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The blade of this knife is made of two layered slabs formed around a carbon steel core. Each slab is made of three individual bars, themselves composed of several dozen layers of wrought iron and different steel alloys.

Artisan Blacksmith Darrell Markewitz has long been interested in ancient artifacts, historical techniques, and how materials, process and the role of the artisan blend in traditional European cultures. As a college student in the 1970's he began his lifelong study of Norse and Celtic material culture - and picked up the blacksmith's hammer for the first time. This combination of artifact knowledge and traditional skills would lead him to work in living history museums. Significant museum work includes the 'Norse Encampment' program seen at L'Anse aux Meadows NHSC in Newfoundland. He has consulted on the major traveling exhibits: 'Vikings - North Atlantic Saga' and 'Full Circle - First Contact'. In 2003 he created 'World of the Norse', a 1000 square foot exhibit for the Cranbrook Institute of Science.

His work with living history museums has left him keenly aware of the problems surrounding the preservation of traditional skills. An entertaining demonstrator and lecturer, over the years he has spoken and
worked before well over three million people. Since establishing 'the Wareham Forge' in 1992, he has continued to pass down 'the Art and Mystery of the Blacksmith' to new metalworkers through a regular series of workshops.

As an artist, Darrell has been long drawn to the sinuous curves of the Celtic, Norse and more recent Art Nouveau objects. He calls his personal style blending these influences 'Rivendale', creating original art metalworks that stress hand forged detailing and bold designs.

This piece was done as an exercise in using a couple of techniques of surface forming, as well as working with small diameter stock (3/16 x 1/4"). In it's overall shape it echoes the form of ornimented bronze hand mirrors from the Celtic Iron Age.
This is an example of a detailed historic reproduction, in this case a cauldron and chain hanger based on samples from the Goksad ship burial. The image was taken in the reconstructed turf long house at L'Anse aux Meadows HNS.
"The Art Nouveau blacksmith's work of the late 1800's marks a time when the traditional skills of the old apprenticeship system ran into the 'new' powered machinery, when the flexibility of the old 'wrought iron' was combined with new industrial shapes and materials. All of this technique and raw material was formed in ways influenced by the recent archaeological discoveries of such Celtic antiquities as the Ardagh Chalice and the Oseberg Ship Burial from the Viking Age. The result was an energy and inventiveness that marks some of the very finest forged work ever created."

Last Updated Sept 2008

Copyright  2001-2008 An Droichead/The Bridge. All work copyright the individual artists / authors. Images, photographs or text may only be used with specific permission.



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