guilds and the guild system on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guild

Guilds were organized around crafts -- bakers, smiths, etc. The general progression in the craft was from apprentice to journeyman, to master, to grand master. A journeyman wishing to move to the level of master produced a "master piece" for judging by the guild. If successful, the master craftsman could open his own shop, acquire and teach apprentices, employ journeymen, etc.

Gary
 

KSnyder

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
613
Location
Toledo, Ohio
#12
I think it all boils down to when you attend a show (as a merchant/engraver) the general buying public will decide for you as your work compares to others.
Like all the others said, your work will speak for itself, the title is well, just a title imho.
good luck,
Kent
 

sam

Chief Administrator & Benevolent Dictator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 6, 2006
Messages
10,015
Location
Covington, Louisiana
#13
I think it all boils down to when you attend a show (as a merchant/engraver) the general buying public will decide for you as your work compares to others.
Like all the others said, your work will speak for itself, the title is well, just a title imho.
good luck,
Kent
Very true, Kent. A title is just a title, but in the jewelry trade there are various levels of jewelers who work hard to achieve certain certifications. Hopefully someone who knows more about this will comment, but it's my understanding that in order to earn a 'master jeweler' certificate you must pass one hell of a difficult test (building a piece of jewelry). A shop (or customer) who then hires a jeweler pretty much knows what they're capable of if they have this certification.

A customer who employs an engraver to engrave his gun can rest assured that a FEGA Certified Professional has proven him or herself and is capable of delivering high quality work and is not a beginner. Of course the customer can also determine this to a certain extent by viewing the engraver's work.

It's been a hot and controversial topic for many years, but I'd like to see some sort of grading system similar to what the jewelers have if it could be done in a fair and honest way.
 

FANCYGUN

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
1,559
Location
durango , co
#14
The term "Master Engraver", was and still is, being used inappropriately here in this country. What the previous posts have stated about how this is an earned title in Europe is very true. However her in this country, having no formal system of engraving education, the title was used by anyone who wanted to impress the public with their skills. For whatever reason people find it hard to just say "I am an engraver". They feel that by saying they are a Master Engraver would give some validity to their work and impress an uneducated public. If you look at some adverstising that is in various publications with people who call themselves a "Master", you will notice a wide range of visible skill levels. Ranging from amazong to downright atrocious. Most of these are self appointed titles and it shows.
When we at FEGA were trying to come up with a viable title for our judged skill catagory we immediately eliminated the word master from whatever we would decide because it was a word too abused by too many.
That is why we call it "Certified Professional". True it doesn't sound as good as Master but it seperates us from the rest. In the long run. it is the quality of the work you do and the business ethics you practice that seperates yourself from the rest and impress people.
 

John B.

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
::::Pledge Member::::
Joined
Nov 9, 2006
Messages
3,095
Location
Los Angeles area, California.
#15
There are three steps to becoming a Master of a trade by the established European guilds.
First is a full and satisfactory service as an apprentice to a certified Master.
Second is a body of work as a Journeyman worker in that trade, gaining respect and giving trade satisfaction.
Third, the Guild may upon application, examine your work and records and grant a title of Master or not.
A certified Master may take on an apprentice to the trade after acceptance of both parties by the Guild.
Serving an apprenticeship alone does not make you a Master, it makes you a Journeyman.
You become a Journeyman if your Master is willing to sign off on your apprenticeship papers by stating that you gave complete satisfaction during your apprenticeship.
A Journeyman may not teach an apprentice except under the direction of a Master that employs that Journeyman.
A Journeyman working alone can not train an apprentice but may employ a helper.
Having served an indentured apprenticeship in the UK myself during the 1940's this information comes from the papers of the Jockey Club under which apprenticeship I served.
All references at that time were written in the male gender, not too PC by todays standards.
It may have changed a little since then, but not much.
Just a little more fuel for the fire.

John B.
 
Last edited:

Ron Smith

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Apr 6, 2007
Messages
1,455
#16
General comments: As much as a title might mean a higher degree of prosperity for individuals, it woud have to be done by someone who everyone considers as an authority on the subject. That is the one thing that has never been done, and that is the reason we don't have any organized method of evaluation. We would have to elect an unbiased committee or something in order to fulfill this goal. Until then I don't think it will ever happen. Having been on a number of evaluation committees myself, I personally wouldn't want the job. Egos can sometimes be very wrathful and vengful. I think to be successful, this committee would have to be elected out of a great number and then kept secret, or you might find yourself caught up in a vengful act.

I also think that a title is just that. Unfortunately, the process and achievement of the title "master" has been confused and postponed or elongated by uneducated journalistic reporting, along with the imposters and marketers serving their own egos. These are self motivating factors, and I think the "real" master puts the love of the art far above his own welfare, because the drive that is required to achieve such a high honor is called Passion. While lesser artists are being exposed and touted, the master is at work perfecting his skill. One falls in the arena of marketing, the other falls into personal perfection, with no desire to confuse or decieve the public. Passion is the overwhelming force that propells us all, but the patience, endurance, determination, tenacity and commitment to practice, are the character building blocks of the master, and I don't think there is a fast way to get there. I do know this...If you are humble toward your skills, there will be many who will help you get there quicker. On the other hand, if your ego over rides the truth, you will probably have to go it alone, and you may or may not ever reach that goal because those helpers will tend to go around you. Personally, I would rather be judged a professional by certain, time honored standards, than a "master" by opinion if you know what I mean, because I would rather be overjoyed if I am right in my own opinion, rather than humiliated if I am wrong.............and that is my two cents on the subject...........Ron S
 

Ron Smith

~ Elite 1000 Member ~
Joined
Apr 6, 2007
Messages
1,455
#17
Griff, from what I can see, even though some of the examples are small, You have a good eye for design, balance, and accuracy. I think you have what it takes in the catagory of spur maker right now. Engraving would be a whole different catagory and you would have to meet it's criteria. Many of us are multi faceted as to talent as well, but quality is it's own catagory too. As you look around at quality engraving, I think you will be able to decide on your own whatever standards you have achieved. that is how we all have done it up to now. Get in the right environment and you will get help and you will get there faster than you might think. How to tell otherwise? You will hear a lot of oohs and awhhs from those who have already made it there and you also will get a lot of encouragement. If you have what it takes I or no one else can stop you. Forward!....... Ron S
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
4,969
Location
Christchurch, New Zealand
#18
It’s fascinating reading all the posts on this topic. Here in New Zealand we have lost the journeyman thing and I can’t recall it ever being used in my time in the trades. I do vaguely remember that a certain amount of time had to elapse after you finished your apprenticeship before you could teach another apprentice. I never really took much notice seeing as it never really affected me. It’s interesting how some things change over time and meanings get dropped or altered.

I do wonder at times if by dropping these levels of qualifications/titles/recognition etc are we doing ourselves and our industries a disservice?

All industries, including engraving, are constantly talking about customer education and being valued for the skills that we have and carry out everyday. By making everything one shade of grey and not recognising different levels of achievement by our own peers, are we saying to the public that we don’t even recognise our own skills?

If we don't recognise/celebrate our own levels of skill then how are they supposed to?

Just food for thought on an interesting subject.

Cheers
Andrew
 

griff silver

Elite Cafe Member
Joined
May 11, 2007
Messages
351
Location
Katy, Texas
Thread starter #19
We Would All Be Welders

I hope I didnt imply that I thought I was a master. However some of you are masters(profesionals). As I read through the internet info on a lot of you guys it seems that this guy works with that guy then that guy and so on. I have seen some of this type of work ( sam, ron, etc) It is jaw dropping to me. as of yet I cant comprhend how i might be able to do that, yet since it can be done I will learn. I am aware that my abilities outside of western engraving and spur making are insuffecent. I have looked a FEGA and thier criteria and It seems to do what it should. I have no confedence that I could satisfy there requirements to be"certified". That is why I am so glad to have found this sight. In the normal course of my life I would not cross paths with this type of talent and acheiving the level of quality I've seen here would be much less likely. I am motovated by the openness of such talented engravers and there tutorials. Master or not I look forward to becoming a better artist. I have known for years that if you guys made bits and spurs we would all be welders. LOL Griff
 

monk

Moderator
Staff member
::::Pledge Member::::
Joined
Feb 11, 2007
Messages
9,220
Location
washington, pa
#20
i think your status as a "master" is a title earned by your body of work. at some point in time other people in time begin applying that label to your name as your work begins to take on a higher level of quality. i don't think too many engravers go around saying i'm a "master" engraver. others, as well as their work says it for them. some on the forum i would call master, some i would not. and there's no fine line there. jm2cw
 
Top