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Dienstag, 23. September 2014

Damascus Kopis

 This is a Kopis design I made some time ago, from a piece of scrap damascus by Matthias Zwissler, forged into shape by myself. I am increasingly fond of it, for it´s very, very slicey and the recurve blade shape makes for a fierce cutter.
 In the pattern you can see that the blade was forged into shape very closely, and I admit, I take some pride into it, especially when I think where I started and where I am now. But I have a lot to learn still, and look forward to it.
The handle is mule deer antler that will see some carving still. Blade´s 115x3,2 mm. The steel has a very fine structure making it hair-splitting sharp. It sails through soft mushrooms freehand and has good edge retention to boot.

Love it!

Samstag, 20. September 2014

Autumn-the dance of life and death

 Nether brush and thicket, by the sizzling creek, stems the path into the twilight like a branch from olden trees.
 Along the mane of ancient moss leads the trail to yonder green.
 Am I small or am I of giant breed, am I a seed beneath the rotting leaves? Am I waiting, dancing, circling deeper, deeper, lower still?
 Thus rise the star of sunlight behind my brow, awhilst I go into the realm of twilit trails.
 Spirit wood of treesprite realm, open up thy cold embrace, warm still in the sunlight of a fading year.
 Nether thicket, brush and tree, treads my foot light and free, into the realm and yonder still.
 And song and thought and tale and lore stay silent in the forest´s hall; silently I thread my way, along a path of ancient dance.
 Sing of the blossoms of spring hidden in their rout; sing of the autumn scent awaken in the wind.

 From beneath the deep and dark the spirit of the mycel is rising to nourish the beasts and man with the twilight´s flesh; thus like is death, and we are mushrooms blooming from the abyss of our soul.
 And even if the sun may shine upon our dance, so does the star in the abyss, the root of the mountain, ice-cold and brighter as a sun in its own right, our soul. And as the mushrooms rise violently in autumn, so does that soul rise up to life, blooming with flower and tree and beast and man, rising like waters from a broken dam.
 Death is not, so fear not fading. The mouse, fallen from the fangs of the bird of prey, hit hard the ground and fell into the sleep of death, and maggots will eat the flesh and get rid of mortality, yet life will spring up with a new time of year.
 Sleep well, my little friend, and dream a crystal tear, and may you be rested.
 In the Golden Halls beneath the ground, where the sun will sleep in winter, fairy tales are born anew.
 Dark will become the land, and yet not dark.
 For in the darkest of all hours, the light is born anew.


 Moss grows upon the warlike fox´s skull; may his spirit guide the little mouse into the golden caverns where hunt and feast reign eternal.
 Sleeping under the hawthorne, beyond my feeble humanity, I rise to see the sun sinking, dying for but an hour, for but a second, and smile.
 Sleep not under the hawthorn, they say, or alien you will be for your fellow humans. But the hornet preys on the dragonfly, and the hunt is eternal in this time of year.
 So may thou sink, sun, beloved of the summer earth, and may the harvest be rich.
And to all you out there:

Have a good harvest, a lovely autumn, and good memories of a great summer gone by.

And never fear the grey god´s disciples.

Donnerstag, 18. September 2014

Meilerfest Ennepetal 2014 - Coalers Fair 2014 Ennepetal

 I had a very intense argument again with Volker. It led to an instant repair of the forge, and he had even bought a tent for the upcoming event. We arrived at the lovely site of the Meilerfest 2014, the Hülsenbecker Tal, an idyllic valley in the Ennepetal vicinity, and set up forge and the tent. Nick helped out again.
 We set up a decent booth for a change. And what can I say-it really paid off and we got a lot of great feedback for it. That was a good feeling and it taught us that it is well worth the effort to go the extra length.

 We had some knives and smaller goodies on display.
 The coalers were at the site for a week beforehand and did a great job as usual, and, with better materials, harvested a lot of charcoal of very great quality this year.
 The coalers hut.
 We were there in reenactment mode with a "light" attire suitable for forging. Blimey, have to get some viking work gear;-). Above is Nick´s round shield... I find it interesting that he drew the antlered crown of the horned god alongside the Celtic Christian Cross. It made me think and certainly opened up my mind. Christians (as Muslims) are easily offended, but I do mean no offence when I state my thoughts. I just want to find the truth.

In Israel, there was the custom of sacrificing the "scapegoat", and the self - sacrifice of Jesus Christ was in the line of the sacrifice of the scapegoat. Jesus is said to be the lamb of God.

What does a goat have on its head? There are theories, one of the older ones being that of Frazer ("The Golden Bough") that this custom was used throughout prehistorical Celtic communities also. The horned God, the companion of the Goddess, was sacrificed after the communion with the Goddess to return to the earth and give fertility to the tribe and the land. He was "king for a day", the "jester king", the "king of the bean". He was the older twin sacrificed at Midwinter festival to change place with the child of light which was born in Midwinter. The "Joulupukki" was a character closely related to the horned god, and there are myths throughout the world dating back to prehistoric times, and there is no reason to emphasize the differences between the mythologies. The world is round, and we have to finally work on the babylonic confusion that has befallen all of us. The alternative is a war that will never end and ultimately will destroy us as species and will be the rout of mankind.

I like the fact that I can talk to Nick on those topics. Nick is a practicing "Jesus Freak" and very stern about his belief (and this is a good thing), and by discussing matters like this we both can prosper on our quest.

There´s a message hidden inside this statement. With a bit of luck you can find it;-).
 This is his sword. We had a good fight once and killed us both, and I was a bit surprised, for I am practicing the arts for a long time. Only but recently I learned that Nick has a strong background in Kung Fu! No wonder...;-)
 Then the coalers came by and asked in a hurry if I good forge some fire-sprite pendants. We did this together. We made three of them, and the fourth one we forged in one heat!
 The guys were just great company. I mean, if you can forge a fire-sprite you have never made with one of them in one heat, that means you can really work together, and someone with whom this is possible can´t be too bad.
 Nick at work (for a change:-P)
 Olaf was there, too with a booth and had a lot of great knives on display.
 He makes these viking axes from old flea market finds.

 His leather work is simply great and inspiring. He gave me a bracelet he made, and I hold in high esteem.
 His knives and seaxes.
 He shared a booth with Burkhardt, who sold some quality Solingen goods.
 ..and KAI kitchen knives...
 He also had this pioneer´s sabre on display, a historical piece. I find it very intriguing, how well balanced it was in spite of the clumsy appearance.

 More Solingen goodies.
 Then suddenly, with a bang, Erik dropped by. Now Erik is the son of Gesa, and I know him since he was a tiny licce baby. He now is a ranger of his own provenience, bone collector and wild kid living in the woods, and it is funny how much he mirrors my own childhood. Of course we forged a spring steel knife together, and of course I did that for free. He does not talk much, but he was a very capable apprentice, better at the work than people thrice his age.
 Then Unrest and Nele dropped by, and Unrest got the bug bad. He forged two nails, and horseshoes and an awl, and will be back for more. Now Unrest is a guy I have known for years. He once was a member of the mountainbike club I founded, until the goofbrains got on his nerves. Now he is well into bushcraft and most recently discovered a love for blacksmithing.
 Funny, because he was like: "I always thought you were a weirdo for doing that woodsman stuff and that forging thing... but it´s actually fun! Did not think that..."
 Anyway, I guess he will be back;-). We had some great time together, and I am grateful to have made a closer acquaintance!
 The falconer strolled by the booth. It´s funny, all the people simply came by and stopped for a chat. Even amongst the traders, there was a great atmosphere.
 Nele, Unrest´s lady, also swung the hammer with relish, and made a poker and a bracelet. I can tell, you, we had a lot to do and I even sold some knives for  a change. All of a sudden it was dark, and the lanterns and the fires were lit. I guess I´ll just let the pictures talk for themselves. Words can hardly descrivbe the atmosphere. I could tell you of all the silent chats with people not wasteful with words, or the love of the trades and craftsmanship, but the fires talk better.














 It was a very intense atmosphere, and feelings I will relish in for years.
 Sunday saw us early. This is Nick trying to light  a fire*ggg*.

 I met with Johannes, and I daresay there´s a friendship born. Johannes is a woodturner of the highest pedigree.
 He was both working with children and on his own projects.
All the while his customers kept coming inquiring and buying his excellent work. Johannes is someone I keep meeting on reenactment fairs throughout Germany.
.
 He had some woodturning benches set up for the kids and shaving horses and did a great job instructing them how to do it.

 "Who is apprentice - everyone!"
 "Who is journeyman - he who can!"
 "Who is master - he who thought it up!"
 The grindstone was most interesting. For he modified a relatively cheap flea market stone with a Tormek stone and a hand forged winch- sweet, and I guess I´d steal the idea!;-)
 This is is carving hatchet, by Müller Corporation, Austria.

 Johannes with the kids, tutoring how to use the drawknife. Guys like these are the true rescue squad of our culture in my book!
 This is his work and craft.
 The magic troll is addicted to his spindles.... it´s becoming a habit! Visit his website here.
 Yarn spindles...

 Toys...

 Anyway, great works of art.
 There was a lot of different art on display too.


Smoked trout by the Kahlenbeckerquelle Fishing park.

 The folks from the Industriemuseum were there too offering demos for the kids and some goodies, too, and while our relation was somewhat problematic, I wish them the very best of luck, for their work is most important, and Rainer, the guy in the picture is very nice guy.

 Handmade bread by Kaiser bakery...
 ...
 ...
 ...
 ...
 I also metwith Olaf and his lovely wife. They are a most interesting couple.
For their corporation, they make mead, brew beer after medieval recipes, make delicious BBQ sauces and offer herbs and tea.
Visit their website here.
Beautiful birds of prey....
Goats...
This is a knife Nick made for his lovely woman. It´s made from spring steel, tempered with a little help from myself. It is very thin at max 1,8 mm and cuts like your little sister bites.;-) The wood is of unknown provenience, but I think it´s red hazel. Beautiful.
This is a knife Olaf had on display, of Cretian provenience, Tribal knifemaking at its best.
War mace...

The forge was brim ful with kids wanting to forge, adults and customers. It was a frenzy, but one that was not stressful.
Apprentice at work polishing his work of art. The kids were righteously proud of their achievement, and came back for more.
A big thank you also goes to Kathrin, who helped out with her experience and simply covered our backs, selling and gearing up the kids.
Customers provided non-alcoholic beer when they saw we had nothing to drink anymore.
Seems Kathrin is developing that Johannes habit, too;-), she bought a hair pin.
I was very pleased to meet with Ms. Ostra sen. and her family. Ms. Ostra is the foundress of Johanniter ambulance and health care organisation in Schwelm and is very active in doing work for it. And she is a very remarkeable lady for sure. It certainly shows in her daughter and her grandson, who are remarkeable persons in their own right. The little one did a great job at the forge and quite certainly had fun with it.

Of course I did the awl and the horsehoe charm for free. Ms. Ostra´s daughter apparently is of alternative belief also, and has her feet firmly planted in the earth. I daresay the world would be a better place if there were more individuals like those, and I offered the little one the opportunity to visit the smithy whenever he wants.
This was a great experience. I sold a blade and made a cooperation with Johannes to fit it in a handle he specially turned for it out of cherry wood. We fitted a bolster out of a H&M fashion finger ring I got CHEAP;-).
...
I also made a carving knife for Johannes. He had one made by Pitter, but wanted a different angle. So he asked me if I could anneal it and bend it and then temper it again, all with the handle still fitted. Since I did not know the steel quality, I said no, and instead offered him to forge one out of spring steel with some torsional work. Seems he loved it;-), and he offered me four handles like this turned out of aged Yew. I like deals like this;-).



Katrin smelling the roses.

Then suddenly the day was over. We had some snack provided by loving customers, packed up and left. I drove to Witten, and to make things not too easy, Volker called three times where I was. When I arrived, we unpacked in hectic and frenzy, brought back the car, and he even drove me home. When I arrived at home, I contemplated the event and concentrated on the warm feeling I still had for all the positive feedback.

Folks, we´ll be back!



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