British Academy of Jewellery Apprenticeship graduate Megan Rigby creates intricately detailed and precise engravings at Rebus Signet Rings. Megan has won her five Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council awards in a row, with three gold awards for her work. We chatted with Megan about her experience as a BAJ apprentice and her flourishing career as an engraver.
BAJ: Congratulations on your latest GC&DC Award win. How does it feel to have won an award five years in a row?
Megan: It makes me feel very proud to have won a GC&DC award five years in a row. Each year I try to enter a project that pushes me out of my comfort zone. The pieces I’ve entered have all pushed me and helped me improve my engraving skills. Entering the competition also gives me a great opportunity to get feedback from experts in the industry.
What was the inspiration behind your winning engraving?
The idea for this piece came to me while I was visiting Scotland last year. The natural beauty of the landscape inspired the idea of four magical animals that guard the seasons and help keep the balance of nature. At work, a lot of the engraving we do incorporates heraldry. I wanted to use the structure of a traditional Coat of Arms but give it a unique twist by turning it into a scene to tell a story.
You successfully completed your apprenticeship at BAJ. What have you been up to since you left?
Since I completed my two year apprenticeship at BAJ I have gone on to a further three years of training at Rebus Signet Rings. During this time I have mainly focused on seal engraving but I have also branched out into other fields. This has included working with a printing company for whom I created copper plate engravings that are then used for printing. Last year I also completed a teaching qualification so that I can help keep the craft of engraving alive by teaching engraving courses at the Hand Engravers Association.
What made you choose an apprenticeship in jewellery as opposed to a different kind of jewellery course?
An apprenticeship really appealed to me because I have always responded well to practical learning. The on the job training you get as an apprentice ensures you pick up skills quickly as well as learning helpful techniques from a master who has been in the industry for years.
What was your most memorable moment on you BAJ apprenticeship?
I’m not sure I can identify a single most memorable moment as a BAJ apprentice but I do remember with thanks two really great tutors, Stephen and Elisavet. They both inspired me and their advice and insights into the industry encouraged me and set me up to succeed when I joined Rebus.
What is your advice for someone who wants to begin a jewellery apprenticeship?
If I could offer any advice to young apprentices it would be to find a Master with whom you can develop a good rapport. You will spend a lot of time together and having a good relationship will not only help you learn but will also make your time enjoyable. My other advice would be to never stop developing yourself creatively, not just at work but also with your own projects. If you have interests make sure you continue to enjoy these as they will help you develop your own style.
What are your plans for the future?
My personal engraving focus this year is to learn die sinking, a technique that goes hand in hand with seal engraving. I will also continue to push myself when designing pieces for my personal projects, including seal engraving larger pieces and experimenting with textures. In the future, I am looking forward to carrying on the tradition of passing on skills and knowledge. It’s so important to keep traditional crafts alive and relevant for future generations.
Interested in pursuing an Apprenticeship? BAJ offers an Apprenticeship in Jewellery, Silversmithing, and Allied Trades Professional at its London and Birmingham campuses. For more information, send us your enquiry here.