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.
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:
"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.