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Metal Engraving by John Britz
of J&D Creations
22 March 2010
At the next Country Craft Market on 22 March 2010, John Britz will be demonstrating the craft of metal engraving, adding personalised words onto impersonal metals to give them warmth, extra value and of course greater sentimental value.
The most common engravings are people's names since our names (perhaps especially our nicknames) are probably our most personal possessions, and very often our most precious as well. John respects this and in his work, he has seen many names, heard many unusual ones, and also encountered the popular one, like John, many many times.
But name engraving also brings him closer to his customers at the market. And indeed this personal link is a symbol of what the Country Craft Market is all about - the very crafters that make the goods being there to interface directly with those buying their wares - even though few other crafters ever get to know the names of those they serve.
This works two ways of course as the visitors to the craft markets can also find out more about those that craft their purchases. And many interesting and intriguing books can be written about crafter stories, and how, when and why crafters became crafters. John too has his story that like many others, is a tale of courage and determination.
John was a drug addict for 17 years and was probably on his way to nowhere. Then he was given a new lease on life when about four years ago he met the love of his life, Dianna, on a farm in George. Demonstrating how important that helping hand is when most needed, Dianna gave John the courage to step away from his addiction and together they were soon able to look forward and began to establish a better and productive lifestyle.
But another woman influenced John, his mother, who was always telling him what a talented boy his was. Believing in this and considering the lost years, John decided that establishing a craft business seemed to be the right, if not the only way for him to go.
And so he and Dianna began crafting non-ferrous metal jewellery, later shifting on to include metal engraving when the need increased. Together they established J&D Creations one and a half yeas back, leaving George at that time to make Cape Town their new home. This brought their inspiring story to a powerful turning point from which they have not looked back.
Speaking about his products, John explains “We use 316 stainless steel, virgin copper and brass for our products. They are formed into everything from pet id tags to unisex jewellery.”
But this is not the crux of their craft, and soon it became clear that the engraving and personalisation of these items was a significantly more popular seller. So John’s engraving machine started spending each market busily engraving (obviously under John’s guidance) names, nick names, important dates and other things, right there on the spot. “This is always a crowd stopper,” says John, as is demonstrated by the ever present rubber necking around his stall.
“Amazingly,” tells John, “the most common engraving we do daily is on our pet id tags, and that says a lot about the numbers of animal lovers around.” Other popular requests are for plaques engraved in memory of loved ones.
"But there are always requests that bring a smile, like body jewellery I was asked to engrave for an exotic dancer." He declares that such requests are not necessarily met and guess we have to accept that. On a more believable note, John adds "Those planning their wedding days often ask for items like personalised napkin rings and obviously engraved wedding rings,"
Further to his defence, John (in his Cupid disguise) claims that the best payment he received for a day's work was when he offered to sponsor wedding rings to two lovers. This was late on a Sunday afternoon but the arrow obviously hit home as they soon returned with an invitation for him to attend their impromptu wedding that would be held on the beach.
“The wedding,” John recalls, “took place on a windless summer evening just before sunset at Llandudno, and was indeed the best and most unexpected payment I ever received.”
At his demonstration at the Country Craft Market of 22 March, John invites young and old to come watch the process he uses to engrave his various item of jewellery. However, John adds that he also is happy to engrave other items and anyone who wishes to have their own pendants and bracelets engraved, may also bring them along.
Good craft is the key to good craftwork, and the Country Craft Market prides itself in applying this standard to all its crafters, thereby maintaining the highest standards. The first step towards achieving this is through the careful selection of new members that ensures both variety and quality. The season for applications for new crafters is now upon us and the organisers will be starting to receive applications at the next market. Full details are at
or call at the Information stall at the market.
Last Updated 01 November 2017 16:11