Melissa quotes Descartes. Ooohhh, think she’s an intellectual, eh?!?

” there is seldom so much perfection in works composed of many separate parts, upon which different hands had been employed, as in those completed by a single master.”

René Descartes


[… and so what if the architect within has trouble coming to grips with that quote?]

engraving tools


Further to yesterday’s post on engraving, here are a couple of shots of the burrs that I was using. The first is a #2 Busch burr (the gentle folk at Koodak called it that) and the second is a straight up round burr. The ones in the image are the 0.9mm ones, though I ended up using  the 0.7 #2.

the so-called #2 burr
round burr (or spherical burr, perhaps?)

And the difference? Well, to my eye the #2 produces a more traditional engraved appearance –  suited more to your calligraphic style of handwriting perhaps? Whereas the sphere was more like a marker pen, writes on everything easily but has a duller tone. The #2 produces edges in the metal that catch the light, while the sphere, by its nature, lends itself to producing more of a matte surface. As ever, it depends on what surface finish you’re after.

the top two versions are with the #2, the bottom one is with the sphere. Oh yeah, and my actual signature looks nothing like this 😉


Melissa has a go at engraving her own name. She’s been writing it, almost legibly, for years. Engraving? Maybe not…

Recently, while talking about my work in Seoul, I promised local legend Woo Jin Soon that I would sign my works, after she looked at the backs of my pieces and noted no notation. I completely forgot, until I finished my latest plate work, and thought to myself  ‘a promise is a promise’.

In preparation I borrowed a really fabulous micro motor from a friend, as my old Forbo is a hand me down, and has quite a kick to it. Also, I was keen not to spoil my work, and given that I’m not that hot at engraving, I wanted to give myself any head start I could!

I went to Koodak and had a chat about what bits to use – I’d seen mostly round ones in some demo’s on the net, but there is a proper engraving bit also, so I got a couple of each version, in 0.9mm and 0.7mm.

Then I practiced. Different metals do different things. Different speeds do different things. Different bits do different things. In the end I just had to choose, and hope for the best.

More from Midland

Melissa shares more images form the Pattern Shop in the Midland Railway Yards.

The whole reason I was reminded of my day in the Pattern Shop in Midland was because when I visited again, after being escorted by security to the door, I was welcomed by Jon to check out not only the exhibitions that were on in the adjoining building, but to look at the works in progress in the workshop that immediately precedes the gallery space. This space has a door into the back to the Pattern Workshop, through which Jon disappeared after a brief introduction to the show, to continue his work.

He works in the ground floor of the pattern workshop, and by sticking my camera lens in, I figure (perhaps incorrectly?) that the patterns and detritus still remain above.

Some more photos from my visit. My camera eventually ran out of battery, and I took these with my new (at that stage) smartphone.

Midland Atelier

Melissa visited a gallery in Perth, next to the Pattern Workshop in the old Midland Railway Yards.

Last weekend I visited an exhibition in Perth, housed in the Midland Atelier, part of the old ‘railways’ workshops in Midland, an ex-industrial hub about 30 minutes outside of Perth.

I was familiar with the railway yards, and the Pattern Workshop that adjoins the exhibition space which contained the exhibition, as I had been given access to photograph the pattern workshop, (which was already in use as a woodworking studio) back when I was still living in Perth, in 2006.

When I did my postgraduate diploma at Curtin in 2006, I was given a project that dictated that I work to a clients’ brief. I made contact with Form to find out if they would be willing to act as my client, which they were, and they gave me the choice of two briefs, which I found equally interesting. In the end I adapted one of my other projects so that I might pursue both.

The first was an invitation to go onsite to see the Pattern Workshop in Midland, and to make work based around it. The workshop on the ground floor still housed many machines, and what seemed to be all of the patterns – that is, the timber models of parts made to create the molds for casting – in its upper stories.

The building, the patterns for practically everything every produced in conjunction with running the railways, the tools, the signage and even the filing system all seemed to be intact, as if work was ready to continue but the workers never came back. I can only guess at what the end was really like, as the Pattern Workshop alone spoke of many thousands of hours of human toil. It also spoke of the huge amount of personnel that must have been needed to keep the whole ‘railways’ yard operational.

I have always been grateful to the powers at Form for allowing me the opportunity to experience such a place.


Melissa has work in a new book, called Art Jewelry Today.

I literally just received my copy of Art Jewelry Today from the postman, (yup, I’m absolutely sure he was a bloke) and opened it up, and I have to say, it’s a very nice book. I’m not sure why I’m surprised, but I am. I’m a bit of a sucker for a hard cover, it has to be said, and the typography and placement of images is very well done, in fact the whole book has clearly been really well thought out. But I still don’t rate the cover…

There’s a few recognisable names within (I know, I’ve gone parochial early) including Vicki Mason, Meghan O’Rourke, and Christel van der Laan, and (in case you hadn’t already joined the dots) me. Billed as a sampling of art jewellery from the first decade of this century, it is weighted to entries from the US, though there’s several Canadians and a smattering of us in the rest of the world, including the likes of South Korea, Portugal, Norway, The Netherlands, Belgium and the UK.

Seeing people like Christel and Salima Thakker in the book has impressed me, too, so once again I’m pleased to have made it in. 🙂