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Engraving Patterns for Lip Plates

Hand Engraving is the ultimate expression of the artisan who wants to personalize the instrument.  It gives the instrument an artistic quality that goes beyond tone and musical expression.  Very few craftsmen have the combination of skills that brings enough control to the graver to extend beyond the artist’s paint brush or pen.  Engraving on the lip plate makes it more secure for the lower lip in very hot and humid playing conditions.  The added stability allows the player to perform without constantly wiping the perspiration off the lip plate.  In addition, the visual expression of beauty inspires the player who wants to take the performance to a higher level of musical expression every time the flute is lifted into playing position. 

Most of my current designs are copies of engravings that were first used more than 100 years ago.  Some are original patterns that were suggested by a commissioner.  It’s possible to transfer any design into a pattern for engraving by scanning and then processing  it in computer graphics software.  For example, the head joints that I donated to the Pappoutsakis Competition have been engraved with the image of the Master on the lip plate.  The first place winner took home a cash prize and a new Landell Argentium head joint with the memorial Pappoutsakis marking on the lip plate.  I hope this kind of graphic art will inspire performers to achieve higher goals of musicality in the daily life of a concert artist.

These engravings are shown for your information, and you may commission a new head joint with any of them.  I can engrave any maker’s lip plate, but only if it’s solid silver or gold.  Sometimes, I engrave my signature on the head joint tube, so other players will easily recognize the maker’s hand.  Engraved key work is outside my experience, but in fact I know of one German Master Craftsman who can ‘chase’ the keys in the manner that the old flutes were made. 

On some very special lip plates I’ve added jewels to the engraving and to the crown.  The inspiration of jewelry can be very impressive to others who may want to see the flute for themselves.  Considering the cost of the added beauty, it has always been a great benefit to the performer when the concert is over and the experience is just a memory to cherish.