Prize-winning hand engraver gets invitation to see his “Santa” on press

A Surrey man who was the winner of a competition held by the Hand Engravers Association of Great Britain, and sponsored by Baddeley Brothers, has seen his work go into production.

As part of Andy Beavan-smith’s prize, he got a behind-the-scenes tour of the 160-year-old print works, to see his copperplate engraving, “Santa in his Workshop”, get inked, and put through the die-stamping press at Baddeley Brothers.

See also: Lending a hand to keep tradition alve

He has 30 years of experience working with metals and it was while chatting with a friend, who works in the jewellery industry, that inspired Andy to try hand-engraving onto copperplate.

He said: “There is a shortage of good engravers within all the associated trades.

“I attended a weekend course with The Hand Engravers Association. I have since then attended several more courses and a summer school with the Association. It has been great for meeting other engravers from beginners to long-term professionals who are all helpful with tips and inspiration.

“Hand engraving appeals to me as I have always had a passion for history and art and all things shiny.

It’s such a peaceful thing to do and I enjoy zoning out and being transfixed with my work.”

Charles Pertwee, a director at Baddeley Brothers, said: “Andy’s interest and questions about the die-stamping process match his enthusiasm for the art of engraving. I’m sure we spent longer in the factory than intended. But, the print results from the copperplate justify Baddeley Brothers nurturing a competition of this sort. We’re already planning a repeat competition with the Hand Engravers Association for next year.”

discussing production and hand engraving
Discussing production and hand engraving

Andy said engraving has become more of an obsession than a hobby.

“I have been practising most weekends and some evenings and drawing ideas whenever I get a chance, I don’t engrave full time yet but would like to.

“This was my first time entering an engraving competition but thought I’d give it a try as my engraving has improved lots over the past couple of years. I have always loved Christmas, so this competition was an ideal inspiration, “ he said.

“The pieces I engrave can take from a few hours to a few months, depending on size and detail. The Christmas card took around 50 hours from designing and drawing it to the finished piece. I would have spent longer adding more detail but had a deadline to stick to.

“I am inspired by music and nature. Having always lived within the Surrey hills, there is inspiration everywhere. I also travel all over the country and see amazing architecture and gardens.

“I was thrilled to receive my prize from Baddeley Brothers and was relieved that my hard work and efforts had paid off.”

Andy hopes that his rare skill will lead to some more printing projects with this and other companies.

He added: “Baddeley Brothers have a passion for traditional techniques and high quality, and I like the way you can see a bit of history in every project that they print.”

Follow Andy on Instagram at @incisedmetalandy

Find out more at the Hand Engravers’ Association website

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