When everyday objects become more.

January 30, 2016

I'm going to head off on a tangent here, so bear with me. 

This isn't going to be about Art in the traditional sense. Instead I'm going to talk about an ancient craft; in fact two ancient crafts.

Crafts that have been honed to various levels of perfection over thousands and thousands of years. First, from necessity through to their modern form of function and desire. 

 

I'm talking about the dark art of Blacksmithing and Leather work. 

 

Let me set the scene...

 

A few years back, my leather chain wallet; which I had owned and worn every day since I was sixteen years old, decided to give out on me. At 30 odd years old, I decide it was time for something a little more 'grown up' so my search began.

Instagram came to my rescue. You know those 'suggestions' of people to follow? Well, somehow, Instagram knew I needed a new wallet, and there appeared this awesome looking picture of a dude, with his wallet in his jeans pocket, sitting on a motorbike looking all cool and awesome.

 

This was STOUT HANDMADE. 

 (All Images copyright STOUT HANDMADE)

 

 

After a brief email chat with Cam, the genius behind all of this work, a deal was done, and within a couple of weeks I had a brand new, handmade in Texas, leather wallet...a grown up leather wallet. And that was the start of new friendship, struck up over the internet. 

 

I won't talk about the finer intricacies of Leather Work, I'll let the photos do the talking! 

 

(All Images copyright STOUT HANDMADE)

 

Fast forward a bit, and having been following Cam's incredible work I noticed that he'd started forging his own leather work tools, and from there some blades and knives started to appear. This continued for some months, with the knives getting more and more interesting and the finishes more and more beautiful. 

 

I had to have one!

 

This is where my story is headed. This is where you will see that this ancient and incredibly skilful work can transition from something of practical need to something of such incredible beauty.  How something as raw as steel and wood can be honed and crafted into not just tools but into a work of art in its own right. 

 

(To give you an insight, I was looking for a Bushcraft knife. A knife that I could use for gutting and skining as well as something I can make shelters with, a practical, do anything knife)

 

This was the preliminary sketch for the knife based upon a brief description from me regarding dimensions.

 

 Which we tweaked a little to make it more comfortable in the hand.

 

 

 

 Then the black magic happens.

 

The finished blade blank, the refined blade blank and some testing.

 

 Picking the handle material (Top to bottom - Cocobolo, Cocobolo, African Blackwood, Wenge and Redwood Burl in 2nd Image)

 

 The blade was tweaked to add a cut out for my Fire steel, and then the Handle material I picked was added - I went with the Redwood Burl.

 

 

The Finished article with an acid etch added to the blade for that gorgeous decorative finish. 

As you can see when compared to the original sketch, the final knife was constantly adapted and tweaked to make it the best it could be. 

This, from a raw slab of high carbon steel and a block of Redwood!

 

 And this is what my knife would have looked like based upon the original sketch.

 

Now I know this may not be everyone's cup of tea, and to some it's just a knife, but once you see some of the other amazing blacksmith creations Cam at STOUT HANDMADE has produced, I'm sure even you will have to admit the beauty that has been achieved.

 

 A selection of Knives, Leather work tools and Hair sticks, all hand forged by Cam at STOUT HANDMADE.

(All Images copyright STOUT HANDMADE)

And there you have it. Another art form in its own right. An art form that most people don't even consider, especially when it's something which we consider a practicality; an everyday item which we take for granted. 

A simple piece of leather, a block of steel and wood. 

It's not the materials that make the art, it's the mind behind it.

 

To see more of the amazing work by STOUT HANDMADE visit the following links.

 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/StoutHandmade/timeline

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stouthandmade/

 

 

 

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