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Jim Kelso

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Jim Kelso last won the day on June 30 2023

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    Vermont
  • Interests
    Nature, The Numinous, photography, finding truth in beauty and beauty in truth.

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  1. Hah, hah, you guys clearly know much more about the chemistry than I! Hard to separate etching and patina into distinct, discrete arenas wherein results can be predicted based on anything other than shop experience. We work from the shoulders of generations of artisans having little scientific knowledge but centuries of practical experience and observation. I don't mean to belittle chemistry knowledge. I love the little I do know. But nothing replaces trying stuff out, and letting the wonderment flow as things work as planned, but also not.
  2. Thanks very much AJ and Brian. I made another sculpture using the Luna Moth. There are photos and some writing about an encounter I had with one HERE
  3. Thank all for the kind comments. Dick, I was so impressed at how Nick took my concept and ran with it. The placement of the iron within the steel, and how both metals work with the form is astounding to me.
  4. Thanks very much Alan. What a great experience!
  5. Thanks very much guys! Really appreciated Jim
  6. After some discussion with Nick Anger about a collaboration, I gave him a drawing derived from the shape of an Amaryllis leaf, which I had been thinking about for a while as a blade shape. A few days later he had forged a rough version of the leaf shape. This initial maquette was extremely useful and allowed us to discuss steel pattern and shaping choices for the final blade. Although I had not settled on a theme for my work on the knife, I knew I wanted to incorporate an iron field into the pattern-welded steel that could be engraved apart from the hardened steel. Nick and I discussed making a wood-grain (mokume) patterned blade and strategically forge-welding iron within the pattern, in an area balanced with the overall leaf-shape. He proceeded to make the overall shape in a beautiful wood-grain pattern using 15n20, 1080 and 1084. I think Nick’s blade exhibits mastery in several ways but particularly in the balance of form harmonizing with the patterned steel and iron. Also, technically, it was quite difficult, first to meld the materials, and then, through the sequence of shaping, heat-treating and final shaping to maintain integrity between the hardened steel and the unhardened iron. I was very happy seeing his impeccable result, which was just what I had hoped for as a canvas for my engraving /inlay. Neither of us is aware of any instance of iron and steel being combined in this way, with the iron as a decorative field, in some previous work. An unexpected gift appeared in the steel/iron melding. On the concave side, in the boundary between the patterned steel and iron, there appears a dendritic pattern and bands of carbon migration. These phenomena only became apparent after etching the blade. I think this surprise significantly enhances the beauty of the blade, especially as it appears on the Luna moth spirit side. There is a hint of the dendritic pattern on the convex side in the very far forward point of the iron. This is also not something we have seen in other bladesmithing. The subject of my engraving is the Luna Moth and its remarkable, brief adult life. These extremely beautiful moths only live as adults for 5 to 7 days. Also they have no mouthparts for eating, and they can smell a mate 7 miles away, through their antennae. On the front side of the knife I chose to show the adult flying to its mate using 22k gold to represent its full vitality. On the reverse, the pure silver inlaid moth represents the spirit of the moth on its way to the next life. Overall length: 35 cm (13.75”) I’m very interested in hearing what anyone can add around the dendritic crystallization. It appears somewhat like what is seen in meteorites, so perhaps it is related to the nickel content of the 15n20.
  7. Thank you all for the kind comments! Much appreciated. Joshua, Nick made the blade from 15n20/1080. The term mokume is usually taken in the west to mean copper alloys or other non-ferrous. In fact it refers to the grain pattern, and could be applied to ferrous, non-ferrous and even clay.
  8. Thanks very much Don! Thanks very much Alan! It has been a while…
  9. Apologies for my spare participation here. The inspiration for the form of this knife is the Japanese kogatana/kozuka. I have long admired the simple form of these knives and the often sublimely beautiful art found on the kozuka handle. My desire to work in iron on the handle led to the idea of forging the iron to the blade, resulting in a one-piece knife with integral handle. Having recently begun collaborating with Nick Anger, I asked him about making a wood-grain (mokume) patterned blade and strategically forging iron to the back in the handle area. Nick’s highly skilled merging of the iron with the steel was impeccable and just what I had hoped for as a canvas for my engraving/inlay. The wrought iron has a lovely natural, earthy grain. The subject of my engraving is a pairing of pine and plum design. The style of engraving for the plum branch and blossoms is called kosuki-bori, practiced by Goto Ichijo (1791-1876) and passed to his student Funada Ikkin (1812-1863). It was mostly used to portray plum branch design. The plum blossoms are inlayed pure silver with rose-gold centers, which have engraved details and punched raised dot stamen-tips. The pine design served as a transition from the patterned blade steel to the iron handle with one small pine branch on the iron and another forward on the steel. The steel and iron both needed specific etch and patina, which were done after all shaping, engraving and polishing was completed. The blade etch was done by Nick with ferric chloride. I did the iron patina with the technique given to me by Toshimasa-sensei as outlined on my website. The shibuichi throat piece was carved in a wood-grain pattern and has 24k gold inlaid lichen. It was patinated with the traditional Japanese niage process. The saya/sheath is made from Wenge wood and was chosen for its pattern and colors harmonious to the iron patina.
  10. That's so amazing and touching Dave! What a fine tribute... Jim
  11. Thanks Steve! Thanks very much Luke. If there is an effortless look, it's deceptive! It seems these days that most of my work requires long periods of gestation, especially working out the various design elements and how they work together(or not). Lots of gazing, then leaving it alone for a while.
  12. Thanks very much Chris! Very nice to hear that Doug...
  13. Thanks very much Jeremy! Much appreciated...
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