Arts & Crafts

Introduction to Engine Turning - a 16th Century Decorative Technology

Seattle, WA , United States

About Your Host

I've been interested in mechanical objects since a young age. After many years of study in Swiss, American, and British horology programs, I became certified as an Antiquarian Horologist, which is another way of saying “specialized mechanic”. More specifically, I am a clock- and watchmaker who specializes in the conservation and restoration of antique automata and mechanical music objects. I own and operate Memoria Technica, a small workshop in Seattle where I make mechanical automata, toys, optical illusions, mechanical magic, and teach heritage crafts. My workshop includes a collection of machines from the original Bulova watchmaking factory.

What we'll do

This class aims to provide students with a basic understanding of engine turning, set up, and simple pattern development. Whether students are looking into watch dials, jewelry, or are just curious about guilloche work in general, this class caters to individual’s interests via a variety of projects. Most students leave with at least one finished project, such as earrings, watch dial, necklace, or a writing pen. Due to small student numbers, this class allows your teacher Brittany Nicole to provide some one on one tutoring. You'll have the opportunity to learn this fascinating craft on two early 20th century machines from the original Bulova watchmaking factory - a Lienhard rose engine and straightline machine. Materials are purchased on site and are pay as you go. Our pen kits start at $17 and our sterling silver findings start at $8 for a set. Let us know beforehand of any special material requests you have so we can accommodate your interests. We also offer private sessions. Our classes are limited to 4 people and are held over two days from 9-5 with a 1 hour lunch break. In addition to leaving with a completed project you'll get a tour of the Memoria Technica workshop where you'll have the opportunity to see the machinery used in a past era to create mechanical objects. No previous experience necessary. Students must be 18 years or older. A bit of history - Rose engines are hand-operated machines that were developed in the 16th century and used during the Victorian era for the decorative turning of wood, ivory, metal, and ceramics. Engine turning is a decorative cutting or engraving technique that creates precise, intricate, geometric patterns, which are mechanically derived and machined into metal with very fine finish and detail. The mystery in the final design lies in the illusion created by altering the orientation of repetitive cuts of a singular pattern. The geometry of the patterns is determined by mathematical sequences often associated with sacred geometry and the golden mean. Engine turning originated in the 1500's, proliferating with European nobility. It was practiced commonly for pastime and profit through the Victorian Era and deep into the 1900's to decorate a myriad of personal items, such as top-of-the-line pocket watches, pens, lighters, cigarette cases, jewelry, jewelry boxes, snuffboxes, hair and money clips, combs, wine goblets, furniture details, molding, mosaic tiles, and molded parts.



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