To educate or not to educate?

Marcus Hunt

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Thread starter #1
I have started this new thread leading away from another one because I feel we were going off at a tangent and I felt we were possibly heading in the direction of confrontation which I think is the last thing this forum needs. There are enough wars and conflict zones on this planet without starting another one here! LOL

I would just like to say that I am offering my advice here freely to those who wish to learn more about engraving, be that a beginner who posts pictures in order to get advice on how to improve their work or a more experienced engraver who wishes a fair critique of their work. I am not here to slag anyone off or belittle them in any way. I have been engraving for nearly 29 years and learned from my father who, in turn was apprenticed to the engraver Harry Kell who had been apprenticed to his father Harry Kell Snr who had been apprenticed to Sanders back in the latter part of th 19th century. I don't know who Sanders was apprenticed to but you can bet there's an unbroken lineage of engravers for the past 300-400 years, so I'm not speaking out of my hat here! I do have a little knowledge of the art of engraving and feel that these credentials to lend me some credibility in the engraving world. In no way is any of this meant to sound conceted or big headed by the way, nothing could be further from my mind at this moment.

Due to modern life styles, etc., it's highly unlikely that I will ever have an apprentice and this historic lineage of engraving could stop with me.....this forum however has given me the oportunity to pass on some of that knowledge. Whether or not this knowlege is taken on board by the members of the forum is entirely up to them I cannot and will not force it down anyone's throat.

I also realise that we are human beings and we may not always agree with what another person is saying. This is allowed; we can have disagreements but still be friends. I am not saying to anyone that I am the absolute authority on engraving but I've noticed on several occassions in the past that when I pass certain comments, namely about the 'fundementals and rules' that in my opinion we need to learn as we begin out engraving career (and sometimes with tool discussions to), it fires certain individuals up with what sometimes feels like an evangelical zeal.

I am not here to fall out with anyone. I have much better things to do with my time than spend many hours at the keyboard trying to justifiy an opinion which has been questioned in such a manner. As I say, my goal is to educate and if it means one person listens and it improves their work then I've attained this goal.

I don't know about the rest of you, but it doesn't feel very nice when some people appear to be gunning for you when all you're trying to do is help novice engravers who are plainly seeking guidance. That is not to say lively discussion and debate aren't to be encouraged, it can be fun and educational too. It's just that the one person says black, the other white gets boring and far from educating a novice can just lead to confussion.

I'm sorry if I've gone on a bit but I just had to get it out of my system and if you don't think my opinions, critiques, help are worth a light then please tell me and I won't bother wasting any more time.
 
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FANCYGUN

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#3
Let me add one other observation that I have learned after 30 plus years of teaching Art in public schools in addition to being an engraver. I good teacher also learns from his students.

Marty
 

Ray Cover

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#4
Sheaksperre at one point in time was taught to read and write. Einstien at some point in his life was taught basic laws of physics. Mohamed Ali at on point in his life was taught the rules of boxing and basic ring strategy.

No matter what endeavor in life people excell at there is an education in one form or another at the root of their success. Would Sheaksperre have been a world celebrated playwrite if he were left illiterate and told to "figure them words on your own"? Hardly.

Granted there are savants and child prodegies like Mozart in the world who can just pull it out of the air and do it. But those gifted abilites are a rare freak of nature in the human race. A positive one no doubt but a natural rarity none the less. In most cases tend to be greatly deficent in other areas of life.

Is it possible to figure this out on your own. Yes, I know a lot of folks who have done it. I have done it and it is a hard road travelled with not much to show for it at the end but a pair of worn out shoes and same skills you could have learned much faster.

For most of the human race we need to be taught in order to succeed in any given field. It seems strange to me that an exception to this would exist for this one artistic endeavor.

Ray
 
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#7
Marcus The contributions and knowledge left on this forum by you and others is so valuable to many not only beginners.

To be able to just talk shop to others is a blessing, my shop talk in the beginning was with steel workers over a beer, nobody did what I was doing. I went to two weeks of classes 28 years ago or so, didn't learn much but it got me started into the jewelry trade as a polisher. Very rarely did the master jeweler show you how to do anything, it was pick up a tid bit here and there, mostly because they wanted to protect their job in case you where better than them. Then I had an opportunity to work with a very good diamond setter which was more tid bits. Then I hit the books. It was a long road teaching myself. If a person young or old is starting out and serious about the jewelry and engraving arts go to school, there are a number of fine schools out there to attend, with masters of the trade teaching everything they know. When I went to classes they were held in the basements of jewelry stores not like that today. The schools today have state of the art equipment with many masters of the trade teaching. It's almost like taking golf lessons from Tiger Woods you may never be as good as him but at least you'll be hitting good while in his custody and get some strong true knowledge, it's would up to you run with it.

The information on this forum for example is more information than I could have got in many many years of trial and error. Just the Internet would have saved me many a bruised noses, but to go and learn from the many fine teachers would have been a blessing. The forums are great if you only need your hand held once and a while, but if your young and serious about getting into the trade go to school the knowledge will repay you many times over.
Just my thoughts of the picture
Mike
 
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Marcus Hunt

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Thread starter #8
very eloquently put both Ray and Mike.

I'd just like to say I for one have learned a hell of a lot of stuff from you guys and girls who contribute to the forum. I'll be the first to hold my hand up and say "I don't know it all." That is the wonderful thing about engraving and embellishment; there is always something new to learn and I seem to learn something new every day from you guys. Thanks.
 

Glenn

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#10
Marcus,
I think your posts on this forum show so much honesty and sincerity that highlights your talent as and engraver and teacher. It would be a great loss to all of us who want to learn if these posts cease to exist. Please continue with your help and opinions.
 

Cody

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#11
Regarding the value of paid instruction as opposed to self learning, something to consider. If you were to pick up a graver for the very first time and someone aproached you, who had NEVER picked up a graver and knew nothing about engraving, and offered to give you engraving lessons FOR FREE, would you accept?. Most would say "why would i waste time getting lessons from someone that doesn't know what they're doing?" Well, if you go the self taught route, that's essentially what your doing. Another thing to consider. Money is the most renewable resource there is. Time is not, once it's spent it's gone forever. If someone could spend a resource that can easiliy be replaced to save a resource that can NEVER be replaced, why wouldn't you?. IMO, the only reason to go the "self taught" route these days is if you're not really serious and just want to fool around with engraving a bit. In regards to the critiques offered here, I find it truely refreshing that people here are willing to give a fair and honest evaluation when asked. All too often I see on forums, someone post pics of a project that has obvious shortcomings only to be met with an avalanche of "atta boy"'s which, while it may make the presenter feel good today it does nothing, in fact it UNDERMINES, the persons ability to improve. This forum is blessed with members willing to risk a possible few hurt feelings to give honest educated opinions in order to help us neophytes along. I know I'm not alone when I say it is TRUELY appreciated, the valuable time taken by those of you willing, to examine a picture and compose a well thought out critique with no other goal in mind than to help someone else succeed. Marcus, your opinions are greatly valued by many and your willingness to share is very much appreciated. It's always good IMO, to see differing opinions particularily when they come from highly respected members of the field. It's a shame, however, when rather than giving a differing view, someone chooses to make it a personal attack that is unwarrented and serves no useful purpose. Please, do continue to educate. Your "grace under fire" is admirable.

Cody
 

John B.

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#12
As Marty, Marcus and others have said it's a two way street.
The teacher passes a lot to the students.
In return the teacher receives a few pearls of knowledge as a gift.
And unless we are brain dead we all love giving and learning.
John B.
 
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#13
Marcus -

Cody expressed my sentiments better than I could have myself. We value your contributions, and hope that you don't let a few ill-considered comments discourage you from participating further. Your input and that of an astonishingly large number of other "old hands" on this site has been, and continues to be, invaluable to most of us. Please keep up the good work.

Incidentally, how did the neck operation go?

Best wishes,

Bill
 

fegarex

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#14
Marcus,
I too can say cheers to that! In fact after 25 years of pounding in gold inlays, you were the one to tell me to use an air assisted tool to do the job.
When I quit learning, it will be time to quit.......
 
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#15
Hi Marcus

Well said. The value of education in any form is worth ten times its weight in gold. Schools and universities only consider themselves to give out the basics. After that the student is encouraged to take on the world and continue their education and learning, hopefully discovering new frontiers and raising the bar with each generation. Each and every one of us learns something from one another.

Nothing pleases a teacher more than seeing their students excel in their chosen field.

When it comes to critiquing work we all love a pat on the back. While that’s a good thing as it encourages the student it’s not always helpful in advancing the students knowledge. Pointing out fundamental mistakes or ways to advance their work enables the student to develop their skills so they have the confidence to experiment and seek new horizons.

For me personally, the advice of a whole bunch of people, including you Marcus, has been invaluable to my overall understanding and knowledge of the engraving art. That advice has led to better design and technique on my part and given me the confidence to be bold and give it a go. I don’t see obstacles, only challenges, and lots of them. But that is all part of the joy of life.

Things eventually go full circle and the student becomes a teacher, helping those around them and experiencing the pleasure of seeing other students grow and excel.

How long will my learning curve be? Well, the answer is quite simple. The rest of my life.

Cheers
Andrew
 

Santo

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Nov 11, 2006
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#16
I just want to say I appreciate all of you. I haven't been interacting much of late but am a condiderable lurker. As an old new commer to this art form I am constantaly grateful to the support I have received and the knowledge I have gleaned just by paying attention.

After the last thread I started several weeks ago I have taken all the wonderful support and advice and havae been working on bulino and hammer chissel engraving. I have learned more than I could have emagined. The engraving has been a trip but it's comming. I'm working on the brass bolsters of an old buck knife I've had for years. It's not wonderful but it ain't bad either. I will take a step at a time and when I can afford to will invest in power tools and classes.

If it wasn't for this forum and all of you who are willing to take the time to share your experiences and well earned advice I wouldn't be where I am now. When you are starting out just keeping an edge on staying motivated in the face of frustration and anxiety I think is doing a good job. All your help has been invaluable. I'm not quite at the point of posting pics yet but soon. I still need to get over my internal critic that keeps telling me I have no business being here. I love checking into this fourm and have never gone away empty handed or disappointed.

Thanks to all of you

Santo
 

Steve

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#17
Marcus,

The loss of your insight, knowledge and shared expertise as well as that of many, many other world class engravers connected to this forum would be a terrible tragedy. Yes a tragedy for people like myself who are just starting down this road of engraving. I've been engraving for two months and because of the willingness of people like you and this forum, I get a personal critique form an engraving master. It is personal instruction (training) if you will and I certainly want all I can get. Thanks to all of you who take the time to make suggestions and even go as far as to draw out there critiques because some of us new people might not fully understand whats being explained.

Thanks to all of you and keep on teaching.

Steve
 
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#18
I must say, as an older 'newbie' to this forum of skill and art, all of the prior posts on this subject have expressed my feelings of gratitude completely and well. Learning is the part of life that makes life an adventure. What I learn here I feel will better prepare me for my hands on instruction this Summer.
I am not heavy with words, but the generosity of every member here keeps me coming back every day and I thank you all. Gail
"none are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm" Thoreau
 
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#19
As a old dog trying to learn new tricks I would like to express my thanks to the many people who have so freely given their time and advice.
I had tried to engrave in the mid 70s and I recevied a little help from 1 engraver here in town (how to sharpen a graver but he forgot to tell me about the heel) I struggled a long for appox 6 months and finally put up my tools for a try later when I had more time, at that time I didn't know that training here in the states was available and help was all but impossible to get.
Right now as soon as possible I plan on taking as many classes as I can as soon as I can but in the mean time I will try soak up all the information I can about this artform thanks to the generosity of many on this and the F.E.G.A. forums I have learned more in the short time that I have been than I have in the past years trying to educate myself
Bob
 
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#20
Continuing education question?

Hello Marcus, thanks for all of your input. I have a simple question concerning something you mentioned in an earlier statement. You said, when you cut a line with your graver you should not leave a burr or rough edge. How do you avoid that?

Ed DeLorge
 

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