D.J. Glaser: “First, I must say this unique program for accomplished hand engravers was not my idea; it was the vision of Glendo’s General Manager, Kim Pember. Sometime in late 2003 or early 2004, she approached me with the idea of providing a special event for the world’s finest hand engraving artists.
“In spite of their solitary working habits, she believed these world-class engravers would value the opportunity to learn from each other and enjoy the mutual camaraderie. Kim believed that unless someone brought them together, these remarkable artists may never actually meet each other or have the chance to pass on the legacy of engraving to those who could appropriately value this knowledge.
“My first reaction to her idea was that it was a wonderful thought, but would be virtually impossible to do. Thankfully, she ignored my initial reaction and pushed on.
“When she finally convinced Winston Churchill (who told her no at least three times) and Ron Smith to teach the first Grand Master’s Program in 2005, there was enough weight from these remarkable artists to get the engraving world’s attention.
“Thank you, Ron and Winston, for your leap of faith…it would have never happened without you breaking this new ground for all of us.”
What does “Grand Master” mean?
D.J. Glaser: “In the field of engraving the traditional title ‘Master’ is applied to accomplished artisans who work at the highest professional levels. Depending on the practices in their country, the process of becoming a Master varies.
“These Masters often teach as well as practice their art. While not every engraving artist will become a Master, there are quite a number of them world-wide. However, many top engravers agree there are a few who have achieved much more than Master level. These individuals become admired and recognized icons, not only with clients, but among knowledgeable engravers.
“In the beginning of this new program, we recognized the need for a new term to describe these extraordinary people. ‘Grand Master’ fit perfectly and others agreed that we should name both the program and the artists it honors using this term.”
Why is Glendo the host?
D.J. Glaser: “Glendo is a manufacturer of tools that are used in engraving. In early 2005, we completed our expanded GRS Training Center that has classroom space for teaching engraving and related subjects.
“From a business perspective, using this facility to host the Grand Masters Program is a long term investment in the world-wide field of fine hand engraving. I use the word ‘investment’ because Glendo doesn’t make money from the Grand Masters; our goal is to break even, but this hasn’t happened.
“At Glendo, we believe that recognizing and hosting special courses or workshops taught by these ‘Grand Masters’ will benefit all of us. Unlike the other courses at our training center, the Grand Masters Program is for exceptional engravers who travel from around the world to attend. It’s a wonderfully rewarding experience with extraordinary people…like nothing else I’ve ever attended. I guess the answer to this question is that Glendo hosts it because we saw the need, wanted to see it happen, and just gave it a try. ”
How is the 2010 program special?
D.J. Glaser: “One of our goals from the start was to include engraving techniques from around the world. So far, the Grand Masters themselves have come from the US, England, Belgium, Italy and Austria. If you add the other engravers who have attended, there are several more countries represented.
“For the second Grand Masters held in 2006, three members from the Italian firm Creative Art taught a superb one-week course. Giacomo Fausti, Ugo Talenti and Giovanni Steduto taught as a team — this was their own idea…teaching as a team….and it was creative, brilliantly effective and energizing for all.
“Almost immediately there was a request for their return. Now four years later, these three Grand Masters will return to teach an incredible TWO week course on Fantasy Art Engraving. This breathtaking form of engraving is now highly in demand and this particular course is destined to transform the careers and change the lives of the engravers who enroll. I believe what Creative Art has planned for this August will be remembered for years as a unique moment in time.”
What advice do you have for anyone considering this year’s Grand Masters course?
D.J. Glaser: “I’m glad you asked, because I have some advice that may seem a little blunt. Just do it! Make whatever arrangements you need, borrow the money if you have to and come.
“I am concerned there will be those engravers who almost enrolled but didn’t. And if they don’t, there is little doubt that they will ultimately conclude they missed a very rare opportunity that happens just once. I realize the economy is tough, but this year’s program justifies whatever it takes to get there.
“I sense that Creative Art’s Fausti, Talenti and Steduto see this course as an instructional masterpiece and a special gift to their fellow engravers. To get this gift from them, you simply must attend.”
In closing, what else do you want engravers to know about the event?
D.J. Glaser: “There’s little left to say except the Grand Masters Program is rewarding and fun beyond words. How else can you see Winston Churchill engrave metal and play the guitar at the same event? How else can you learn how Philippe Grifnée and Alain Lovenberg sharpen their gravers and design their patterns? How else can you study under England’s Ken Hunt or America’s Ron Smith?
“The legacies left by these Grand Masters will live on for decades in the people who learned from them in this program. I urge all of you accomplished engravers to take the dream seriously. I hope to see you this August.”