I can't let this go unnoticed...

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Bunic

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Obviously, my posts have brought out the best and worst in some respondents.

On the positive side, I've gotten a few very instructive and encouraging forum responses; some very nice PMs; an invitation to go one-on-one via Skype; and today a small package from Cloudy.

There was no writing whatsoever in it. It contained three things: a template for drawing 'perfect' scroll spines in various sizes; a very bright spot in my week that I'm sure will last a while; and the reassurance that little things can make a huge difference in someone's life and outlook.

Cloudy - you're the (wo)man!!! Tnx!!!
 

eastslope

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Yeah, I really din't like that thread either. Lot of negativity for some silly reason. I think people have to realize this is a forum and they are not obligated to post every time someone asks for a hand. Sometimes I feel that obligation, but I am nowhere near qualified to do so. Your gonna need some thick skin to play around here, but if you can wade through the mud holes, you will find some nice roads and good people on this forum. Most of what I know about engraving came from here, and most of the forum members are an incredibly nice and generous people that have gone above and beyond to offer their knowledge and a helping hand. Hang in there, and don't forget to lend a hand when you can.
 

Marcus Hunt

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Okay guys, hold up a second. What you are perceiving as negativity isn't. I've been through everyone's comments several times on other threads and can only see positive criticism based on the things that have been posted. In fact it's not negative at all, just a reality check. There is no reason you can't get to your destination Mike but please give yourself a realistic time frame. Like it or not, if you've given yourself 2 years to get to Master status you should be at a far more advanced stage than where you're at at the moment. You are making silly mistakes which if you want to become a master engraver need to be understood and worked on. You cannot go about this endeavour by jumping all over the place and trying to cram everything you need to know into such a short time frame.

Things the folks are saying on this forum are (believe it or not) trying to guide and help you. But when you appear to ignore pretty sound advice sooner or later you're going to get a shake up from them because it appears that you're asking for help on the one hand and ignoring the proffered help on the other and so wasting their valuable time. God knows, I wish I'd had this forum when I was starting my engraving career.

If you offer something up for critique and time after time the same errors appear, and you really do want to advance your engraving skills you must listen to what appears to be negative feedback. You must be totally honest with yourself and you must also be able to spot the mistakes you've made and tell us. Don't make an excuse as to why a scroll is wonky. Likewise, you can see and should know at this stage what will make a good scroll spine so there isn't a need to post every one you cut. Keep practicing and repeating that practice until you 'get it' and every scroll in your eyes is the best you can achieve consistently. Then show us but don't expect back slapping unless there is nothing wrong with it. We can't afford to praise unworthy work and you cannot afford 'ata boy's at this stage. You will of course get praise where praise is due.

The one thing that you have not answered Mike is the "Why 2 years?" question. Many have asked this and tried to guide you away from such an unrealistic time frame but why don't you tell us about this fixation? Engraving (as Chris has said in other threads) is not rocket science. But it does take understanding, observation, motor skills and, above all, patience.

If you think that the Master status is something you need to be a professional engraver then think again. There are many fantastic engravers out there that don't carry this tag and make a perfectly good living from what they do. So my advice would be forget this timeframe and enjoy every part of your journey and become a good engraver. It's pointless learning the stuff just to pass a test that gives you a label if you can't back it up with a portfolio of many years good work. Personally, I could have passed the FEGA test at year 3 of my (full time) apprenticeship but would I really have been worthy of the title FEGA Master Engraver? No, in all honesty because I hadn't really built up a list of clients. This (again in my view) is where FEGA have it wrong; you should only be able to apply to pass their test after being able to show that you have been working for at least 5 years as a professional firearms engraver (not necessarily full time). This would give the title some added kudos and make it tougher to get what should be the top award.
 
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Gemsetterchris

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The average length of an apprenticeship is or was 4-5 years.
That is to become profficient enough (hopefully) to have "mastered & experienced" enough to warrant being able to work unaided & figure out problems yourself.

Having finished 5 years of apprenticeship, you have only just begun your profession properly & there is still a heap of skills & knowledge to learn.

This is working fulltime, not an hour a day or so.

I`ve been doing nothing but setting stones for 22 years, i still come across problems that need solving, but knowing what works & why by experience & knowledge finds me an answer.
Debating the fact with lesser experienced goldsmiths is another issue :big grin:

I don`t much like the "master" label, i think you need to be in the game fulltime for at least 25years before considering it.
"Master of the basics within 2 years" would be more appropriate i think.

Besides, setting time limits on yourself is not great unless you set them long enough that you can beat them.
 
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JJ Roberts

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Marcus,I would really like to know what my fellow engraver's on the other side of the world think about we engraver here in the U.S.when it come's to apprenticeship & master engraver? Tell us your thoughts. J.J.Roberts
 

Ken Hurst

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Agai ---- listen to Marcus !!! Do you think he arrived at his present state of quality within two years ---- if so, you still have a lot to learn about engraving. Also, By stating your intentions of being a master in two years would indicate , where does that place those such as Sam, Chris and Marcus who have spent most of their working lives getting where they are today ? One thing for sure is that they took many, many years to acchieve their level of expertice. Good luck with your learning ...............
 

jerrywh

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If mastering this art was that easy, not many would like it or admire it. The value of a thing is proportionate to the effort needed to achieve it. If gold was easy to obtain, what would it be worth?? If I wanted something easy I would try color books.
 

Marcus Hunt

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Chris, that is so eloquently put. As I said before, until I got the nod of approval from my father (without the constructive criticism he usually gave when looking at my work) I never thought I'd reached anywhere close to master status and that was after 20 years full time engraving. And I still feel a little uneasy using the title on my website.

JJ, I'm not quite sure I understand your question properly. Are you asking me to comment on the English v US systems of learning our art?
 

John B.

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For what it's worth.

For what it’s worth,

I've already said enough negative things in reply to some of Mike's posts but I must agree with Marcus, Ken and some others.
Cloudy (Catherine) was an angel to send you a care package, bless her.
But this point’s out the one of the problems you have of following advice given.

Let me talk out of school for a moment, perhaps at the risk offending Andrew.
Years ago I mentioned to Andrew that scroll backbones need checking with new eyes and if failing having the time, to overlay them with a ScrollMaster template as made by Ngraver Company for a quick check. They sell them and so does GRS.
Within days, even though he was in New Zealand Andrew had them in hand by air mail.
He asked for my advice, listened to it and acted upon it.
Great artist that he is, does he need and use them now? I doubt it.
But he has told me many times how they were a great early mechanical aid and quick confidence builder in his early design and gave him a few wake up calls.
And I seem to remember with pride that he passed this advice on to Mike in one of his posts attempting to offer help with your backbones.
His valuable advice was ignored or overlooked until the kind gift from Catherine arrived.
Engraving requires concentration to the written word as well as the design, drawing and cutting.

Andrew has since repaid my couple of tips with untold advice and sharing of engraving techniques and a ton of computer help.
Just today I received a little care package from him with a couple of new toys he thought might help me.
Master, guru, beginner or newbie we all need help, encouragement and advice at times. We are here to help and support each other and that is one of the main values of this Café forum.

For this post to be of some use and for those that may not have seen the templates I will attach a picture.
The large one is the whole scroll template and because they are translucient they can be flipped for reversed shapes.
I cut mine into narrow strips to work better against some of the raised portions on firearms.
The circle templates work well as a check for some elements and other styles of scroll.

Best.
 

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DKanger

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Mike,
I'm glad that Cloudy sent you the template, as I was about to suggest it. I wasn't going to weigh in on this, but it seems like some are still taking the opportunity to pile on. It seems I am the only one qualified to add some insights.

I have an MS in Management and Development of Human Resources. That's two different areas, "Management' AND "Development" and doesn't have anything to do with what used to be called Personnel Management but now commonly called Human Resources. It's about fixing broken companies (big and small), training inept managers how to be effective leaders, and providing training programs for both managers and employees. Many managers may have come directly from an MBA program, risen to management within the company, or be an individual who owns his own business but has no management or training experience whatsoever.

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions!

Most of those who are giving you advice fall within the latter category above. They are self employed and have 15-30 years of experience under their belts. They pick up some extra change by offering to "Teach" others how to engrave, and they do this by "teaching" in the manner in which they learned. There's only one problem with this. You can't "teach" a person anything. You can provide an introduction to basic concepts, or instruct in advanced methods.

However, in order to be an effective trainer, one must be able to realize the unique requirements of each student AND recognize how Adult Education works. Flash back 20-30 years ago when they undertook their instruction. They learned by the "rote" method. Practice, practice, practice the most basic of steps until they progress. This is fine for youth and young adults. Their brains have places to absorb and store new learning. They can form new synapses for hand/eye coordination and retain them. An ulterior motive of apprenticeship programs is instilling discipline into their minds without them knowing it. Many are weeded out at this stage, but one must establish discipline if one is going to be using these repetitive tasks everyday for the rest of their lives.

Contrast this with the adult learner. Each one is different and unique, as they bring a trove of already learned skills and experiences to the table. Adult learners do not respond well to rote learning. Their learning is self-directed. They know what they want to learn, know how to set their own goals, and decide how they will go about doing it. Their hard drives (brains) are already full and starting to become corrupted. Their physical ability to form and store new manual techniques is age-impaired. They retain long term learning (those skills they have already acquired) but short term learning has to be constantly refreshed. Adaptations have to be made for physical impairments as for bad eyes, weak musculature, etc. To accomplish your goals, you have to find what works for you.

These instructors are living in the past and trying to apply what they learned back then. They need to find a new perspective in order to become "facilitator's of learning" because they ain't teachers. To put that into perspective, I would challenge them to reflect on what it would take for them to become an Olympic figure skater at their present age.

Allow me to compare and contract you and Arnaud, who both sought to undertake the task of becoming an engraver. Both of you have resolve, discipline, and determination.

I know nothing of your past, but you are an accomplished artist. When they tell you that you have to go back to the repetitive task of drawing scrolls.........all you hear is Blah, blah, blah and you ignore it. You already know how to draw and that's not on your agenda. You want to learn how to use your tools, so you keep jumping directly to that. Using the scroll template is an alternative to accomplishing a basic task, but you still have to follow their advice about being able to cut scrolls and deduce your own mistakes.

Arnaud, on the other hand, progressed rapidly. He has been a goldsmith for many years and is well familiar with the use of hand tools and design. He already possesses skills which you lack. I read somewhere that Michaelangelo and most other "classic" artists all started as goldsmiths before branching into sculpture, art, etc. I think he is also a bit younger than you. He has an active, inquiring, deductive mind. His proficiency with the computer allows him to do his design on it and he doesn't have to waste needless time developing manual design skill.

Each of you have unique and different life experiences which you must rely on to accomplish your end goal. In addition, there are many senior adults on this forum who are trying to do the same thing. Many have or are about to retire, and are looking to learn engraving, either as a hobby, or part or full time engraver. They all, myself included, will learn and progess in their own manner......as determined by themselves and their collection of life skills and experiences. Those who offer advice here must realize they are dealing with adult learners and not young adults. Their frustrations in having people ignore their advice lies in their lack of understanding in how to facilitate the learning of the adult. However, those same adults must realize their capabilities and adjust their learning accordingly, or realize that at their age, it just ain't going to happen.
 

John B.

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Speaking for myself, I have been engraving for 65 years and an active facilitator of engraving instruction for 27 years.
Having guided the foot and hand of over 600 engraving students to the first step of the ladder, rightly or wrongly I thought I might have a clue when it came to engraving instruction. I'm probably wrong.
In a class room one responds face to face with the individual need of each student.
Here on the forum one can only respond to what the person posts, the previous good information given to them and their willingness to put it at least into trial practice.
And no one is piling on. I'll leave Mike in your capable, learned hands.
 

Marcus Hunt

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Me too....

"They are self employed and have 15-30 years of experience under their belts. They pick up some extra change by offering to "Teach" others how to engrave," personally I think this is a bloody cheek and if thats the way you feel about us you can find your own way.
 
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bronc

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To Marcus, John B. and all the rest of you seasoned engravers who have so generously shared your knowledge and experience. Please don't stop just because a couple guys aren't smart enough to appreciate what you are doing to help us out. For every one of them there are hundreds of others who are benefiting from your insights. I can't thank you all enough for all the great instruction, advice, and good will I have received via this forum.
:tiphat:
Stewart
 
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bronc

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DKanger, there are over 3000 members on this forum and you consider yourself "the only one qualified to add some insights". That is a mighty bold statement.
According to you-- "you can't teach a person anything". Well I don't have a big college degree and I don't have a big job title like you. And I'm sure my IQ is dwarfed up next to yours. But I have damned sure seen folks who can teach and I have seen folks who can be taught.

Stewart
 

gail.m

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I have to second Stewart's comment.
To Mike: After all the help and advise you have been given here, you should be at least able to do some self criticism of the basic idea of scroll construction. It *appears* that you are looking for 'atta-boy' comments, and that is a very shallow attitude to have when you are an adult. Neither does wishing for something cause it to happen, it takes a lot of work and drive to keep on 'practicing the scales', just ask any accomplished musician....and yes, it can be very boring but look to where it leads.;)
 

j.c.

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“recognize how Adult Education worksâ€



WHO CARES!!


This is a forum…Not a school.



“Those who offer advice here must realize they are dealing with adult learners and not young adults.â€


We DON'T have to realize a blessed thing, we offer advice when asked, If the advice is not liked…too dang bad!! Take it or leave it…its free.


“You want to learn how to use your toolsâ€



So? Go sit at a bench 12 hours a day for a few years and LEARN how to use them,
What’s stopping you? After all, what the hell do we know who have been there-done that?


“The road to Hell is paved with good intentions!â€


Here is one more paving bloc in that road for you…

I don’t care if you are a child or a one foot in the grave grandpa…


If you cant learn the basics….



“it just ain't going to happen.â€


j.c.
 

Gemsetterchris

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Time to get back to work or practice ;)
Arguing stuff if time wasted.

Learning takes as long as it takes the individual, age does not help much but we do it for enjoyment first.

If you want to be a pro you have to be profficient in all all aspects & materials. For pleasure nothing matters but to be guided in "mistakes" most likely design related.

Happy scratching whatever you choose.

Take labels such as "master" or "graverguru" with a pinch of salt, let someone else label you as one, not yourself, your work will prove the point over time.
 
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Arnaud Van Tilburgh

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I have tried to calm down and not react on this, but I can't.
As far as I can read and understand English, I never saw this happen here in the Café.
In a way you "live up to your name" Bunic ( be unique)
I admit some of my "making clear" responds to Bunic could have shocked him and others.
If I would have needed that much words, like Bunic received on his requests, without doing something with that, I would have been grateful if one taped me on the head.
I'm not a master at all, just learned in this Café something about design and engraving.
Knowing how to learn, I already can for some time.

I just wanted to pay back for the good lessons I learned here from all of you that tried to help me progressing. And I'm convinced that even I can teach beginners and masters, as we all still are learning.

So I will try not to give advice to those who don't like "brutal clear" response.
But just tell me than, if you prefer I don't participate with some help. I can read, so if you say: "arnaud I don't need your advice" it is OK for me and I will.
It can't be that difficult.

arnaud
 
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Andrew Biggs

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OK folks there's something in the water, planets out of alignment, global warming or whatever..........this whole thread is taking on a really unhealthy twist and people are starting to get a bit testy about a few things. Fair enough because we are all human and that's just the way families act sometimes.

At the moment it's reminding me a bit of the Irish firing squad where they form a circle with their guns pointed inward. :)

So...........before you write anything, or respond to anything...................could you please have a very careful think about it and not throw petrol on the fire and let cool heads prevail.

Cheers
Andrew
 
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