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New Direction Forward

Michael Pikula

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As I reflect back upon what I wanted to accomplish as an artist and start to plot a new direction forward I will be finishing up a couple of projects and ideas. A properly crafted and balanced sword is just the beginning. The story which it tells, and the story which it carries makes it art. The story of this sword began when images of another sword, which was previously only published as a sketch, surfaced. Seeing the images made me appreciate the sketch on a deeper level, and other sketches started becoming much more appealing. In Oakeshott's "Records of the Medieval Sword" there was another sketch that drew my attention, and captured my imagination. The sword was published in a sale catalog, which were destroyed, prior to the air-raids on London during the world wars, and the whereabouts of the sword is unknown. Perhaps it survived and is in a collection somewhere in the world, or maybe it was buried in the devastation. Where did it come from? Who did it belong to? I was very drawn to the form of the guard, and the pommel, as well as the detail in the grip. The entry on the following pages had a similar blade from, and the fittings were forged to shape with a very slag rich iron or steel. I decided to use some wrought iron that was salvaged from Lake Superior, bringing new life to a material which was abandoned, and left for the earth to consume once again. It was such a joy to be able to work on this piece, and see it literally come to life. Even though the proportions are rather large, the sword is quick, very nimble, yet has all the presence that one would expect.


I would like to share one of the last pieces in my journey, and hope to surpass it with the two that remain to be actualized.









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Beautiful story behind it as well! Just magnificent work here Michael. I am in awe of the proportions and cleanness of this sword..

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That's a hefty story, and a hefty sword to go with it!

To become old and wise... You first have to survive being young and foolish! ;) Ikisu.blogsot.com. Email; milesikisu@gmail.com mobile: +27784653651

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Beautiful! Looks like it would be fun and scary to swing around, too.

I have always thought that one man of tolerable abilities may work great changes, and accomplish great affairs among mankind, if he first forms a good plan....

- Benjamin Franklin

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Thank you for all the comments :)


This sword absolutely needs to be handled and swung to fully appreciate. I brought it to CrossFit when I finished it up, and when handling after class the shaking in everyones hands resonated through the grip and the blade came to life, it was a really amazing moment for me to watch.


Indeed Peter! I have this thing for big blades and the XVIIIc was feeling a little left out so I decided to give it some attention. I was originally planning to make a scabbard for it as well, but after holding it on my hip for scale, I thought it would be too ridiculous, unless I sprouted a foot or two over night.


Can I publicly admit I hope this one doesn't sell so I can keep one of my own swords????


Stay warm Ric! -21 out, but feel like -46 out by me. I will be sure to bring it with next time we meet.


As I am thinking more about the context of my original post, I wanted to share a little passage that is on the website that I am developing for myself. It will expand a little bit on the idea of what the story is to me and how I see it woven into the work I do:


"For me, the sword is a very interesting object, from a technical point of view as well as conceptual. To truely understand what makes a sword a sword, it is imperative to be able to hold and study the artfacts that history has left us, and get a first hand sense of what a real sword is like. A properly made sword is just a starting point, an object that is true to its roots, and true to the concept which it portrays.
Each sword that I make is a story which has no end. Once the seed of an idea is planted and work begins, the story is started. Through working with the metal and changing its shape, I am changing the world around me, and adding to the story. Once the piece finds its new home, it's owner will add to the story, and as the piece makes its way through time so will its story grow. 500 years from now it could be on display in someones home of the future, in a museum, or benieth the rubble of a collapsed society, or floating on a space colony. But whatever it's story will be, the story of all those will go with it."
Still have to expand on it, but thought it would be nice to share.
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Beautifully imagined and conceived.


Am I right in reading that you only plan to finish two more swords for now before moving away from them as a medium? If so, I look forward to seeing where you direct your energy and imagination next. I think we all know you'll approach it with both passion and meditation, whatever it is, and we'll all miss your dazzling execution and the healthy competitive sparks you make that keep us all pushing ourselves :)


And if I misread what you said, awesome interpretation of a unique and badass sword, and hope you make them forever!

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that is a great piece. I am coming up with a website right now, too. I have a bit on it about the connections between the artist and patron, self-expression of the artist in making and the self-expression of the patron in choosing, and giving meaning to our everyday lives by recognizing that handcrafted beauty is an important part of life.


Very interested in what you are planning to do next. After all, I never want to reach a time in life when I am not planning to do something better than what I have done before!


take care,


please visit my website http://www.professorsforge.com/


“Years ago I recognized my kinship with all living things, and I made up my mind that I was not one bit better than the meanest on the earth. I said then and I say now, that while there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.” E. V. Debs

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Good luck in your future endeavors and I too look forward the the subsequent swords.

“Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Really exceptional Michael. Beautifully conceived and realized.

Have you considered a rust patina on the wrought?



I have not worked too much with rust patina Jim. My intention is geared toward still having durable finishes, and my previous experiences with patinas is they can wear off with cleaning and oiling. I might have to work on my technique though ;)



Hi Michael,


I never knew that the Type XVIII could be this massive; Please, what are the dimensions on this?



Hi Steven, I intentionally did not share the dimensions since I am trying to present the work as a living object that is more then just a sword. I feel that listing dimensions is a practice in absolutes and the work is always changing, growing, and evolving as it passes through time. I know that it is a different way of thinking and presenting work, but then again I have always been a bit... odd... :)

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  • 1 year later...

I always like seeing your work! That is a very well proportioned sword, and a great example of its type.

“If you trust in yourself. . . believe in your dreams. . . and follow your star. . . you will still get beaten by the people who have spent their time working hard and learning things, the people who weren't so lazy.” ~ Terry Pratchett


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