Friday, July 15, 2011

In a Still Small Voice - A film about art, culture, and the loss of transcendence

Makoto Fujimura has to be one of the most inspiring and influential artists in my life that I look up to as a young artist. He founded "IAM" aka International Arts Movement, which is a network of artists working to inspire Human renewal and the "de-humanization" that's happening in the post-modern secularism of the West today. It's a movement which I'm a member and supporter of.
In term's of medium and aesthetic style Makoto's work could not be more different from the type of work I'm doing, but I definitely feel I share the same inspirations, motivations, and underlying beliefs which drive his beautiful art.

When I stumbled across this documentary which he took part in I knew it had to be interesting, but I had no idea it would be as powerful as it turned out to be...

if your an artist, a creative person, an appreciator of art, believer, non believer, or just a human being who genuinely cares about humanity and the state of the human soul, then you need to do yourself a favor and consider purchasing this film...
I guarantee you it will go beyond a simple inspiring documentary and prove to be something much more profound. If you feel the same way I do I'm guessing you'll pass it on to friends, colleagues and loved ones...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Splintered Green & the Smells of Storms

Weather this time of year in rural Indiana can be fickle... It can't seem make its mind up, hesitant to take the leap into the rebirth of greenery & gold light. But bit by bit sprouts shoot up amidst the glooming drenched muddy landscape and fields. Growing up as a kid spring always had a distinct smell that sent the imagination running wild when the scent of fresh rains and storms rushing through the woods hit your face.

 God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. - Martin Luther


I've been by the forge more than usual lately to make up for lost time during the winter.
More than 10 swords in the works simultaneously at the moment, all very complex, some the most ornate and intimidating projects I've been commissioned to craft to date.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress...

Dreaming with passion & energy about the road ahead...

Digital photoshop sketch. 1 hour 36 minutes, Wacom Bamboo tablet.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bladesmithing for a Cause

At the moment I'm focusing on two swords and some commission illustration work. One particular sword for the cause of auctioning off for a good cause. Andy & I will be giving %100 of the proceeds of this sword to Samaritan's Purse an incredible disaster-aid organization & ministry. Obviously compelled to do this in light of Japan's earthquakes, New Zealand's prior earthquakes, and the anniversary of Haiti.

Lots of new projects in the works that I'm eager to finish and share...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Oakeshott XVIIIb - Bloodwood Ring Pommel Sword

I'm finishing up this sword for a customer in the coming week.
By far one of the most enjoyable commission projects I've ever worked on to date. Really love the design as specified by the customer, and really love the theme and aesthetic behind it, which will soon be clear once sword & scabbard are finished.
When finished it will have hand engraved french words in the blade, and will have medieval knotwork carved into the grip & scabbard.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bookbinding - Trying my Hand...

Digital art is amazing... The things you can do with brush strokes, color schemes, and composition in programs like Photoshop, Artrage, Corel, & even 3D programs is incredible.
but there's just something extremely rewarding about putting time and effort into a work and then being able to tangibly hold it in your hands...
It's probably the reason I've ended up becoming a full time swordsmith instead of graphic designer or illustrator as I originally intended.

So any craft or medium I can get my hands on and end up with a finished product is always something that I'm magnetically drawn to.
The second I started dabbling with the idea of (basic) book binding, I had no choice but to give it a go:

The above results are a couple days work of my spare time. One (the third of the three pics) a simple brown paper leather bound sketchbook for sword designs. While the first is a more elaborate traditionally bound booklet documenting the process of forging the "Cawood sword" for the customer who commissioned the sword.
I'm a trail and error kind of learner... So I tend to actually not do much research before giving it a go. Go for it, fail really bad, and then do the research... :)
A couple fantastic quick resources I found on the web are:

Selected shots from the Cawood book:

Above, the black leather bound cover of the Cawood book with goldleaf writing.

Just in my (quite petty) attempts at bookbinding, I'm finding it to be one of the most fun and rewarding crafts I've ever played around with. So I'm most definitely planning on my next sketchbook being one that I made with my own hands. recently did an incredible series featuring some of the most beautifully bound editions of Tolkiens work ever made:

So why not give it a try yourself?If a scatter brained artist like me can do it I am sure you can.
I am by no means an expert at this, but would be happy to give specifics on any details I learned in my two little attempts so far! Feel free and comment bellow.

Turn off the TV, click the play button on some good tunes, get inspired, and get bookbinding!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hope Valley - digital speed painting

Photoshop speed painting.
1 hour & 13 minutes.
Wasn't so much worried about the composition and color workings of this one. Just wanted to see how much I could speed up my typical working method in PS, and use as many keyboard shortcuts as possible, while playing around with new brushes.

More nonsense garbage like this is guaranteed to come...

Monday, January 31, 2011

Music Monday - Ludovico Einaudi - Lady Labyrinth

Ice storm brooding. Trapped indoors, wrestling with a long list with to do's, and trying to keep my head on straight, looking forward at what needs to get done and what I should be dwelling on...  +

Painting to the sounds of this is imminent:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Work in Progress - the Cawood sword

For the past few months I've been working on probably the most challenging swordsmithing related commission I've ever tried to tackle to date, making a reproduction of the "Cawood sword" and crafting it as traditionally as possible without the aid of modern power tools.

The original digital photoshop render I made for the customer:

The elements and methods of making the Cawood that he asked for sounded like to much fun to pass up.
He first and foremost inquired about a reproduction of the piece because the name "Cawood" is in his family history. Secondly he wished it to be made as authentically as possible, asking if we could do it without aid of power tools... Now you dont have to be a bladesmith to know that this is a challenge, and its one that we've never faced. We're obviously young bladesmiths who dont claim to be experts by any means, with only minimal experience. But again, it was far to fun of a challenge to pass up. So I personally took up the main responsibility for the project, and began work with a fervent rush of energy and excitement...

Now the important thing to note is from the start I knew I would not be able to claim my methods of manufacturing on this sword to be exactly "historical" by any means. I may be using historical methods of manufacturing, but at the end of the day even the tools I am using for such old techniques like forging and draw filing are tools made in this modern age.
Yes I was forging, but out of a charcoal forge we made, not with a hand powered leather bellows iron age ground forge.
Yes I was draw filing the blade and using wet stones on it by hand, but I was using files and stones bought at hardware stores.

So while I am unable to claim the victorious statement of crafting this sword "historically" I can most definitely say it was at least made as "traditionally" as I could possibly manage. And if anything has ever been a learning experience  this has...

The finished blade, polished and etched to show the 200+ layer pattern, and engraved with the same Latin letters seen on the original:

After months and months of work I'm finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and nearing completion. At the moment slowly working on carving patterns into the figured walnut wood of the scabbard and grip.

 The gentleman who commissioned the piece also asked if I could document the process in great detail from start to finish. So thus far I have a collection of well over 700 photos yet to be sorted through.
Once their in order I will begin the process of crafting a hand made leather bound booklet showing each key step with hand written notes and accompanying artwork to compliment the photos on the antiqued hand made brown paper. And of coarse I will also be sharing the process from A-Z on the Mad Dwarf Workshop's website when completed.

Even though I can see the light at the end of the tunnel I've still got a ways to go.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Monday music

So in order to keep me on my toes and accountable to staying creative and posting on this blog, I figured why not share the music that I'm currently listening to while working on projects or in my spare time.
Hopefully it will be fun, and maybe I'll be able to share with you some music that you find enjoyable and inspirational to.

So with all of that said, I think the best band to kick of this blog would be the most influential and inspirational group of musicians in my own life, especially in terms of my art:

tasting, seeing, & moving forward

"If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world."
— C.S. Lewis

Hello there and welcome to my blog. Thank you so much for visiting and for witnessing my first steps in this new endeavor with my art!
What you the reader should know about me:
My name's David DelaGardelle. I'm a full time professional swordsmith, co owner and founder of the Mad Dwarf Workshop along with Andy Davis. In winter of 09 I finished the amount of college studies I wished to complete at Ball State University, and then moved onto perusing my artistic career in both bladesmithing and in freelance art as my main career paths. This move was spurred on by a number of overwhelmingly positive opportunities and endless support from friends, family, and fellow artists. Many of those opportunities I've been blessed and encouraged by will things I'll elaborate on in later posts.

My purpose with this blog is to not merely to share my work with everyone interested in what I am doing, but mainly to engage with other people passionate about the same topics and types of art. I hope for it to push me forward in my own work, and to motivate me to aim higher for the goals I have currently set for myself.

G.K. Chesterton once said:
"The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world."
That is what I hope and pray to be my goal with this blog, with my work, and even with my life.
I've grown up always letting my creativity and curiousity about the unknown lead me. & I believe that no matter what you believe creativity is undeniably an ability and a gift given by the Creator. It's a gift given to us that we might see the glory in His creation, and that we might create, for both His glory and for our joy.

This blog will most definitely include (but not be limited to):
  • random scribbles and ideas from my sketchbook. both swordsmithing and personal art related.
  • works in progress on projects, both personal projects and commissioned.
  • finished works, be it paintings or drawings either digital or traditional.
  • personal bladesmithing works from my own endeavors in our workshop.
  • links to other artists who inspire me and who you should be viewing.
  • music that I'm listening to currently when working on art.
  • references and links to awesome organizations and ministries that deserve support and credit.
  • rules and etiquette on kamikaze watermelon mustache attacking and fish slapping (only on Tuesdays)
  • and much much more...

In the end, I hope for this blog to be a place not merely for me to show off my personal and petty attempts at artwork, but mainly as a place for all of us either as artists, or simply as general readers to connect and find inspiration and encouragement from each other, from past masters, from current creatives, and from the one sole Creator who created us.
I hope this can be a blog where your mind isn't simply entertained or amused, but is instead "renewed" not by my art, but by the Creators grace through the work that we all do.

God bless
- David Delagardelle