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Jim Kelso

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Jim Kelso last won the day on September 10 2022

Jim Kelso had the most liked content!


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    Nature, The Numinous, photography, finding truth in beauty and beauty in truth.

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  1. 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.
  2. Thanks very much Don! Thanks very much Alan! It has been a while…
  3. 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.
  4. That's so amazing and touching Dave! What a fine tribute... Jim
  5. 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.
  6. Thanks very much Chris! Very nice to hear that Doug...
  7. Thanks very much Jeremy! Much appreciated...
  8. A couple others saw the bark as stones, which I can totally see now. It's all good... Thanks Dave! I'll pass that on to Don.
  9. Thanks very much Joshua, Wes and Gerhard. The lyrical content means ever much more to me. Gerhard, yes end-grain with bark on the sides. It's one of my favorite bits too! I did the bark first and puzzled over what to do on the top, and the light-bulb went off...
  10. Many thanks for your comments guys. Much appreciated. Alan, we met last week and he liked it!
  11. Don gave me this blade five or six years ago and said, "Make something beautiful with it". Hmm, ok, so it rumbled around in my mind until last fall. It was a slow process figuring out the transition, theme and all the details, but I think it came good in the end. I didn't find out until it was almost finished that it was Don's last patterned blade. I knew it had to be one of the last, but THE last. I'm glad I didn't know as I was working on it. Below is a little of what I've written. More to be read here: Kelso Journal And a slide show with more photos here: Fogg/Kelso In keeping with the persona of a hunting knife, I chose to represent features of the Vermont woodlands that would be familiar to a skilled, observant woodsman. These include tracks of the Red Fox, leaves of Red Maple, Beech, and Red and White Oaks, and a feather. The feather was modeled from the Ruffed Grouse, but altered in shape and color to fit the surroundings. I chose a feather as a sign of passage, which in the case of birds, could be molting, conflict, flight or death. Feathers have such deep and subtle beauty. My wife Jean and I have a collection and I always wonder, when finding a single feather, what the story was. The tracks, leaves and feather are all signs, marking activity and transition, the meaning of which is read by the skilled woodsman. This project has been very satisfying for a number of reasons. I was touched and honored when Don gave me the blade to finish. I did not realize until the piece was nearly finished that it was his last patterned blade, which greatly enhances the meaning for me. Don is a legend in the smithing world, and rightly so. Apart from his technical innovations, he has an artistic eye, both for pattern and form, which is rarely, if ever matched. In addition, his Bladesmith’s Forum stands as an unparalleled online resource for beginning and accomplished knifemakers.
  12. Daniel I have been sadly distracted this year and missed this. I love the Swedish flavor of your engraving and how it complements Roger's work. Jim
  13. Thanks Prof. Actually a kind of weird thing happened. As I was taking material off I would run into the occasional termite carcass released from their woody tombs. As I made the final shape, one sort of stuck in the hole, and stayed there through some vigorous handling, so I decided to lacquer over him as he was not very visible. I took a look last week and some other insect was in the same hole trying to back out! I tried to help it but gutted it in the attempt. I thought it was extraordinary that it was in the same hole. Maybe after some tasty dried termite... Thanks so much Steve.
  14. Thanks very much Joshua and John. All your feedback is very helpful.
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