Sorry, I'm a bit late posting this....
Any education you get during your lifetime is going to cost you
something. Either money, time, or pain.
You basically have three options if learning something is your goal:
1. Spend little or no money but lots and lots of time. You can spend
as little as possible for basic hand tools and books. Take
advantage of whatever free instruction is available from colleges,
clubs, and community centers. Then try to make it work on your own.
You will invest 3 to 5 years becoming competent at most specialty
skills such as hand engraving - if you try to do it entirely on
2. Spend the money save lots of time! You can pay for a private
workshop to teach you to use tools and techniques properly. You will
not develop bad habits from the start. THEN and only then should
you begin to consider spending money on any tools, much less
expensive modern day tools. You may well discover that hand
engraving is not for you. These new power assisted tools can cut
your learning curve by as much as 70%. They can increase your
productivity by 50%. I have seen average students turn out very
decent work in less than a year.
3. Suffer the pain of never knowing whether you are missing the
chance of a lifetime to fulfill your creative dreams.
Which one is more valuable to you? If you are young, time is not as
important. Money probably is. If you are in your 40's or older and
seriously want to produce a good body of work before it is too late
time is extremely important. If you genuinely believe that you
could benefit by acquiring a new skill, why suffer for the rest of
your life without it?
Short, intensive private skills workshops can be focused on exactly
what you need. The cost of a basic workshop is not high. I have
managed to save most of my students thousands of dollars that would
have been wasted by buying the wrong tools and books to accomplish
what they desire. Saved them hundreds of hours in time and
frustration by simply giving them the specific resources they need.
Safety, suppliers, pricing guides, sales venues, sources of further
trade contacts, legal sources, and much much more.
Learning precision skills like hand engraving without instruction is
not impossible. I have done it. It was a pretty miserable 5-year
long experience. I suppose that you could learn almost anything
entirely on your own but would you like to be the first patient of
a surgeon who learned every thing he knew from books? Or take the
first flight with a pilot who learned exclusively from books?
Please get instruction somewhere before you spend money on tools! If
my workshops are at the wrong time or in an inconvenient location
contact me! I will do my best to find you a place that is closer to
you or has workshops during the time frame or budget you have to
I do advise you to learn from someone who has done or is doing what
you want to do for a living not from an academic who has never
made a living at it. I also advise you to find an instructor who is
current in the field. Much has changed in 30 years. There are
plenty of incredibly gifted working instructors out there. I'll
help you find one.
P.S.Those of you who know about our recent difficulties should know
that they seem to be resolved for the moment - and anyone
interested in hand engraving or my workshops can contact me off
forum. The 2005 schedule will be posted in a day or two.
Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts
Stockton, CA 95209 USA