From honing skills that date back hundreds of years to the struggle of growing a beard, we go behind the scenes with our seal and surface engraver Matthew, as he prepares to fly to Los Angeles for Rebus’ fifth ever US trunk show this June.
How would you describe what you do?
I am a seal and surface engraver, specialising in turning customers’ bespoke designs and ideas into reality. I have also started to teach myself gemstone engraving.
What is it about the job that most appeals to you?
The opportunity to be creative and show off my skills…and to be able to work with experts in their field.
What have you had to learn and how long did it take you to train?
Like many of my colleagues, I undertook a five-year apprenticeship. During that time I learnt all the vital skills to become an engraver: making tools, polishing, surface engraving, seal engraving, and drawing artworks—but even after years in the role, there is always more to learn.
What is the most frustrating part of the job?
Intricate details can be difficult to perfect and uniformly engrave, and tools often break and need to be recalibrated and sharpened before I can continue my work.
What would people be most surprised to know about your job?
That the skills and tools have changed very little over hundreds of years..!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“Don’t try to grow a beard, because you can’t!”