“Only in silence the word,
only in dark the light,
only in dying life:
bright the hawk’s flight
on the empty sky.”
-Ursula K. LeGuin
This is a bronze sword I made for the upcoming exhibition, “The Sword- Form and Thought” at the Deutsches Klingenmuseum in Solingen Germany. It is one of four swords in a part of the exhibit called Xiphos: penetrating light. Four other smiths and I were invited to create contemporary sword artifacts which explored the idea of penetrating light.
Here is a slideshow of the making of this sword. Thanks to Green Foundry for casting the blade and hilt scales.
When co-curator Peter Johnsson described the idea to me, one of my first thoughts was Ursula LeGuin’s poem “Only in Silence the Word”, which describes the relationship between apparent opposites. I made this sword as an exploration of the idea that darkness is the context in which light exists — one implies the other. It seemed to me that the best representation of both light penetrating darkness and the integral relationship between light and darkness, was to cast a bronze sword. The bronze penetrates the darkness of the mold as a glowing liquid, matter that is light incarnate. The mold shapes the liquid bronze into a sword just as darkness gives context to light.
I was partly inspired by the huge Bronze Age swords which may have been altars. There is one at the British Museum as wide as a man’s chest, as long as his legs, with no hilt. I wanted to make a sword that pushes the boundaries of size, a sword for an oak-skinned Bronze Age hero, a sword which holds the spirit of light in its pommel, is sharp and balanced, its blade a golden line of intent.
The opening of the exhibit will be on September 25th 2015, for more info have a look here The Sword – Form and Thought. I hope to see you there!