Those of you who read these pages regularly already know that there has been a burst of custom knife making virtuosity from outside the US in the last several years and from Italy in particular. Now we have a promising new talent from Canada! Stephanie Lemelin.
Born in Quebec, Canada, in 1977, Stephanie graduated from art school in 1998, specializing in jewelry. Since then, she has dedicated herself fulltime to carving and jewelry making, but always dreamed of becoming a knife maker even while she was attending school. One of her jewelry teacher’s at the time was Chantal Gilbert, who is well-known to the knife making world. Stephanie admired her very much, and never gave up the idea of becoming a custom knife maker herself one day.
After a trip to Thiers in France, she started to make handles for knives but was not ready to work on the blades. Last year she began to dedicate herself more fully to knife making and finished her first two knives with the help and mentorship of Master Blade Smith Christoph Deringer.
After speaking with him at length, she decided to work with hand tools instead of a grinder, as the filing technique was better suited to achieving the curves and blade designs Stephanie found most appealing. And it also allowed her to apply her extensive carving skills.
Arpad Bojtos, Harumi Hirayama and Wolfgang Loerchner are makers she admires.
Stephanie is a member of the Canadian Knife Maker’s Guild and has presented her art knives at the Toronto and Atlanta Blade Shows this past year. Currently she creates fixed blades with sheaths as well as the occasional folder.
Fascinated by nature and ancient civilizations, much of her work involves recreating the beauty she sees around us as well as creating something entirely new by re-interpreting what once was. She likes to work on concept, creating a design that tells a story as well as one that will evoke a mixture between the past and the future. Her goal is to dedicate herself fulltime to knife making and she has many more creative ideas ready to be transformed into unique and imaginative art knives!
In Stephanie’s own words:
Using basic hand tools, I apply many of my jewelry creation techniques to my knives. I start by carving the handle and trim out of wax, and then I cast the required trim pieces in bronze, silver or gold. As for the knife making, I hand-carve the steel directly instead of using a grinder. Hand carving allows for more subtle designs that counter-balance the handle, in the quest to create the most beautiful knife. Of course before all of this, there is a lot of research and draft work done before the physical creation. In the end I aim to create timeless pieces that provoke strong emotions while pushing the imagination to its limits.
I like to work on one project at a time. I focus all of my attention until it is completed. I love creating knives and I love applying my abilities as a jeweler to the creation of knives. The size and curves of the blade fits well with my creative nature, which allows me to express myself more fully then I’ve ever felt in creating jewelry alone. My future designs will vary, as I try to broaden my themes as I grow.
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