pátek 1. listopadu 2013

Saxes in Salin style II

This summer and early autumn i was working on a series of blades from Vendel period scandinavia. It was great opportunity to learn to work in one specific tradition and also explore variations in blades and techniques. This period of history shows both stunning artistic coherrence and technical variability. Lets see the pieces!

The firts one is Vendel period short sax, blade is forgewelded of carbon steel and wrought iron. The body of the blade is inscribed with two grooves filled with stamped circlets. There is also inlayed rondel in silver. The handle is old ash with inset antler decorative strips. Fittings are fabricated brass. Sax sits in the scabbard made of wood, covered in leather and mounted with brass. Two decorative panels are made using pressblech technique

This one is much bigger and beefier, the blade is forgewelded of wrought and bloomery steel for the edge. One side of the blade is scraped with three grooves, each terminating with silver rondel. Hilt is one piece of reindeer antler deeply carved in chip carving technique with interlaced serpents. The fittings are silver and pommel is embelished with garnet set in the bezel. Scabbard is wooden core covered with tooled leather. silver clamps and antler buckles

the longest one is my reconstruction of possible look of Sax found in Torgard, Norway. The blade is forgewelded of wrought spine and 250 layers of laminated steel for the edge. There is long silver inlay of toothed lines meeting near the tip and terminating with rondel. The hilt is very unusual, almost swordlike with cast animal heads and organic guards sandwiched between metal plates. Wood is briar and is profiled to have excellent grip. Scabbard is swordlike, with bone slider and covered in tooled leather. 
Last one is the shortest but very sturdy. The blade is wrought iron and bloomery, stamped with patterns formed from circlets. Barrel like grip is old ash burl, deeply carved. the carving is red tinted. Fittings are brass, stapmed with linear and circular stamps. Sheath is heavy leather with brass joints. Surface is incised and tooled
This style is becoming to be mine most favorite and i am looking forward to next works in it

čtvrtek 4. července 2013

Fierce face!

The germanic art is my main inspiration and the area i am most used to work in. One particular motive seems to be attractive to me very strongly and thats the reason i wanted to look more into it. Its the wildman face, the fierce face or mask. I am not sure how it started, maybe as an inspiration from roman coins and medals germanic wariors were seeing in contact and service of Roman army. Sure thing is that you can see those en face portraits early on in oldest germanc styles. What interests me the most is the merging of the face to fit the environment and style of the entire piece. Bellow you can see the head plate of bow brooch in Nydam style. The head between those two beasts is very reminiscent of roman heads but you can also see how later Style I saucer and button brooches developed from that.
Nydam brooch, gilded silver. photo by Lukasz Dziubalski

Next one is the example of fully developed Style II art on Ultuna boat burial spatha scabbard. While the Sytle II is very international one and spreads over the germanic dominated Europe, incorporating en face masks seems to be very scandinavian fashion. Note how moustache grows to be body of two headed serpent

Ultuna scabbard detail. photo Lindsey Kerr

 The Oseberg burial contained also a cart with human heads carved in contemporary art style. More realistic, but still bearing trance like expression and formal traits like spherical eyes and open mouth.
Wooden cart post, Oseberg burial. photo by Lukasz Dziubalski
Norwegian strap end in bronze shows a fierce face in late Borre style. Note that the basic features are the same, big, circle like eyes, connected brows and the ribbon like moustache.
Bronze buckle in Oslo museum. photo by Lukasz Dziubalski
 Fully developed ringerike mask motive as carved in the antler walking stick terminal (?). Even when the execution is very formalised and the style is very baroque, you can still see the Ultuna face in there.
Antler walking stick head. photo by Lukasz Dziubalski
 Smaller version of face incorporated to a bronze buckle from gotland, easier to see common traits in here.
Bronze gotlandic buckle. photo by Lukasz Dziubalski
 Finaly i attach some of my work utilising the motive. I hope you find the longevity of the motive fascinating and inspiring.

silver inlayed axe head inspired by Bamberg casket mounts
The guard of this sword is replica of the find from swedish  Sigtuna. executed in moose antler.
Ringerike style mask ispired by the above mentioned walking stick
Transitional Mammen - Ringerike style knife handle of my own design.

úterý 4. června 2013

Into the wilderness

Long overdue, here is the post about work i did for great customer of mine. While i deeply enjoy my historical based work, i must say that being allowed to express myself in free form of illustrative bladesmithing is great joy. We often strive to make legendary blades from myth and stories,  but i find everyday items very attractive.

So here is Rangers set, packed to the way to unknown

and Myles wrote excelent poem for me again:

Into the wilderness

 Few nights have found me
by the fire in a hall,
a cup in my hand
and kinsmen nearby.
Far have I fared
through forests unknown
where sleep comes uneasy
as I stare in the dark.
Will I wake to the bite
of some beast in the night?
Or the calling of crows
on the cool morning air,
and dawn's bright glow
driving my fear?
I must trust my fate
to my fire and cover,
and when I wake
I will wander again
into the unknown,
into the wilderness.

pondělí 3. června 2013

Artifact from the present - Arctic fire 2013

furnace pic by Jake Powning
I had the most inspiring opportunity to attend the invitational hammerin in Alaska, hosted by Dave Stephens, Shane Harvey and Van Clifton. This years goal was to create an artifact as a collaboration of seven smith from around the globe. The quality of company was humbling and overwhelming - Owen Bush (UK), Jake Powning (Ca), Peter Johnsson (Sweden), J. A. Loose, Michael Pikula, and Dave Stephens (USA) and me.
Long time before the planes took us to Anchorage we decided on design and process. I was wondering how this cat herding experience will go, but everything went smooth in that aspect. I think its because the great respect we feel towards each other as maker and personality.

When we arrived we built the smelter from sand, clay, manure and hay and started a smelt. Owen was responsible for smelting material for our blade and it was great learning experience to watch him work. Calm, proffessional and pleasant approach. Also, big succes of bloom, steel, very compact and nice to forge.

furnace pic by Jake Powning
Then the blade team consisting of Owen, Dave and Michael processed the bloom and forged a blade and also one backup blade from modern materials. The was one set back that made us to forge in wee hours but you will see that that bloom blade survived and shines in glory.

Meanwhile, hilt team (me and Jake) started to work on handle components and also on fittings for scabbard. Jake carved the waxes for guards, ferrules and peen block, i carved the antler parts. Bellow you can see the scabbard slider i carved with almandines and moonstone set in silver bezels by Yul.

Unfortunately casting went bit south, but fortunately, the parts that survived were just enough to go with one of previous design options. We agreed later that it might even been beneficial for the outcome. So i had to carve another two bits, central ring bead for grip and vesica shaped pommel. Yul set stones in both of these pieces.
In this time, Peter Johnsson, who was also supervising all project had his venier scabbard glued, shaped, lined with felt and covered with leather. The assembly part was about to be done.
Here you can see blade mounted with hilt and slider for scabbard.

And we did it! Pictures of finished piece can barely show you the immense energy in this huge dagger, but you can feel part of it.

the best thing - it can be yours! All you have to do is solve the riddle
Whats the name of the blade and Where in the world its hidden?

for more information about the rules, chect project website

I have to say i learned a lot from all artisans who were there. Even if it may not look so between all laughter and pranks, i had a very spiritual experience. I am sure my work will be better now. I am happy that i had opportunity to contribute with my skill and aesthetics in something that is much more than sum of all parts

úterý 9. dubna 2013

Head opener

Or Haufuthupnari  in Old Norse is my newest creation. A single edged sword with H type pommel ornamented in Borre style. I dont want to write here about how and from which materials i created the sword, i would more like to write about the spirit of the piece.
Sword is  powerful statement. Its of course a weapon, tool of grim trade but its also a symbol, a beginning of a story or a hero of one. With this one, i wanted to make a true companion, something trustworthy, what is not embelished or ornamented because you want to show of, but as a representation of the relationship of the warrior and his sword. Is it something he was given by his lord as reward? Did he win it in a fight? did it passed from father to son? This is where i aimed, not the stark military sword for interchangeable soldier, not a high class weapon of Jarl made to order after the latest fashion. Somewhere in between, where you fight but still come home and plough your land and brew your beer.

The name represents not only the obvious physiological meaning but also a learning experience for me.

Myles came up gain with great story  in this poem

pondělí 18. března 2013

Spring Ring

During winter, i had hard time to write my blog, but i feel it will change with spring coming. The nature is still pretty much chained in icy bonds,

but you can feel warmer days are around the corner. I currently work on big project that i will post about later, but i managed to spare sme free time to carve this little ring.
Its a Dwarven mourning ring, made to commemorate fallen friends and heroes in fierce battles with orcs and dragons. Unlike most of Dwarven made stuff, its made out of organic material - in this case a troll tooth. I think it represents the fact that the forge and furnace are off and without the living flame.
Have the most beautiful spring time and await a new post soon