Jump to content

Ashokan 2011: More Photos, etc.

Recommended Posts

Wow. What a great, great experience to attend Ashokan. I wish all of the forum could have been there to experience the fun, the incredible display of work and skill and the utterly mind-blowing sharing of knowledge.


Here are a few photos a video and some highlights:


-- Myself, David Delagardelle, Shane Harvey, Ben Dawson and Michael Pikula decided to "get midieval" during the open forging event, and forge out a billet of damascus using a three man striking pattern.


Check out this shot of Shane striking one of the welding blows.


<table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/cHH_2Jww-OGpTi2I72espQ?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/--Z7loT-I__M/TnayhctQZII/AAAAAAAABwc/c6odTIKqBe8/s800/photo.JPG" height="598" width="800" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/DaveStephens907/Ashokan?authuser=0&feat=embedwebsite">Ashokan</a></td></tr></table>Damn'>https://picasaweb.google.com/DaveStephens907/Ashokan?authuser=0&feat=embedwebsite">Ashokan</a></td></tr></table>Damn cool, huh?


Some video of forging out the piece. Unfortunately, this isn't the best scene. Later scenes had the crew in much better precision. Michael had been overseas working in European blacksmith shops before and totally knew the pattern for the striking team. After he got tired of us being off rythm, he started barking out cadence in German. It was friggin' hilarious. I think David shot some video of that scene. Hopefully he will post it.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/cBTKcSPKnaw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


If you didn't attend, you would not believe how many forum members were there. One dinner, in the dining hall, Don asked me to yell out to the crowd and have members of our forum stand up. Half the flipping room stood up. It was truly amazing.


Here's a group photo of some forum members (and most of the flaming beards).

<table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/vFBBvvzlWsKvMOhR2RtEOg?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-PZC8mq0QITU/TnaxzmBK6XI/AAAAAAAABvw/5PH8bwXpY0k/s800/CIMG0573.JPG" height="600" width="800" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/DaveStephens907/Ashokan?authuser=0&feat=embedwebsite">Ashokan</a></td></tr></table>

From left to right, back row to front row (with advance apologies for name mispellings: Bill Hoffman, Jake Powning, Jim Kelso, Don Fogg, Owen Bush, Dick Sexton, (his name escapes me, sorry!), Jeff Pringle, Alan Longmire, David Delagardelle, (Bottom row): Jim Austin, Dave Stephens, Michael Pikula, Sam Salvati.


Jake Powning adding decoration to our forge before the forging of the billet by hand:

<table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/pwlaUOveUwcmE2pVIaI3KQ?feat=embedwebsite"><img src="https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-LvEGrl4UnT8/TnaygB_Ud2I/AAAAAAAABwU/PRIkzgsqzmw/s800/CIMG0578.JPG" height="600" width="800" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">From <a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/DaveStephens907/Ashokan?authuser=0&feat=embedwebsite">Ashokan</a></td></tr></table>


I apologize for the dark video, but this was a scene to not be missed. Two of the world's great bladesmiths, Jake Powning and J. Arthur Loose spontaneously playing music while we were all drinking ale or mead and watching the sparks from the smelt rise into a clear black sky. I felt like I'd somehow dropped into Bilbo's 111th birthday party and a bunch of dwarves decided to crash the party. This is a moment I'll remember all my life.


<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/OYp40SJlU9o" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


There were many more scenes from this gathering that I hope others captured. It was truly epic.


Final note: Peter Johnsson gave a lecture during this seminar that utterly and fundamentally changed the way I (and I'm sure many others) view sword design and creation. His research and discoveries are truly remarkable and a testament to not only his intense scholarship and devotion to the craft, but also his amazing ability to think creatively and to hypothesize from observation the methods of past masters.


He has asked that the discoveries--I say discovery rather than theory or hypothesis as he would, simply because the evidence he presents is so convincing I have no choice but to simply take it as "discovered" rather than postulated--he has uncovered remain off of the Internet until he formally publishes them sometime later this year. Of course I, and I'm sure the others that attended will honor Peter's request, but at least let me say this: If you make swords, if you want to make a sword, or if your just want to understand how swords should be made, you MUST read this article. My head is still swimming from the information I learned from his lecture and it will completely influence my work from here on.


Ashokan next year for sure!!


You other guys that were there, post more photos!





Link to post
Share on other sites

Great Stuff - I would like to see to it that My Hammer (recently acquired from Sam Salvati) gets its appropriate credit. Michael was nice enough to break the hammer in at the Hammer In, so to speak. He is using it to send signals to the forumite group of strikers. Maybe the hammer learned something and can teach me.

Wonderful time by all, and I think we all learned more about swords this weekend than in the past several years.

These guys are even better in person than on the net, if you can believe it. And, THE WORK is much more beautiful in person.


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll be posting some photo's and vids asap.


It was surreal and beyond awesome.

Blown away and so inspired by the wealth of wisdom, talent, and knowledge from everyone. I most definitely still have a lot to learn. :)

I wanted to find time to learn from everyone and gain insight and new perspectives, but of coarse you'll never have enough time and energy to do it all in an event like this. The sleep deprivation didn't help either... haha


One of the most positive-good convictions I had during the week was just the new found realization of how much I truly appreciate all of you guys here on the forum, and for the community as a whole. And I probably don't express that gratitude enough.

I'm sure that if this forum never existed and if I didn't know most of you guys I would still be doing swordsmithing to some extent.

But I know my work would never be even remotely good without the inspiration and motivation from guys like Don, Dick, Jake, Peter, J. Loose, Alan, Owen, and everyone else to many to name.

So all that to say, thank you guys!


Cant wait to apply the absolutely incredible insights Peter taught about sword design to future pieces.

First to breathe though, take a break, refocus, and catch up on sleep... ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got home a few hours ago and have yet to download my pictures, but everything Dave said is SPOT ON!


It was truly a family reunion, but one of the best kind since there were no fights and nobody off sulking in the corner. :lol:


The ripples spreading outwards from this event will slowly change the world and possibly life as we know it...in a good way, of course. My head is still spinning, I don't expect to be coherent until tomorrow at the earliest, but WOW was it worth it! B)


Where else can you be standing in a field talking to three or four forum members, when a car drives up to disgorge Jake Powning, Owen Bush, and Don Fogg all in the same place and time? I thought Sam Salvati was going to faint... :lol:

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been on high I seen the light and heard the gospel.......thank you peter!

epic isn't even close!




Don't forget your beard's on fire now. Send me a pic and I'll do it up for you. B)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a few pics of my own:


First, the ever-affable Sam Salvati reacting to the news that Don, Jake, and Owen are coming...




And here's Mike Krol and Dave Stephens right after Dave arrived:




Jake and Owen looking dapper in scarves my wife made for them:




Don Fogg and Peter Johnsson examining one of the Maldon Foe seaxes:





Peter Johnsson (looking a bit sour for reasons unknown, possibly related to the fact that he's looking at Sam :lol: ), Jake Powning, Owen Bush, Sam, and Sam's girlfriend (yes, he's got one! :blink: ) examine an axe by Jim Austin:




Dave Stephens, Michael Pikula, Jim Austin, Jeff Pringle, and David Delagardelle:




A few of Michael Pikula's swords, any one of which I'd kill to own (although I'm partial to the feel of the one in the middle):




Michael Pikula and J. Arthur Loose are really getting into Jim Austin's Danish broad axes:




Dick Sexstone and Owen Bush on Friday night:




And finally for this set, J. Loose (Jól) lighting a cigar with a hot poker because he's just that cool a guy:




That one's blurry due to pocket lint on the camera, sorry.


More later, I'm gonna take a nap!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for sharing those wonderful photos and videos. It looks like it was a great get together.




Ps: While I missed the event, I can sympathize with the long drive just having arrived in London from the southern most part of Cornwall.

Link to post
Share on other sites

A truly incredible event. A few more photos:


Dick Sextone, Dekar(I think), J. Loose, Don and sorry I don't know your names.




Andrew Meers, Mike Green and I apologize I forgot your name, appreciating Michael Pikula's fine work:




Jim Austin is pleased with a sword I believe by Michael Pikula:




Very informative and interesting Rapier fencing by Stewart Feil and Brian Hunt:




In for the kill:




Owen with an impressive array of hardware including the Troll Seax:




Another shot of the billet forging with Dave Stephens, Michael Pikula and I'm sorry i don't know who:




Don, the elusive Dan Maragni, Phil Baldwin and Andrew Meers. Danny has two sweet hammers from Japan given to him by a smith he spent time with.

It looks like Don and Phil are deep into a glaring contest, but I don't remember it coming to blows! :lol:




and the hammers:



Edited by Jim Kelso
Link to post
Share on other sites

that was me running the air for the forge for the team striking .... and sitting next to Owen you can't tell but I was cowering in fear from troll hunter....


Sorry Matthew, geezer memory void was not aided by sleep deprivation. ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well,It looked awsome and a lot of fun,at least now I can put some faces with names,where was this at again???

Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to pull out due to a work thing..preparation taking more time that I thought.

Looks like I missed a good one.


I asked Kevin Cashen to give those I love a special message...I do hope it got delivered.



So..when is the next one?



Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to pull out due to a work thing..preparation taking more time that I thought.

Looks like I missed a good one.


I asked Kevin Cashen to give those I love a special message...I do hope it got delivered.



So..when is the next one?






Your name was mentioned at least a dozen times while I was present. No kidding.


You were sorely missed.


I look forward to meeting you in person at the next one.





Link to post
Share on other sites

This is true Ric- everyone was saying you were supposed to be there! :angry:


Seriously, this was a really wonderful infusion of collective energy and I'm really excited to keep being creative, playful and productive back in the relative isolation of Vermont.


Here's a picture of Tim Zowada digging out the smelter while Kevin Cashen looks on like a suitably happy little kid. ;)



Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have words, and I was so overwhelmed I didn't get any photos... and there were too many conversations I missed caused of the few I was able to participate in...


a summer long event would still have not been enough.... But non of us could have survived that much sleep depravation cool.gif So too short but oh so sweet was just the best.



I am very much looking forward to Peter " completing his lecture" in march... for those of us that attended we were treated to part of an elegant theory put forth by Peter..


Us attendees are sworn to secrecy for what Peter exposed us to... where else in the world could you trust over 100 guys & girls to hold a secret that long.. and where else in


the world would you find one like Peter who would put his trust in such a group ... Knights of the Ashokan round table ...



Link to post
Share on other sites

A few more pics!


This series is from the knife show part of the weekend on Sunday. First up is a view of the table shared by Michael Pikula, Owen Bush, and a guy whose name escapes me:




Then we have Don Fogg, Dave Suiter, David Delagardelle, Jake Powning, and J. Arthur Loose looking over David D.'s table of stuff with some of my stuff in the foreground:




David, Jake, and another guy whose name I forgot:




Jim Austin at center presiding over his axes:




Jim Kelso at work:




A recorded lecture from years past, with the best title I've seen:




Matthew Parkinson at right talking to Dick Sexstone over a table full of MP metals sharp and pointy goodies:




And finally, another view of Michael and Owen's table. Note how thin the sword is!:




This was a truly great gathering... :ph34r:

Link to post
Share on other sites

It was an absolutely fascinating event and it was wonderful to meet so many of the makers that I have only known through forum posts and internet interaction. Meeting some of you guys in person has been a wonderful experience, and has helped to bring a personal flare to the dynamic thoughts and interaction that take place online. I for one have come away with such a vast array of thoughts that are shining a light on this craft from an entirely new direction and feel the need to not only reinvent my work, but approach it from a different conceptual angle all together. To go from feeling burned out and exhausted to ragingly motivated in one two days has been a life changing event!


Now off to make either a cloning machine or find a way to add more hours to the day :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...