Engraving, the art and craftsmanship. The scroll.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Engraving pertaining mostly to firearms involves not only skill in the use of the graver but a certain amount of artistic aptitude.

When commissioning an engraving several things need to be looked at. The most obvious mistakes will show without close scrutiny. When observing the scroll, they should flow smoothly, no interruptions due to  "elbows" in the scroll. The scrolls should flow off of each other letting the eye of the observer easily trace the path of the scroll.

The flow of the scroll is defined by shading or lack of shading. The flow can be developed along the backbone of the scroll by leaving the area clean of any shading. This develops a clean area which I refer to as white. This white line allows the observer's eye to follow it without abrupt interruptions. The white flow line will intersect and interact with other flow lines. This will give the scroll interest and movement. The shading of the scrolls will also give flow in the same way. The shading is the opposite. It will give dark lines to follow. With more elaborate scroll there can be both light and dark that give good flow in the scroll.

Different types of scrolls may have their own rules for flow, but that flow will be there. With traditional small English scroll there is a flow, it is sometimes harder to see. When this scroll is enlarged and elongated the flow is easier to see. I personally like the beauty of an elongated English scroll. With the English scroll the flow lines are produced more by single cuts that anything else.

German Black Leaf or Arabesque is another traditional scroll. This scroll traditionally was open with the flow developed by the white stem lines connecting the leaves and flowers. Scrolls were developed originally from plant life forms. Many times these scrolls now uses both the dark and white lines to develop the movement of the scroll.

American scroll is generally a large and open scroll. The flow of this scroll is developed in the white back bone of the scroll. The leaves generally are led of off the backbone by a white line.This is not a hard and fast rule though.

Scroll engraving has deeply embedded roots. The individual engraver will inject their personality, likes and interest into the traditional scroll to make it more their own.

Engraving on guns is usually broken into panels. These panels are separated by borders or other parts of the gun. On more elaborate engravings the scroll can flow from panel to panel. The scroll can appear to go under the border of the panel or interrupt the border to go into the next panel.

To view examples of these scroll and others, browse the galleries to your left.

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