“About 30 minutes outside of Coquille, Oregon, a small wooden marker written in kanji stands at the base of a hill. Another 15 minutes up the rough dirt road nestled amongst the trees of the rugged Oregon coastline sits the home of a modest Japanese swordsmith.”
Dragonfly Forge is proud to unveil our new mon, which will serve as a logo for our business and swordsmithing school. Our mon features three dragonflies facing outward, enclosed, like the majority of mon, within a bold circle.
Mon are heraldic symbols of medieval Japan. Like European family crests, they developed amongst the aristocratic class first, gradually being adopted by commoners and merchants. They came into widespread use by the 12th century, especially for use in battle, seen on flags, armor, tents and other military equipment to help distinguish clan member from enemy.
The OKCA show will be held at the Lane County Fairgrounds in Eugene, Oregon on April 16-18. On Friday the show is open exclusively to OKCA members, who can attend free. Saturday and Sunday the show will be open to the public, with free demonstrations on Saturday.
While our currently commissioned orders are certainly keeping us plenty busy, we have also been hard at work preparing the school for another school year. More tongs have been forged, with help from apprentice John, because as any smith knows, “you can never have too many tongs”. Maintenance has been done on our half mile driveway, and more work has been done on the shop and grounds. We’re looking forward to another enjoyable year of classes in 2010 !
Unfortunately, Dragonfly Forge will not be attending the San Francisco Token Kai this year, as it scheduled for the same weekend as Gabriel and Maria’s wedding on August 20th. Once we learned of the conflict, rescheduling was not an option, and obviously the wedding is greatly more important than any sword show, no matter how much we love swords. We with certainly be attending the 2011 Token Kai and still greatly recommend for those that can attend this year to do so.
We have also already scheduled an additional Basic Forging Course for November 1-5, 2010 due to interest. Those interested may reserve their place online at our school’s website, or contact us for more information.
This past week, we scheduled the 2010 school year for our swordsmithing school. Like we have done in the past, the school will begin the school year in April after the annual Oregon Knife Collectors Association (OKCA) Show. We have scheduled one week of class every month from April to September of 2010. October will be left unscheduled at this time, although if there is sufficient interest in an additional forging class, we will add one.
While we will not be able to attend ourselves, its currently seems like a worthwhile exhibit for anyone interested in nihontō who can attend. A collection this large available for viewing in one place is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the 33rd annual San Francisco Token Kai will be held at the San Francisco Airport Marriott. Once again, Michael and Gabriel Bell of Dragonfly Forge will be attending the show on Saturday and Sunday. The show is sponsored by the Northern California Japanese Sword Club; for more information visit the club’s site. The Nihon Bijutsu Token Hozon Kyokai (Society for the Preservation of Japanese Art Swords) – American Branch (NBTHK-AB) will be hosting exhibits and seminars well worth attending.
This tsuba is in the Higo style, with two seashell, or ‘kai’ in Japanese, pierced and carved in negative silhouette. It is forged from antique wrought iron. It was pierced and carved by Anna Bell and given a finish and patina that emphasizes the inherent beauty of the iron’s organic grain structure.
The tsuba itself is only one piece of a larger ongoing collaborative mounted katana project by the Bell family.
The blade itself is a katana of 25 inch (63.5 cm) nagasa forged of cable by Michael Bell. Point is Michael’s standard extended chu-kissaki. The hamon shows excellent control with activity due to the cables grain throughout.
The tsuba, pictured above, is made of antique wrought iron by Anna Bell.
The blade has a copper habaki by Gabriel Bell. The koshirae is also by Gabriel. Black lacquered saya with buffalo horn kojiri, koiguchi, and kurigata. Silver shitodome. Tsuka is full-wrap same lacquered in black, with Higo style fuchigashia in shibuichi, wrapped in brown silk ito.
More pictures and information to be posted as work progresses.