Call of the wild


Last Wednesday, 30th May I took part in an extravagant urban safari of sorts. Gieves and Hawkes flagship store on Savile Row hosted ‘The call of the Wild’, an evening showcasing the talents of some of London’s finest craftsmen and women.

I was there demonstrating my engraving work, but I did manage to capture one or two photographic trophies of the night. So this post is less about my work and more of a boast about the excellent company I keep.

And why not, it’s a reflection of my work values: upholding traditional craftsmanship and celebrating all the good things today’s artisans have to offer.

In-between sips of Balvenie’s finest Malt and nibbling Hansen & Lydersen’s  exquisite smoked Salmon I was first drawn to admire Carréducker’s winkers,

and these phenomenal tattooed boots (just one more whisky and I would have commissioned a pair for myself)

For those drawn to country pursuits Holland and Holland showcased their fine rifles and shotguns whilst Farlows had a man on hand demonstrating the art of tying flies: rainbow coloured feathery jewels in their own right.

Bentleys showcase of antiques inspired in me a chronic bout of fantasy nostalgia: a sort of Alice in Wonderland world in which I wear silk top hats and live in a gigantic vintage Louis Vuitton trunk.

The tailors of Savile Row – a fine looking bunch, suited and booted – almost distracted me from further exploring the sartorial splendours of Gieves & Hawkes flagship store, but I did manage to escape their charms to examine the fine fabrics, once again indulging my imagination to dream up a gold pinstriped ballgown complete with military inspired embroidery

Various creatures could be spotted keeping a beady eye over the proceedings of the evening.

and One of Bill Amberg‘s damascene knives would have come in handy if the enormous Polar Bear guarding the entrance to the shop had suddenly come to life.

Thankfully the guests wandered out into the cool night air of their own accord, rather than being chased by a wily beast!

Antique silver desk seals

Occasionally I get a job that makes me come over all nostalgic.

This pair of silver desk seals make me long for an (imagined) world where such simple and beautiful objects would be in daily use. In this world hand written letters from loved ones are sent and received as a matter of course, and to access the anticipated contents within the wax seal would first have to be cracked open.

Each seal is engraved, one for each of the customer’s daughters, with their initials.

Red letter box

A while back a customer approached me to restore an old letter box. Not the Royal Mail pillar box type, but a wooden box covered with red and gold embossed leather. Once upon a time this container was used for storing letters under lock and key. It was inlaid with beautiful engraved brass fittings, one of which had been lost.

Unfortunately the lock had been removed, the box damaged, and it was too expensive to replace, the lock being of an unusual type.

It was decided that the best solution would be to use the existing engraving as a guide…


…and instead make two inlaid brass pieces to replace the missing parts, with engraving to match the rest.

Here’s a final detail of inlaid brass handle engraved with scrolls and flowers. I love how the engraving has darkened over time. The rich patina adds depth to the engraving.




A forged bangle

Here is a bangle I recently engraved for a customer. Inscribed is a simple script font with names and dates. The tricky aspect of a job like this is getting the engraving an even depth. The bangle has a hammered surface which, when magnified looks like giant hills and craters in the surface of the metal. One has to negotiate these crests and valleys by subtly controlling and adjusting the engraving tool to make the engraving of an even thickness and depth.

The beautiful silver bangle with gold detail was made by jeweller Syann van Niftrik