Thursday, January 7, 2010

Jake Powning - Demonstrator Profile

This is the second of a series of profiles of the featured demonstrators for CanIRON 8. The text and images are being gathered from each individual's web site. Readers are encouraged to visit these, as in most cases there is not only a greater selection of each artist's work to see, there are often other goodies like techniques or video available.

Jake Powning
Markhamville, Kings County, New Brunswick

I make swords in the Celtic and Norse styles and it is my aspiration to keep searching and refining my pieces to capture the magic and grim beauty of those ancient swords. I strive to work towards the same standards of quality that historical smiths exhibited in there work and to make swords which are infused with my personality, and the energy that is given by a craftsman to an original piece, while remaining informed by a historical tradition. Working within the parameters of a time period and style enables me to explore the material in a way which would be more difficult if there where no boundaries to help focus the work.

believe in making historically informed, light weight blades, which stand on their own both as swords and as crafted objects, and which feel as good in the hand as they look on the mantle. Since childhood I have been obsessed with studying Celtic and Norse mythology and history from the time of Fionn MacCumhal and Sigurd Fafnirsbane to Robert the Bruce and Iron Skegg. In my work, I hope to emulate the mystery and power which flows through the colourful folklore surrounding the Celtic and Norse heroes and heroines. I view my swords as stories that are told in steel and wood, bronze and leather.

Vardhllokur - spirit song
This sword is a 3 bar composite pattern welded construction. the edge billet is 61 layers and the two center billets are 9 layers each, the steels used in it's construction are 1075 and 8670m. the grip is carved from ancient bog oak, the fittings are cast silicon bronze, and there are sterling silver and copper wires twisted together between the pommel lobes. The scabbard is curly yellow birch, carved with dragon motifs.

'Clevdrui' - Celtic anthropomorphic hilted short sword

The blade on this sword is forged of 558 layers of 1075/8670m figured steel. It has a strong distal taper with a concave crossection. It feels light and deadly in the hand. These small swords are extremely efficient in every sense. The blade is forged of high layer spirit pattern damascus wich shimmers like figured wood or flowing water when you move it in the light. The hilt and scabbard fittings are cast silicon bronze, and the scabbard is birdseye maple lined with close sheared sheep fleece with the lanolin left in to protect the blade.

'Spirit Horse' Dagger

This short sword/dagger was featured in the first international museum exhibition of international bladesmiths in Macao China. This was my first museum exhibition and it was a great honour. I was also awarded an emerging artist grant from the New Brunswick Arts Board in order to construct this pice for the exhibit. the materials are'flowing water damascus' of 1075/L6 silicon bronze, and curly maple.

Also on Jake's web site :
A series of photo essay tutorials that includes - Bronze Casting / Pattern welding / Carving.
A much larger portfolio of his past work, including detailed images of most of the blades. There are also some interview video and sound clips.

Unless otherwise indicated, Images and text are taken from the individual's web site, and are used here with permission. Full copyrights apply.


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