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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 4:19 pm    Post subject: Blade Show & Who to See?         Reply with quote

I'll be heading off to Atlanta Friday and I'm compiling a list of the SWORD related artists and companies that I definately need to make time to see. Here's my list so far in no particular order:

Rick Barrett
Bugei
Vince Evans
Gus
Tinker
Albion
Blade Art
CAS Iberia
Cold Steel

Anybody have any other suggestions? Am I missing someone and their swords?

Oh, also, for those who care, this website has some great info on the show. They have a nice list of the vendors which will be attending. http://www.collect.com/krause/shows.asp?catal...amp;Page=1
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 4:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

J. Michael McRae, Scotia Metalwork
James Williams, who will be doing some demos for CASI/Bugei
Kevin Cashen

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Stephen S. Han




Location: Westminster, CA
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 4:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That list is fine as far as it goes.

Problem is that your list is limited, and limiting, by definition. What do I mean by that? There's this distressing trend of "if it is not on myArmoury (swordforum, bladeforum, etc) on the internet it doesn't exist" syndrome. I could rattle off a few more names based on who I have seen at Atlanta Blade Show who have zero presence on the internet, and who make swords that are simply marvelous to behold. Who will be ignored by the "errornet" people because they haven't seen their stuff online. Such a pity.

Okay, rant over. My advise, such as it is, is to not go there with a preconceived notion or list. You can make a quick run through the show once around, making notes as you pass by. THEN, return to the ones that are on your list, or the one that caught your eye. If your preference is Sword, then it shouldn't take you that long to walk the show the first time, as the maker's wares are right there on the table.

As for the list I would recommend adding: Kevin Cashen, Anthony DiCristofano, Barry Dawson, Lynn Dawson, Rob Patton. Jos Szilaski primarily makes tomahawks, but he might have a sword on his table. Maybe not.

Have fun.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 4:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll back up what Stephen has to say and repeat that while the list of sword-related stuff is perhaps important for your main focus, don't cheat yourself out of the rest of the show. The show is primarily about knives. Swords are a very small part of it and really just a recent addition. There is a tremendous amount of craftsmanship and artistry to be seen there. You'll enjoy just walking the aisles checking stuff out and wishing you were made of money. Trust me Happy
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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 5:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen S. Han wrote:
I could rattle off a few more names based on who I have seen at Atlanta Blade Show who have zero presence on the internet, and who make swords that are simply marvelous to behold. .


Ah Stephen. These are exactly the type of people that I'm interested in seeing and getting to know. My list is more for the Oh-my-God-I'm-being-overwhelmed-and-I-only-have-3-days-to-see-everything-feeling (yes that is now one long hyphenated word).

Since this is the first show that I'll be attending, I figured that their were people much much more knowledgable than myself out there. I simply wanted to hear who they liked to see from past shows. Believe me when I say that I don't plan on limiting my experiences in anyway. In fact I can't wait.
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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 5:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
You'll enjoy just walking the aisles checking stuff out and wishing you were made of money. Trust me Happy


Sigh. I haven't even got there and I all ready wish I was made of money.
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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 5:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen S. Han wrote:
There's this distressing trend of "if it is not on myArmoury (swordforum, bladeforum, etc) on the internet it doesn't exist" syndrome. I could rattle off a few more names based on who I have seen at Atlanta Blade Show who have zero presence on the internet, and who make swords that are simply marvelous to behold. Who will be ignored by the "errornet" people because they haven't seen their stuff online. Such a pity.


Stephen I was thinking about your post some more and you are right. I'm sure there are a lot of great people who are being ignored right now because we haven't seen their stuff on-line. The question becomes how do we get to know these people? Word of mouth. Phone. Sharing our experiences on line. Here's another question. Why don't we hear more about these Ludites (non-internet using smiths)? A little off topic I know but it interests me. Hypothetically speaking let's say that Vince Evans didn't have an on-line presence. Would he still be discussed or mentioned on the forums? Would people want to keep his name and work for themselves? While there are a multitude of reasons why an artist wouldn't want to be listed on line, why wouldn't we still want to share their work with the community? Or is it that the community just doesn't want to hear about their work? So many questions, so little time.

I'm trying to do 2 things at once and didn't mean to submit this post originally so I edited it's content.


Last edited by Jason Elrod on Tue 13 Jun, 2006 5:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Stephen S. Han




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 5:41 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Elrod wrote:
Ah Stephen. These are exactly the type of people that I'm interested in seeing and getting to know. My list is more for the Oh-my-God-I'm-being-overwhelmed-and-I-only-have-3-days-to-see-everything-feeling (yes that is now one long hyphenated word).

Since this is the first show that I'll be attending, I figured that their were people much much more knowledgable than myself out there. I simply wanted to hear who they liked to see from past shows. Believe me when I say that I don't plan on limiting my experiences in anyway. In fact I can't wait.


Great! That's the spirit. I can identify, as I was feeling a bit overwhelmed when I first got there myself. Actually, 3 days is plenty of time to digest everything if you go in there with a right frame of mind in the first place.

To fine tune what I said, the first day can be used to get an overview. Now the popular makers like Vince Evans will have sold his table out by the time you get there, no matter how fast you run. I've been at the show where his table got sold out by and large BEFORE the VIP pass holders got in. That year I was lucky enough to score a vendor pass, otherwise I would not have gotten a sniff. Don't worry, though, about that for now. Vince and Grace will be happy to talk to you. Two more gracious people you will never meet.

For talking technical details, Kevin Cashen is great to talk to. He was a great fountain of knowledge at SFI. Don't know if he still is. Tinker Pierce will talk to you about a lot of things, including classic cars and literature. As will Eric McHugh from Albion.

James Williams is an expert not only on Japanese swordsmanship, but on self-defense in general. Fascinating guy.

You can learn a lot about people by just walking up to their table and talking to them. The ones I like, and the ones I'll throw my hard earned cash to, are the ones who will treat everyone with some dignity, not matter how that person is dressed. That's why Vince Evans and Barry Dawson (the the Dawson Gang) will get first dibs on my money.

Those of you who are going, maybe you should do what we did before, and schedule a "meet and greet" some place...say at the Albion booth, to pick a table at random.
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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 5:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen S. Han wrote:
Now the popular makers like Vince Evans will have sold his table out by the time you get there, no matter how fast you run. I've been at the show where his table got sold out by and large BEFORE the VIP pass holders got in.


Now when someone sells out before the show even starts do they still display their sold wares for other people to see until the sword ends?
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 6:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Elrod wrote:
Stephen S. Han wrote:
Now the popular makers like Vince Evans will have sold his table out by the time you get there, no matter how fast you run. I've been at the show where his table got sold out by and large BEFORE the VIP pass holders got in.


Now when someone sells out before the show even starts do they still display their sold wares for other people to see until the sword ends?


Depends on 1) if the buyer will allow it to sit on the table 2) if it's the seller's "policy" to keep it and then ship it or hand it out after the show and 3) what the buyer's schedule is in terms of when he is able to attend the show.

In other words, "in depends". Wink

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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 6:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Jason Elrod wrote:
Stephen S. Han wrote:
Now the popular makers like Vince Evans will have sold his table out by the time you get there, no matter how fast you run. I've been at the show where his table got sold out by and large BEFORE the VIP pass holders got in.


Now when someone sells out before the show even starts do they still display their sold wares for other people to see until the sword ends?


Depends on 1) if the buyer will allow it to sit on the table 2) if it's the seller's "policy" to keep it and then ship it or hand it out after the show and 3) what the buyer's schedule is in terms of when he is able to attend the show.

In other words, "in depends". Wink


Well that clears it up for me. See I'm learning stuff all ready. I'm not sure how much of it is useful but I am learning it. Razz
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Stephen S. Han




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 7:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason Elrod wrote:

Stephen I was thinking about your post some more and you are right. I'm sure there are a lot of great people who are being ignored right now because we haven't seen their stuff on-line. The question becomes how do we get to know these people? Word of mouth. Phone. Sharing our experiences on line. Here's another question. Why don't we hear more about these Ludites (non-internet using smiths)? A little off topic I know but it interests me. Hypothetically speaking let's say that Vince Evans didn't have an on-line presence. Would he still be discussed or mentioned on the forums? Would people want to keep his name and work for themselves? While there are a multitude of reasons why an artist wouldn't want to be listed on line, why wouldn't we still want to share their work with the community? Or is it that the community just doesn't want to hear about their work? So many questions, so little time.

I'm trying to do 2 things at once and didn't mean to submit this post originally so I edited it's content.


Actually I have tried sharing my experiences online. I've been touting the names of Barry Dawson, Lynn Dawson and Rob Patton before. A couple of problems arise.

First, I get ignored. No questions are directed at us beyond, "did you see Angus Trim's (Albion's, Bugei's) new swords?" The fact is, most people on the net stay in their comfort zone. Not that it's bad, but it does hamper sharing of knowledge. And frankly, I don't feel up to keep shouting alone in the wilderness.

Second, we get swamped in by people who have never handled, much less bought, swords, offering their online obtained knowledge. It gets a bit tiresome after a while.

Third (and only pertaining to the Dawsons), I get "well, they make swords out of stainless steel and everyone knows stainless steel is crap." Efforts to share the knowledge on Barry's differential heat treatment, and the testings done pitting Barry's katana against Don Foggs, either get disbelieved or shouted down by internet samurai. Once again, a bit tiring.

Mind you the 'net has done wonders for dissemination of knowledge, but there's an awful lot of crap posing as knowledge. No question that Vince Evans became much better known worldwide faster as a result of the net, and by efforts of such fans as Thomas McDonald who tirelessly (and without compensation) worked as the Evans PR director. Laughing Out Loud It's a process. I remember a time when on a Sunday afternoon Vince would have to pack up many pieces which went unsold, and I could actually walk up and purchase a nice bowie knife. Unthinkable now, but I've seen it.

Part of the pleasures of these shows is discovery. That's why I rant when a first timer already has a preconceived ideas about whose stuff he wants to see. Lynn Dawson is a great example. I first saw her wares when she was starting out at age 18. Her knives weren't as polished, grind a liiiiittle uneven, and engraving primitive. But I saw some talent there, and bought a few pieces over time. Now I think her knives are excellently done. I'll always feel that I had a hand, albeit a small one, in her success. And made some good friends in the process, as she, her husband, her sisters, and her brothers in law greet me like a long lost relative whenever I show up at a show.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 8:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jason;

At these things I sort of hope there is some space between tables so that I can move FAST and do all the rows of tables in an almost running overview a couple of times and then target what seemed most interesting for longer and longer looks.

Then just talking to people about their work. If I'm not buying or have a limited budget some of the pressure is off, and the fear that I will miss that " I-can-t-live-without-this-one-piece " , after I have found THE piece I will buy at this show.

Systematic " Hunting " and avoiding getting stuck at one place EARLY talking too long to one person ! That is for later.
Sometimes ones starts a good conversation with an interesting maker and one notices that the show is closing that day and that too much as not gotten that initial flyby. Razz

Over many days, one finds that one goes back to the nicest pieces or to talk with the nicest people: A lot of times these are the people you contact later to place a custom order.

Oh, good comfortable shoes, find the restrooms, foodstalls if any, come early / leave as late as they will let you.

Try to not go nuts and buy the first thing you see as you might find that perfect piece right after blowing your budget.

OH, DON'T FORGET TO HAVE FUN. Wink Big Grin

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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 8:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd also suggest that you don't get so caught up looking at tables that you mis other things going on around you. There are seminars and demonstrations that are worth seeing, even if only for the sake of curiousity. It is also worth finding out what people plan to do after the show. Its not unusual for groups with similar interests to end up chatting for hours over good food and drink at a bar or patio someplace.


*edit for craptastic typing

"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy


Last edited by Joe Fults on Wed 14 Jun, 2006 7:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 8:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Fults wrote:
I'd also suggest that you don't get so caught up looking at table that you mis other things going on around you. there are seminars and demonstrations that are worth seeing, even if only for the sake of curiousity. Its also worth finding out what people plan to do after the show. Its not unusual for group with similar interests to end up chatting for hours over good foor and drink at a bar or patio someplace.


I've missed out on good seminars in the past years because I didn't pay attention to their schedule. THis is good advice. Get a schedule and take note of it early!

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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Jun, 2006 11:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nathan Robinson wrote:
Joe Fults wrote:
I'd also suggest that you don't get so caught up looking at table that you mis other things going on around you. there are seminars and demonstrations that are worth seeing, even if only for the sake of curiousity. Its also worth finding out what people plan to do after the show. Its not unusual for group with similar interests to end up chatting for hours over good foor and drink at a bar or patio someplace.


I've missed out on good seminars in the past years because I didn't pay attention to their schedule. THis is good advice. Get a schedule and take note of it early!


All ready printed out.
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Jason Elrod




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 12:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Stephen S. Han wrote:

Actually I have tried sharing my experiences online. I've been touting the names of Barry Dawson, Lynn Dawson and Rob Patton before. A couple of problems arise.

First, I get ignored. No questions are directed at us beyond, "did you see Angus Trim's (Albion's, Bugei's) new swords?" The fact is, most people on the net stay in their comfort zone. Not that it's bad, but it does hamper sharing of knowledge. And frankly, I don't feel up to keep shouting alone in the wilderness.

Second, we get swamped in by people who have never handled, much less bought, swords, offering their online obtained knowledge. It gets a bit tiresome after a while.

Third (and only pertaining to the Dawsons), I get "well, they make swords out of stainless steel and everyone knows stainless steel is crap." Efforts to share the knowledge on Barry's differential heat treatment, and the testings done pitting Barry's katana against Don Foggs, either get disbelieved or shouted down by internet samurai. Once again, a bit tiring.

Mind you the 'net has done wonders for dissemination of knowledge, but there's an awful lot of crap posing as knowledge. No question that Vince Evans became much better known worldwide faster as a result of the net, and by efforts of such fans as Thomas McDonald who tirelessly (and without compensation) worked as the Evans PR director. Laughing Out Loud It's a process. I remember a time when on a Sunday afternoon Vince would have to pack up many pieces which went unsold, and I could actually walk up and purchase a nice bowie knife. Unthinkable now, but I've seen it.

Part of the pleasures of these shows is discovery. That's why I rant when a first timer already has a preconceived ideas about whose stuff he wants to see. Lynn Dawson is a great example. I first saw her wares when she was starting out at age 18. Her knives weren't as polished, grind a liiiiittle uneven, and engraving primitive. But I saw some talent there, and bought a few pieces over time. Now I think her knives are excellently done. I'll always feel that I had a hand, albeit a small one, in her success. And made some good friends in the process, as she, her husband, her sisters, and her brothers in law greet me like a long lost relative whenever I show up at a show.


All good points. Here are a couple thoughts. When I look at the people who get mentioned the most, they all either have some sort of marketing plan or are self promoters. I also see a trend in price range. The $1000 mark seems to be the magical # ( i.e. I can buy 4 or more Albions for the price of 1 Vince Evans). In addition the ability of the company to deliver their product is always a factor. A lot of people have a hard time waiting. I know I did when I first started collecting. I can get a ATrim in a couple of months or wait 2 years or more for someone like Patric Barta. Also given the price of most swords, it really is hard to "take a chance" so to speak on someone that you have seen, talk to, or handled their products in person. This last reason is why I can't wait to get to the show. I'll be taking names and #s and creating a wish list. Big Grin
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Joe Fults




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 7:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another thing, find out who from the forums is attending and find out if there are plans for people to meet up anyplace.
"Our life is what our thoughts make it"
-Marcus Aurelius

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
-John F. Kennedy
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Angus Trim




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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 11:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

From an exhibitor's standpoint, these events are feast or famine. And the famine's sometimes are quite long and boring.....

So, its nice to have someone stop by and say hi. Nice to finally be able to put a face to a name......... Nice to talk to someone that doesn't think all medieval swords should weigh 25lbs or more.........

Or break a cinder block.......*g*

At Blade Show West, it was nice for me when the various forumites stopped by to either get reaquainted, or meet in person for the first time....... Nice chatting about things in general.........

Stop and visit with any of the exhibitors, most will be very happy to visit with you.......

swords are fun
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Russ Ellis
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PostPosted: Wed 14 Jun, 2006 11:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Some really good thoughts and advice here. I would also echo the sentiment that one should not get to narrowly focused. Who knows this may be the year that the next Cashen or Evans shows up, a total unknown, unrespected and (hopefully) woefully under priced. Happy Just because you or I've never heard of them doesn't mean that they don't do fantastic work. Read the work, not the nameplate on the table. Also it doesn't do to get narrowly focused on swords, there are lots of things that have blades that aren't swords and the people behind those tables are a wealth of knowledge and for the most part are extremely friendly. Oh sure you get your blow hards, your mystics, your trash dealers and your mall ninjas but you also get some very gifted craftsman with years of experience. It only happens in this part of the world once a year. Take advantage of it.
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