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Jake Powning

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Everything posted by Jake Powning

  1. Here are some progress shots, the hilt begins to immerge. It's about 10 inches wide.
  2. Owen and I are making a the giant sword from Grendel's hoard. Built for giants and hung on the wall of the troll lair, It's the sword that was used to slay Grendel's mother by Beowulf after his own sword failed. Once the deed had been done, the blade of the giant's sword was destroyed by Grendel's mother's blood, however, the hilt and possibly a blade fragment remained. Beowulf brought only two things from the troll den when he left — the hilt of this sword and Grendel's head, both of which he gave to king Hrothgar. In the last few decades the historical Heorot (the hall of Hrothgar) has been unearthed in Denmark, in a place called Lejre. We'll keep you updated on the progress here. I'll start out by posting my concept drawing for the hilt... The so called "drowning giants" sword hilt fragment was reportedly found next to a very large hominid skull with one intact unusually long canine tooth. The skull could possibly be from a human with some form of giantism from the period of burial, or be an ancient skull (perhaps from a Neanderthal / Homo Sapiens hybrid) unearthed by people of the time and kept as a talismanic curiosity. The skull may be much older than the find site, but since it was lost it's virtually impossible to speculate. "(the hilt) was engraved all over and showed how war first came into the world and the flood destroyed the tribe of giants." -Beowulf "Drowning Giant" hilt and blade fragment from Hrothgar's tomb. Depicts Salin style giants getting pulled apart and sucked down into whirlpools on iether side of the center line. Owen and I have been researching the names this sword may have had. The list is quite extensive! I've also designed the hilt based on other giant artifacts I have knowledge of. This drawing shows the scale difference between men and giants extrapolated from the Lejre hilt and blade fragment size. this is the size a person would need to have been in order to use the sword. Owen Bush is forging a blade to match the original's probable size, and I will fit it with a hilt. When we're done we're hopping a giant will appear to claim the reconstruction. Don't feed the giant any whiskey at all— that's what they tell me. and finally one of my earliest sketches trying to determine the scale of the hilt before I had thoroughly decoded the hilt ornamentation It shows a giant's hand resting under the hilt and a human warrior's hand for scale reference. I've had several long discussions with Owen about our research so far. He is researching and designing the blade of the sword and has looked into it's origins. I've taken the liberty of quoting some of what he's written on the subject so far — "For me one thing is certain, a sword with many lives and possibly only one destiny... I imaging the owner of the sword, feeling that the destiny was his also. to kill a great troll, but alas it was not to be. for him a watery grave, A feast for crabs. I wonder how many carried this sword and died, again and again before the swords long sleep. a lazy lover waiting , languid, nestled in great company. cuddled in gold .draped in horn ,and lyre, dagger....one eye half open....unslept....the long wait. To wake and find destiny came in the form of a man, casting the shadow of a giant. past owners gathering at the gate and watching as sword met scale, lives and legends flashing past in the severing......destiny fulfilled in blood-melted steel..." - Owen Bush It seems quite likely that this sword was forged in the earliest age, when time wasn't all together settled yet, when the lines between men and gods and giants weren't so clear as they became later. It seems possible, even likely, that this sword was forged by one of the beings hinted at in Völuspá— the children of Ymyr. Immense deep knowing ones later to become gods, but without intention yet, only making things for the sake of making them, unaware of the consequences of breathing life into trees creating the first men, of building mountains from the bones of their recently destroyed progenitor, and the sky from his skull. Perhaps they made other things more subtle— a sword imbued with visions of flood and war they did not yet understand, and given a destiny to unfold as time cooled into a more certain thing than it was in the beginning. It has even been suggested by one scholar (J. Arthur Loose) that this may be the blade that slue Ymyr himself, though of course this would be impossible to prove...
  3. thanks Kevin! most days I feel like I can't draw or carve at all— I'm just muddling through. Your words give me hope. It's a funny business, the more I do this the less I feel that I know about it.
  4. I'd just like to say that I believe the above photo showing Dave in an office with the sword blank has been Photoshopped. We all know that you actually made that in your castle-forge in Northland Dave. Proof.
  5. Here is the rivet block in wax. It's two cave bears facing opposite directions. Almost ready to cast fittings for this piece.
  6. This is gonna be so cool! I love the pattern Dave, it's perfect!
  7. thanks guys! I'm putting some videos together while I make the fittings for this guy. here's one of carving the sheath clasp in wax... https://www.youtube.com/embed/oqZZTpMtsfw?rel=0"frameborder="0"allowfullscreen>
  8. more progress. just about done carving the grip and the wax model of the rivet block for the sheath...
  9. You're right Jeroen it's the Oxborough dirk that inspired me. I saw some amazing swords with similar blade dimensions to the one I made, in the National Museum in Stockholm this September, very long blades and totally functional. I really thought I was pushing the pail with this one but maybe not so much The sword I'm working on with Dave though, it's pushing the boundaries of hugeness ;D
  10. Making progress on the hilt carving, now on to the fittings.
  11. this is beautiful Dave. The pattern welded chape is quite a feat! did you overlap it and forge weld? I really like the tree and leaf design on the scabbard.
  12. Hop-hornbeam is lovely stuff. it's what the old guys around here used to make axe handles from...
  13. thank you Kevin! Thanks Jim, the feeling is very much mutual! and thanks Howie
  14. thanks guys! Thanks John, For a long time I've wanted to make work that was unsettling, it's always been part of my design process. I find if you look in the eye of a migration period beast or deconstruct the pretty patterns on Salin drinking horns you will find some things that are quite unsettling, (like the Salin II ( I think?) horn at the British Museum with ornamentation constructed from dismembered limbs and heads). I've always wanted to explore these things in a more overt way but when I was younger I was worried that people wouldn't take my work seriously. After twenty years though I feel like I've earned the right to play with some skulls Also swords are inherently dark and it's liberating to admit that and explore what that means. I think the designs can loose heart if we don't acknowledge the gritty darkness, they can become like a drawing without shading, or a tracing of a drawing that has no feeling in it. Even doing strict reproductions of germanic gripping beasts requires a sense of the macabre or they end up looking cute.
  15. thanks Guys! And Thank you Peter for inviting me to do this! This project stretched me and brought me into swordsmithing from a different angle. I feel like I'm making work that I'm excited about again. This project broke the rime of practice that had grown around me and caused me to see swords and smithing in a new way.
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