I had the pleasure of meeting Regina Sonntag at this year’s show in Kulmbach (2015). We even enjoyed dinner with a dozen other people. I am very happy to present this interview. To my way of thinking the engravers do not get enough credit. I hope you enjoy learning more about Regina, one of the very respected engravers in the world.
My professional career:
How did I get into engraving:
Since my earliest childhood days I like drawing and that´ s why I longed for an artistic profession. So in 1978 in Hannover I started my training to become an engraver. I engraved with my gravers on materials like jewelry, precious metals and objects made out of pewter. After some years of work as a freelance I met Mrs. Romund (from the flat figure editor Karl Romund, Hannover). She was my starting-aid into the world of the flat figures. In 1989 I attended the Kulmbach figure convention for the first time and received orders for engraving figures of different topics from many different editors.
I studied the engravings of the classical masters and of the actual engravers and step by step I developed my personal style of engraving. It is my ideal to keep a figure flat and moreover to model its contours precise and smooth to get a flat but also rounded and smooth surface.
My own figures:
Engraving figures of my own I prefer large scale figures. Compared with a 30mm flat the large scale figure allows me to go more into details. I prefer the period of art nouveau (in Germany this period is called “Jugendstil”, the English call it “modern style”) and the presentation of women in beautiful dresses and themes. A figure can also be mystical or funny as long as they inspire the spectators.
The Iron Gustav
The Lady Searching for Shells
The figure above was painted by Philippe Fourquet
The photo above is of Regina Sonntag
Learning to Engrave:
It is essential for everyone who wants to learn to make slate moulds for flat figures to have a good three-dimensional and abstract thinking.
A poem I wrote:
“Is engraving a hard task?”
someone passing once did ask.
The engraver thought both hard and long
and then he answered with his song:
In the stone you etch the figure
cut it deep to make it bigger
and then you pour the liquid tin
over this new mould and in.
Then you see that, as you´ d planned, you have a tin figure in your hand!
Now paint him brightly, red or blue,
whatever colour pleases you.
This, then, is what engravers do,
with all the skill that makes art true.
But do not think it´ s effortless:
Remember: Practice brings success !
The beginning of every flat figure is a good design/drawing. Here I would like to mention the designers Mr. Martin Block (mark MB) of Hamburg and Mr. Mike Taylor (Mark M.C.T.) from St. Nicholas-at-Wade, England. Mike and Martin being friends always supporting me with all their knowledge and experience. I owe a lot to them and to my family as well for their helpful support.
(Editorial Note: I want to thank Andreas Barz for assisting in translating the exchange for this interview.)
My wife took some photos of Regina and her booth: