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Friday 22 December 2017

Demonstrating relief carving techniques at a sign maker's trade fair - SignLink Live 2017

SignLink Live 2017

I've done many things as a woodcarver over the last twenty three years but one thing I've never tried is demonstrating at a trade fair. The chance to do so came in October with an invitation to carve at SignLink Live in Telford.

The stand was part of an area called 'Craftsman's Corner', where traditional skills related to sign making were demonstrated amongst all the vinyl cutting machines and other modern machinery associated with the trade. 

I used the opportunity to produce a charming commissioned piece that was requested just before the show began - a relief carving of a kitten in oak.

wood carving of a kitten

Apart from me, there were four other craftspeople showing their skills: Simon, of Nefarious Pinstriping, was doing pinstriping - a very exacting and skilful craft where precise lines and other designs are applied to surfaces. It is particularly associated with owners of motorbikes and hot rods.

nefarious pin striping

pin striping

Pete, of PKM signs, demonstrated gilding techniques. I couldn't resist buying a copy of Mctaggart's 'Practical Gilding' from him!

Pkm signs gilding

On the fourth stand, Neil of H signs and Tim of Merlin Signs demonstrated traditional sign painting techniques. It was very interesting talking to them about which paints they prefer to use. One useful tip that they mentioned was to undercoat with aluminium oxide as it lasts the longest.

Tim of Merlin Signs at SignLink 2017

Neil Horne of H signs

It was great fun chatting with these folks, as well as interested people passing by. Quite a few visitors were keen to get pointers for their own hobby carving and I was happy to help! They also came along with their own tips and interesting ideas too, so it wasn't all one-way conversation by any means.

Many people also said how much they enjoyed having the contrast there between the modern advanced technology of sign making and the slower, precise ways of the older crafts. I hope to be able to participate in next year's planned 'Sign Show' in Birmingham. If you are in the sign trade, I may see you there!

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