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Jake Powning

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Everything posted by Jake Powning

  1. 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...
  2. Jake Powning

    Giant Sword, Arctic Fire Colaboration— Bush/Powning

    Here are some progress shots, the hilt begins to immerge. It's about 10 inches wide.
  3. I'm very excited about this project! Owen Bush has asked me to create a "Dwinesque" (similar to a seax I made in 2013) hilt and scabbard for a massive and beautiful bear-tooth pattern-welded Seax blade he forged while creating seaxes for the national geographic program about the staffordshire hoard. He wanted it to have a bear theme. Here is the initial concept sketch. I'm now waiting for bronze and working on the wood for the hilt. and here's a glimpse of the pattern—
  4. Jake Powning

    Villr - Hilting Owen Bush's Pattern-Welded Bear Seax

    thanks guys! Thanks Alan
  5. Jake Powning

    Villr - Hilting Owen Bush's Pattern-Welded Bear Seax

    Almost finished now to build a shipping case.
  6. Jake Powning

    Bálgargan - Short Sword

    Cool !
  7. Jake Powning

    WIP: Bearded Axe from Uppsala, Sweden

    beautiful!
  8. Jake Powning

    Only in Dark the Light

    Hi Everyone, I've been away from the forums for a while. I'd like to share my entry for the Xiphos Project here. (the Xiphos Project is an exhibit of contemporary swords in the larger exhibition called 'The Sword Form and Thought' co-curated by Peter Johnsson) The theme we were given was to make a sword that explored the idea of xiphos, which means "penetrating light", (but without actually making a xiphos sword) here is my essay for the catalogue: Only in dark the light “Only in silence the word, only in dark the light, only in dying life: bright the hawk’s flight on the empty sky.” -Ursula K. LeGuin The first metal swords were made of bronze, so building a bronze sword is an act of reaching into the deepest shadows of swordsmithing history and bringing an artifact forth. Bronze can be patinaed using arcane solutions with alchemical sounding names like ‘Liver of Sulfur’, making it dark and shadowed; or it can be polished to reveal a golden coloured metal. Steel swords are heated in a forge until they glow orange and then hammered to shape, but bronze is melted in a furnace into a glowing liquid, yellow and shining with swirling iridescent patterns on its surface. To make a bronze sword, this liquid metal is poured into a sword shaped mold, the fulgent bronze rushes into the dark cavity, filling the empty space with its searing colour and mass. The mold defines the liquid bronze, just as darkness is the context that gives light meaning. There is a Bronze Age sword in the British Museum, yellow-golden and huge, as wide as a man’s shoulders, as long as his legs, much bigger than any normal person could ever use. It was probably a sacred object, a sword/altar, or maybe it was a feat of skill for the bronze-smith who made it— it would be very challenging to cast a sword of its size and exquisite thinness with the technology of the bronze age— but what it implies is an immense warrior, some fiendish man like CuChulain from Irish myth or Grendel or a forgotten god. It is a sword, but it is also an altar, a monument to the imagined or the Devine. This idea of the sword that serves a second function as a kind of homunculus, the house for a spirit or idea, has followed swords throughout their history, from the Bronze Age into the Iron Age where swords were made with hilts fashioned as grim faced little gods or demons. It can be seen even in the renaissance when some swords had cavities in their pommels to house effigies of saints or classical gods. At first I thought I would make a bronze sword with a reliquary in its hilt holding an actual hawk skull, the hawk representing light, but as I began drawing it, I saw that it would be much more powerful if what the reliquary held was light itself. Light is something that moves around us, invisible until it strikes a surface, so what better way to capture it than an empty space, the absence allowing for a presence. The hilt of the sword has sections cut away to reveal radiating circles representing light, and the ornamentation is built of two lines, which dance around each other like darkness and its absence. On the scabbard, two curving lines represent the bronze flowing into the mold, penetrating the black to form a blade. The blade itself is polished into a golden line of intent, sharp and deadly, reflecting light, cutting though the shadows. This is a bronze sword connecting us now as we look at it to the earliest swords 5000 years ago. The hilt has been darkened to give context to the light that it holds. The blade itself is the child of the molten bronze penetrating the gloom of the sword mold — Xiphos — penetrating light. Here are some pictures of the finished sword and some process shots.
  9. Jake Powning

    Villr - Hilting Owen Bush's Pattern-Welded Bear Seax

    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.
  10. Jake Powning

    Villr - Hilting Owen Bush's Pattern-Welded Bear Seax

    thanks Travis, I use a Nikon d7100
  11. Jake Powning

    Powning/Stephens Collaboration: Chilblain (Huge Fantasy Sword)

    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.
  12. Jake Powning

    Huginn + Muninn

    beautiful!
  13. Jake Powning

    Villr - Hilting Owen Bush's Pattern-Welded Bear Seax

    Thanks Owen
  14. Jake Powning

    Villr - Hilting Owen Bush's Pattern-Welded Bear Seax

    Here is the rivet block in wax. It's two cave bears facing opposite directions. Almost ready to cast fittings for this piece.
  15. Jake Powning

    Powning/Stephens Collaboration: Chilblain (Huge Fantasy Sword)

    This is gonna be so cool! I love the pattern Dave, it's perfect!
  16. Jake Powning

    Villr - Hilting Owen Bush's Pattern-Welded Bear Seax

    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>
  17. Jake Powning

    Villr - Hilting Owen Bush's Pattern-Welded Bear Seax

    more progress. just about done carving the grip and the wax model of the rivet block for the sheath...
  18. Jake Powning

    Only in Dark the Light

    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
  19. Jake Powning

    Villr - Hilting Owen Bush's Pattern-Welded Bear Seax

    Making progress on the hilt carving, now on to the fittings.
  20. Jake Powning

    Boar Staff

    This is a boar staff I've just designed that I'll be carving sometime over the next six months or so, when I find the right piece of wood. I'm hoping for maple but I also really like the idea of carving it from hornbeem which I've discovered recently has beautiful tight grain and carves a bit like boxwood.
  21. Jake Powning

    Boar Staff

    I'm sow sick of boar puns.
  22. Jake Powning

    Finished: 3 Bar, Blackwood Leaf Dagger - Jachelt

    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.
  23. Jake Powning

    Boar Staff

    Hop-hornbeam is lovely stuff. it's what the old guys around here used to make axe handles from...
  24. Jake Powning

    Only in Dark the Light

    thank you Kevin! Thanks Jim, the feeling is very much mutual! and thanks Howie
  25. Jake Powning

    Villr - Hilting Owen Bush's Pattern-Welded Bear Seax

    thanks guys. That tsuba is amazing Scott!
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