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Guillocheuse Extraordinaire Americaine! Merveilleuse!

Meet Calina Shevlin, guillocheuse extraordinaire! Now living in the Geneva area of Switzerland, Callie is an American educated and trained guillocheuse or guillocheure, if you prefer.

Calina with her trusty microscope.

Calina with her trusty microscope.

As a youngster, her mother took her to a museum where she saw for the first time vitreous enameled and guilloché objects and jewels made by Fabergé. This visit and the question of “how is that done?” resulted in a passion bordering on obsession that led her to learn the art from a master goldsmith and tool maker in the USA, G. Phil Poirier. This training happened during and in between her studies to earn a Masters Degree in Fine Arts (MFA) Metalsmithing and Jewelry.

Wanting to perfect her skills and to learn more, Calina bravely supplied sample pieces of her work in order to apply to a position at a prestigious Swiss watchmaker that specializes in guilloché. This move to the Vallée de Joux placed Calina straight into the heart of Swiss watchmaking and in the company of the legends of engine turning.

Martin Matthews, David Wood-Heath and Callie Shelvin in the Shop

Martin Matthews, David Wood-Heath and Callie Shelvin in the Shop

Prior to leaving for Switzerland, Calina had begun writing a book on the history of guilloché. Her proximity to masters of the art, including Martin Matthews, and George Daniels, David Wood-Heath and so many others afforded her the ability to interview them. This book will finally become a reality and is currently in the publishing process, due out early 2015. It will be titled, “The Definitive History of Guilloché”. It is very exciting to see this book become a reality and it promises to be a comprehensive history of the art as well as a compendium of how to for engine turning.

Like so many who continue to practice engine turning, Calina Calina fears that, due to the increasing rarity of machines outside of museums, the very high prices for those machines that do become available, and the loss of masters to teach the art, it will be lost in the near future to those who would practice independently. It is for these reasons that she has written this book as well as to reach and give the knowledge to a wider audience.  Calina has also begun to offer workshops to learn guilloché, with the first one scheduled for the last week of July 2015, in Taos, NM.

Guilloché Callie Shelvin VII

Guilloché Callie Shelvin II

Guilloché Callie Shelvin IV

Guilloché Callie Shelvin III
Calina can be found on LinkedIn and will be presenting and giving demonstrations at the Ornamental Turners International Biennial Symposium in Columbus, Ohio USA October 2-5, 2014. More information on the OTI Symposium and OTI membership can be found at:  www.ornamentalturners.org . This is a robust organization and well worth investigation.

All Guilloché shown here is by Calina Shelvin.

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Greetings! Very useful advice within this post! It is the
    little changes that will make the greatest changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

    July 26, 2014
  2. So much to learn! So little time!

    July 26, 2014
  3. Calina, My son is 28 and learning to cut in-house. his education is nothing like yours but we are working in a parallel vein. I hope you will be able to visit before or after the conference. we are trying to set up a group visit as my shop is two hours from Columbus. We are thinking of possibly opening a school, as I am concerned about the number of independent cutters as you seem to be. I have seen this before in the 70’s with Japanese hand made paper and type founding. both of which I would like to think a had a small part of seeing thru the squeeze point. I believe there are a lot more antique tools that will come on the market in the next 10 tears as collections are broken up and the museums are no longer interested. if you think about the cost of a full Holtz setup in the late 80-early90’s compared to today you will see what I mean. In the early 80’s I owned an entire Mono-type foundry, including all sizes of casters, and three composition casters as well as a British Comp. caster. tons of spare parts skids of mono-type paper. one of which was sold for my entire investment in the shop. Everything was gold. today it has all settled out and the future of type casting looks sound. I know that the in-house training like you received is going to get scarce but there are some of us out here who have a solid foundation in Art History and have been keenly studying fine objects since childhood. My obsession began with 17th century “Flemish” frames when I was three according to my parents. I made a scraping machine to do what is currently called fixed blade work when i was in high school 40 years ago. You rep the future but I do not think you will be alone. , Michael Dorsa PS I did all of Stuart Golders fine scale weaving as piece work, from my studio for five years in the 80’s and then worked the bench with him for 2+ years. Ask Lew about Stu’s work and standards.

    July 31, 2014
    • studiocelia #

      Michael! Please send photos for our gallery! We would really like to see your work! Thanks in Advance!

      July 31, 2014
      • I learned today from David Lindow That Phil is coming to the conference. We are trying to figure out when would work for whom in terms of getting a group to my shop, but your stay should allow for you to make it regardless. I know there will be a lot going on and you have seen and worked in the best but with a Field and a Lienhard Rose Engine, a Plant 14 inch Straight line engraver and 4 working Brocaders one of which is the largest of these types of machines Lienhard ever made my shop is something most of the ot world has never seen. We also do enamel work on a daily basis. I hope you can make it. In the mean time I am going to send Celia photos of the type of work we do.

        August 5, 2014
    • Hi Michael,

      I learned guilloché in the US with my mentor, Phil Poirier, not in-house in a manufacture (thankfully). I will be returning next July to host a workshop for teaching guilloché for a week (perhaps 2 workshops back to back). I have been thinking about a school set up, just as it was in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the birthplace of guilloché and the only place in the world that had a school at the beginning. I will be coming in Wednesday evening I believe and leaving Sunday evening, but would like to see your studio very much. Take care.
      Calina Shevlin

      August 2, 2014

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