Francine and Felix
Francine's etching career began in 1973 when she started working with David Boye. He taught her to etch knives using a traditional etching technique--hand drawing designs in a beeswax and asphaltum resist, then soaking the knife in a bath of aqua regia (an ancient formula combining nitric and hydrochloric acid). Over the years Francine refined her original style and also developed a new, simpler style using a reproducible masking technique designed by Boye in 1981. At that time the etchant of choice became a Ferric Chloride spray bath.
From 1983 through 1985, Francine studied drawing and composition with Howard Ikemoto at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California. Those classes with that gifted teacher helped Francine to refine and formalize her artistic skills. From 1985 to 1992, she worked as a freelance design illustrator doing independent commercial projects. A 1993 phone call to Boye led to her management and eventual ownership of the David Boye Knives Gallery in Davenport, California.
After completing several pieces which helped her to refamiliarize herself with her craft, Francine received a commission by wildlife artists Bev and Jay Doolittle to produce a seven piece set of kitchen knives with etchings representing California Desert flora and fauna.
From 1993 on, Francine developed her reproduced design catalog, reworking and simplifying some of her custom etchings as well as creating new artwork. She now offers about thirty of her own designs, a number by David Boye, and various traditional images that were adapted by her or Boye. Expanding the catalog is a slow, steady, and ongoing project.
Over the years Francine has created hundreds of reproduced etchings and scores of custom pieces, including an 8 piece set with Georgia wildlife themes, a set based on the Narnia books by C.S. Lewis, a gold and copper plated Leopard scene on a Bowie knife made by knifemaker R.D. Nolen, and the Doolittle set.