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Sean Flynt
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PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 10:53 am    Post subject: Dream Sword         Reply with quote

A couple of casual remarks in this inspiring thread http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t=25258&start=20 add fire to an idea I've had lately.

The artist William Christenberry creates what he calls "dream buildings"--small sculptures (not models) that express his feelings and thoughts about actual architecture, but from an artistic and almost visionary perspective. These sculptures are ideas or literally dreams of the vernacular architecture of the Southeastern US rather than scale models of actual buildings. They are emphatically not BLOs (to borrow the shorthand critique of the arms and armour community) because they arise from a profound engagement with reality yet make no claim of literal representation.

We've previously discussed the term "fantasy' to describe certain types of modern sword. I've sometimes applied the term "speculative" to describe a project that is informed and inspired by historical research, and is historically plausible, but has no known historical twin. What I'm talking about today is a different idea.

The "dream sword" of my thread title is not an aspiration to own something. Rather, it would be something out of the unconscious--informed by everything one has read, seen and created with respect to swords but not explicitly or rationally accessed during design and construction. In other words, instead of the usual process of gathering research, floating ideas and trying to get as close as possible to an historical standard, this would involve freely and intuitively creating an expression of feeling and thought about a sword.

It would probably be liberating to approach a project from this perspective, especially considering the amount of research required for even a mediocre historical project. I think it would be quite challenging as well, requiring a certain amount of discipline and focus to keep conscious historical/aesthetic judgements out of the way of the work.

Such a project could easily become a way to indulge fantasies and avoid internal or external critique. But if one truly could adopt a zen-like approach to the design and construction of a sword, something very interesting might result.

Maybe I'll try it with the cheap Windlass piece on the way.



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-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 11:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I really appreciate what you say Sean.

It is something that has been keeping me busy over the last few years. I have explored the theme under the name of "Time-less Sword".
It amounts to something like what you described: a reach for some essential "swordness" expressed in a form that is not bound by tradition, but rather use traditional form and ideas on function as a resonance when striking another kind of chord.

It is a way to explore the sword as an art form, without it loosing its essential quality and nature. Not a break with tradition, but perhaps a continuation of it.

The Sword is an important archetype. By giving it physical shape, it can affect us on many levels.
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 12:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Peter! I'm going to try this. Maybe I should fast and deprive myself of sleep to reach a Shamanic state. On the other hand, that's a typical day for me and I'm not doing much good now. Laughing Out Loud
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 12:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pain and suffering works for some people.

For me it is some good coffee, a pen and a sketch book.
With numerous repetitions.
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 12:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
Pain and suffering works for some people.

For me it is some good coffee, a pen and a sketch book.
With numerous repetitions.


I like your way better!

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Thomas R.




PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 1:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Sean,

your approach sounds very philosophical to me. It reminds of greek philosopher Platon and his allegory of the cave. He suspects that there is a sort of idea for everything, that incorporates the "timeless" features of said things. So what could the idea of a sword look like? For me it would most certainly be in the form of a cross, with long, straight crossguard, two sharp edges and a pointy end, and with a pommel (but which sort? paranut? pagoda? wheelshaped? uh...?) So how does such an archetypal idea would look like, how long would it be? Very interesting questions, which answers depends much on your cultural setting. A japanese quy would certainly imagine a katana, a viking a short sword with short crossguard. So what is your idea of a sword looking like?

Best regards,
Thomas

http://maerenundlobebaeren.tumblr.com/
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R. Kolick




PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

What if you took the best attributes of all those swords and brought them together in one sword. The graceful curve and folded steel edge of the katana, the long double edge blade and pattern welded fuller of a Viking sword, a hand and a half grip of a bastard sword and the near perfect balance of a thrusting sword.
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Sean Flynt
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myArmoury Team

PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 6:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

i'm so immersed in the German mode of 1450-1525 that when i close my eyes i can already see it.
-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Kel Rekuta




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 8:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter Johnsson wrote:
I really appreciate what you say Sean.

It is something that has been keeping me busy over the last few years. I have explored the theme under the name of "Time-less Sword".
It amounts to something like what you described: a reach for some essential "swordness" expressed in a form that is not bound by tradition, but rather use traditional form and ideas on function as a resonance when striking another kind of chord.

It is a way to explore the sword as an art form, without it loosing its essential quality and nature. Not a break with tradition, but perhaps a continuation of it.

The Sword is an important archetype. By giving it physical shape, it can affect us on many levels.



Yes, we had this conversation in 2007. When will you make mine? Laughing Out Loud
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Paul Watson




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 12:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Peter you did a Type XIV a few years ago and I think you called it a Homage to the Medieval Sword. Does that sword and your Jaberwocky sword fit within this philosophy.
I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, but that which it protects. (Faramir, The Two Towers)
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 3:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think there are a few ways to approach this.

The first is to see the sword as a work of art in itself, and take inspiration from historical swords combined with modern art and architecture. The work of Antonio Cejunior is a great example of this route.

Another way is to base a design purely on what a person wants a sword to do. But most seriously people are schooled in one or more styles of swordsmanship which always have a cultural and historical background, using swords appropriate for their historical and cultural setting.

But it is my belief that fighting arts are not something static, but adaptable to other situations. So then, why should the weapons the style uses be static? This way you will end up with a historical sword design that has been altered to suit a specific (modern) user's needs.

This becomes much more complicated (and controversial) if a certain user wants to mix widely different fighting arts and associated weaponry...
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J.D. Crawford




PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 4:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The topic of this post reminded me that my sword collecting likely was partially inspired in part by a dream I had decades ago, in which I was being chased by some band of bad guys or goblins and found a big black sword to defend myself. Looking back from the viewpoint of more knowledge, it was a big wide type XV or XVIII with a thick diamond cross section. It stuck in my mind so I can still remember it clearly to this day. Come to think of it, when I bought my first sword it was because it kind of reminded me of that dream sword. I have never tried to commission a re-creation of that sword. Maybe I should. Likely it would be pretty heavy if realized, but not more than many swords curretnly on the market.

So, another way of designing a 'dream sword' would be to literally dream about a sword on purpose. This can be done. Back in the mid 80's, when my mind was open to all kinds of wierd readings, I learned to do lucid dreaming for a while. Putting aside the new-age hokey stuff, it's not that hard to learn the technique. In this case, just tell yourself to dream about your perfect sword while going to sleep each night until it happens. The trickier part is to also tell yourself to recognize that its a dream when it does happen. And then keep reminding yourself that its a dream while examining the object. One can remember a surprising amount of perceptual detail from lucid dreams like this. I know, it sounds strange, but one can indeed learn to do this with practice.
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Sean Flynt
myArmoury Team


myArmoury Team

PostPosted: Thu 16 Feb, 2012 7:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well...I did dream about swords last night (bare blades, though, which is very interesting). Unfortunately, I watched an episode of The Walking Dead before bed, so it was zombie time. I was coolly assessing the qualities of the different blade types and thinking, "finally, some useful modern test-cutting experiments!".

The good news is that the dream sword idea is coming together with remarkable ease and clarity. Once I convinced myself to think in terms of broad aesthetic and technological themes rather than individual artifacts the creative flood gates opened wide.

By coincidence/fate/synchonicity/will-of-Vulcan, etc., on the day I began this thread I received the new monograph about the Philadelphia Museum of Art's newly-acquired 16th c. harness and bard. On the bard, maidens hold banderoles bearing the motto "Ich habs im Sinn"--"I have in mind". In its original context it's an arrogant expression of privilege. In the context of my project it's more an expression of will and creativity. If I had not been open to all inspiration I would have read over that bit. Instead, it's fuel for the fire. Big Grin

-Sean

"Everywhere I have searched for peace and nowhere found it, except in a corner with a book"- Thomas a Kempis (d. 1471)
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Mark T




PostPosted: Fri 17 Feb, 2012 11:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Sean,

Great concept! Can't wait to see where this leads you!

Have you seen Antonio Conceição Júnior (Antonio Cejunior)'s BLADESIGN site?

One this page, he mentions using the 'golden rule' in designing a sword, and provides a link to one site which discusses it: http://www.arscives.com/bladesign/mycollection/2.htm

His links page takes you to some of his other projects: http://www.arscives.com/bladesign/links.htm

His approarch is not exactly what you're talking about, but there are some fascinating nuggets buried in some of his discussions about how he went about the design process ... I think it's worth mining, given that he's a trained / professional designer (in other fields), and that much of his sword design projects cover not only the functional / practical aspects, they also touch on the 'meta', unexpected, visceral, and 'experiences-hard-to-put-into-words' categories.

Hope that's of some interest,

Mark T

Chief Librarian/Curator, Isaac Leibowitz Librarmoury

Schallern sind sehr sexy!
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Kai Lawson




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Feb, 2012 8:16 am    Post subject: 'Pure form'         Reply with quote

I'm not sure that my opinions hold any weight, but has anyone noticed that while swords in the presence of rapidly evolving armor then to diversify a bit more, copper and bronze era swords (including the bronze swords in the early iron age) tend, on a basic level, to be one of two types? I know about the trend from 'rapier' to slash/thrust to more cutting style blades, but it seems to me that the gentle leaf blade seems to be a surprisingly long lasting blade type. It is certainly what I think of when I imagine the 'essence of a sword.'
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Paul Hansen




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PostPosted: Wed 22 Feb, 2012 11:59 am    Post subject: Re: 'Pure form'         Reply with quote

Kai Lawson wrote:
I'm not sure that my opinions hold any weight, but has anyone noticed that while swords in the presence of rapidly evolving armor then to diversify a bit more, copper and bronze era swords (including the bronze swords in the early iron age) tend, on a basic level, to be one of two types? I know about the trend from 'rapier' to slash/thrust to more cutting style blades, but it seems to me that the gentle leaf blade seems to be a surprisingly long lasting blade type. It is certainly what I think of when I imagine the 'essence of a sword.'


I fully agree with the sentiment that bronze swords are in many aspects the "arch-typical" or "original" sword.

However there was quite a bit of variety even in a limited area like north-western Europe. For instance an Ewart Park and a Mindelheim are both cutting oriented leaf blades from north-western Europe, but are vastly different in character.
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