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Hi, It's been a while since I have been able to post anything up here, so it is nice to be back.

 

Some time ago I was contacted by a client who was interested in having 4 swords made. Each sword would represent a different season and would be made by different smiths. I was lucky enough to be able to have get the season of fall.

 

I meditated on the concept for some time before I felt that my idea was appropriate. There is little evidence to suggest that the peoples of Northern Europe recognized the season of fall the way that we do today, and there are even fewer "seasonal motifs" in their art. This was tricky as I wanted to give a generous nod to the historical forms that were in use at the time and still capture the motif.

 

In the end I decided to try and capture the spirit of the time of year and some of the meaning it may have had for the people living in Northern Europe . I relied on a somewhat deeper symbolism that I feel is more appropriate to their artistic style rather than simply making a sword with leaves on it. Each of the designs carries a concept that reflects some aspect of the season or important activity.

 

My first idea was to make a harvest based sword. In the end I did not feel that this is truely appropriate. In reality much of the harvesting is finished before fall even begins, so while at first glance this may appear to be what i was trying to express my real goal was to describe a period after the harvest and before the winter sets in.

 

Much of the form of the sword is inspired by Late viking age work. The sword itself is a type AE and the art work is done in an inspired urness style that I feel is appropriate for the piece. The over all composition of the piece is highly influenced by the work of Jake Powning. Jake's work was what initially got me interested in blacksmithing and bladesmithing over 10 years ago and it continues to be an inspiration to this day. I have always wanted to make a " Powning Styled" piece and ultimately felt that his use of bronze and carved wood was what I would need to use to convey my ideas best. It is my hope that this may be seen as personal tribute to his work.

 

I will run through the images and give a brief description of their meaning.

 

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I wanted the overall colour scheme to reflect the season. Bronze, darkened wood and the red hued leather wrapped handle reflect the treesand plants that are changing colour and becoming dormant.

 

 

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On the guard is bound grain. This represents the grain having been brought in and already harvested. The pommel represents the culling of extra livestock that occours during this time of year. This represents much of the bounty of the season.

 

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On the scabbard throat is a bound scythe, there is also an actual scythe folded into the edge of the blade steel. This represents the end of the scythes usefullness. There is no more work for it to do now, and it will no longer be of any help in the coming season. The straight laminate of the core is meant to symbolize the now empty furrows of the fields.

 

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On the scabbard is a fruit tree. There are only a few piece of fruit and leaves left clinging to the tree. In the tree are two beasts. This is meant to reflect a certain amount of apprehension regarding the coming winter. While it is a time of plenty now who can say what the long winter will bring.

 

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And finally one serpent on the chape. This serpent is meant to reflect the vital life energy of the earth retiring back under the ground in preparation for it's long sleep.

 

 

I hope you like it.

 

Jeff

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Wow, really great work! I love the symbolism of the carvings as well. Two thumbs up!

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It's beautiful. It definitely has that Powning feel to it--and I mean that only in the best possible way. I think you've manged to weave in the Fall theme seamlessly. The wood and wax carving are all top notch.

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You knocked that one out of the park, Jeff! The homage to Jake comes through, and I love that straight laminate core. The fact that there is an actual scythe blade in there is too cool for words. B)

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yup too cool for words, or at least any I can muster easily, Ill have to think some up...

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Absolutely fantastic in concept and execution. I an truly blown away by not only the obvious skill but the coherence of the artistic vision and symbolism.

 

I agree that this is one of most impressive pieces here. The idea of story woven into a piece, the creation of artifact, elevates the craft and you sir have done just that..

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wow, what a spectacular sword!

i really loe the deep sybolism and the way you incorporated it in viking style motifs.

 

i amalso very fond of the straight laminate core

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Jeff,

As everybody before me here...

WOW!!! Fabulous... a piece of art...!

You are among the best for sure!

(very good photos also!)

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Very amazing, I've been waiting for this sword for a while.

You definitely captured the theme of fall perfectly, but also perfectly captured the idea of a sword. This is one of those swords that looks great from afar, and only gets better the closer you look. In my opinion, the symbolism couldn't be better.
Thanks for sharing this absolutely masterful and inspiring piece of work.

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Awesome work Jeff! This is definitely one of the pinnacles of modern sword making. The symbolism is rich and nuanced and the technical aspects like carving and etch really do the concept justice.

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that is just wonderful. The whole thing. The thought, the composition, the execution, the subtlety. I often try to explain to people that most of us making swords are actually metal artists as well as craftsmen (craftspeople?). Things like this make that explanation a lot easier.

 

its a tool, its a weapon, and it is a piece of sculpture.

 

this certainly achieved The Goal

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Truly masterful work. Your vision, your tribute, and the story the artifact tells are all coming through wonderfully, and now your work serves as an inspiration to others (including me). Well done, and thank you for sharing.

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I hope the client has in the works a virtual presentation/post/thread of some sort on the topic of the four swords in this series.

 

Seconded! I would really like to see the other seasons/swords in he collection. Are they all Viking age Scandinavian swords?

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