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


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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.

 

owenbearsword6.jpg

 

and here's a glimpse of the pattern—

 

DSC_8723.jpg

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Nice! Great sketch page too. It would make a good print.

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Awesome project man!!
This is a bit like deja vu since I recently designed a very similar sax I'll creating along with another smith. (You know who you are!)

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Very cool, Jake. In reference to what Michael Lenaghan said, I like the darkness that's been surfacing lately in your work, and for the the imagery it evokes. I really look forward to seeing this collaboration come to life!

 

John

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oh yeah, a little pattern welding, a little carving, a little casting, and one fine story to go with it. I like it.

watching hopefully, kc.

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I really love the design for the bronze cast scabbard piece, very evil and beautiful at the same time! Dwine was always a favorite of mine, and I am happy to see you create another in the same mind set!

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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.

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Awesome. Love the sketches and linguistics.

 

Yes... you've earned the right to put skulls in your work. I will always remember when Peter Johnsson gave me advice when I first started making swords. He advised me to stay away from skulls. :-) He was right.. I'm not sure that I can tastefully pull that off yet. :lol: (although I've had my eyes on a particular Japanese 'battle field' skull carved into a tsuba for quite some time... a particularly unsettling one).

 

I also have always appreciated your ability to capture those subtle aspects in your carvings.. just as you mentioned... that particular look in the eyes of the ancient beasts.

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You know how inspiring this is Jake?

It will be great to see this unfold.

 

Scott: I had forgotten that piece of "advice" I gave to you! :-)

Sorry for putting hampers on your inspiration and creativity. Go for the skulls!

:-)

Oh no... I had no plans for skulls at that time anyway. But that was before I saw this tsuba. I think it has the dark, unsettling.. yet tasteful aesthetic one kind find if they approach the skull in the right way. :-)

 

post-229-1419687519609.jpg

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Can't wait to see the work on this as it progresses! Owen forged an epic blade and I am really liking the darker bear motif you envision. I think the finished work will be greater than the sum of it's parts.

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Thanks for that Jake, I immensely enjoy hearing about your approach to the theme, and indeed you have earned that right!

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  • 4 weeks later...

That wood carving on the handle is almost soothing to look at because of the smooth organic lines, yet the theme or "energy" is still deep and grim.

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