May 20, 2010

Minor Consideration

This morning after work I drove down to Springville to engrave my friend Lisa's cornet. The horn was in pristine condition when she bought it used from Tony Dilorenzo, but since then it had picked up some serious scratching on the bell. She said that the origin of the scratches was a mystery, but hoped I'd be able to cover them up with engraving.

Weeks ago when she talked to me about doing this, she'd asked me to come up with a really funky abstract design. This got me excited! I was being allowed artistic free reign to produce something truly unique. Unfortunately, I've been going through something of a creative dry spell (stress? work overload? who knows...) and struggled unsuccessfully to create a design. Finally I asked Lisa to give me some ideas and she sent me the logo for her band Minor Consideration: a central flower-like trumpet flanked on either side by guitars which peel away from the horn like leaves. I had to "psychadelify" the logo in order to make it appropriate for the engraving technique that I use, but Lisa really loved my final version and we set up a time for me to come by.

Lisa was at work when I got to her house, but she'd left me a key and had towels left out on the table for me to use. I was nervous to start cutting. One could make the argument that an engraving is even more permanent than a tattoo, so what would I do if I slipped and totally ruined her horn? Finally I began the first line with no trouble and everything went smoothly from there.

I used a washable marker to draw the design on the bell and then traced over the lines with the various tools I brought. It really is amazing how dimensional flat line engravings can appear if the right combination of graver sizes and textures is used. I feel like the type of art I've done all my life has prepared me perfectly for instrument engraving. The technique fits my style like a glove and I am grateful to Cannonball for the opportunity they provided me to learn this unusual skill.

Lisa took a break from work and came over for a few minutes to snap some pictures and watch the process. She seemed to love what I was doing, and I must say, I'm pleased with the result myself. I don't know if she's been back home since I finished the horn, but I'm excited to hear her reaction.

In a few minutes I'm headed out the door to meet Patrick for our drive down to Bryce Canyon. The weather up here is pretty stinky, but I'm hoping there may be some clearer skies down south.


  1. You are so amazingly talented! Have fun on your trip!

  2. Once again, Kelly, you have thrilled me with your amazing talent and creativity!!!! Did I tell you lately that I love you??? I LOVE YOU

  3. Whoa! That's awesome. It kinda makes me wish I had a trumpet (or a pair of jeans, haha) you could cut up. By the way, it was a sad, sad day when I outgrew the jeans you made for me. I refuse to get rid of them, though. They're in my bag of "Clothes That Will Never Fit Again But I Am Emotionally Attached To."