While I wait for my new tools to arrive, I figured I would talk about why I chose to pursue hand engraving for my learning project. In some ways, I have been around hand engraved items all my life. I love the style and beauty of engraved scrollwork on the western belt buckles, spurs and conchos that I’ve seen all my life thanks to horses and rodeo.
I have competed in rodeos since I was four years old. My older sisters were involved and whatever they did, I wanted to do too. I still compete in rodeo and barrel racers. It is something that I want to be involved in for the rest of my life. Rodeo is how I met my husband, I was on a rodeo scholarship through college, my sisters and the rest of my family are all involved in rodeo in some way. I have spent weekends in the stands watching my niece and nephews compete on the junior high and high school levels and countless hours in the pickup traveling with my sisters to events across Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas.
Rodeo has its own culture (and it is a facet of the western lifestyle). Belt buckles hold meaning in the western world, it is a representation or a résumé, if you will. Belt buckles are often given as awards in rodeo. They come in many different sizes and styles, with different types of metal, stones and engraving. Buckle makers each have their own style and are distinctive. Engraving is not just for belt buckles, but it is seen on conchos, spurs and other metal items used by Cowboys and cowgirls daily.
Over the course of my lifetime, I have won too many buckles to count. Most are displayed in our living room, but some are stored away- we simply do not have the room to display all of them in our little house.
Being surrounded by this beauty made me want to look into how they’re made, or at least how to complete one step in the process. I never really thought it was a skill I’d pursue, but thanks to ECMP 355 I get that chance!
There are other skills I could have chosen that are related to rodeo, ranching and my life, but I am pretty spoiled by my family- they are a talented bunch. My father-in-law and both sisters-in-law create custom leather pieces, my husband draws and sculpts, my mother taught me to sew, and my husband’s grandma knits and crochets. I wanted to try something different, something that is tied to the western way of life and my thoughts turned to hand engraving!
I am looking forward to learning more about engraving. I’ve watched a few videos and read posts on engraving forums, but there is only so much I can do until my supplies arrive! The weather has been nice and so I’ve been filling my time (when not in the classroom) by riding my barrel horse and dreaming of Springtime!
Until next time, keep learning!