I am a female cutler making one-off knives and scissors in Sheffield, UK using both traditional and non-traditional methods. My corsetry has developed in parallel to knifemaking and although it seems like an unusual combination, it has a mutual link through engineering, knowledge of materials and precise craft skills.
I made my first knives in 1992 when I needed a final year BA project and decided to design and make a set of three folding knives. I made the Damascus steel with Richard Quinnell at the Fire and Iron Gallery and tried to figure the rest out by myself.
I moved to Sheffield in 1994, hoping to become an apprentice to one of the knifemakers. Instead, I ended up doing a Masters degree (and later a PhD) in Metalwork and Jewellery at Sheffield Hallam University and thoroughly enjoyed applying an academic framework to my practical work.
My background is in design and metalwork / jewellery and my work over the last ten years has focused on creating different forms of knives in an innovative and exploratory manner. The knives that I made during this period reflect this.
I was given the opportunity to work with traditional knifemakers in Sheffield as part of post-doc research project at Sheffield Hallam University, with Dr N Wood and funded by Arts & Humanities Research Council. This has enabled me to explore different methods of slip-joint folder assembly and design, both traditional and contemporary. The Folding Knife Project provides learning materials to support those wishing to learn the skills needed to make traditional folding knives.
I like using technologies and techniques from other craft disciplines in my work. Industry and manufacturing techniques such as casting, spring bending, EDM and laser cutting all have their role to play. Despite this, my studio craft background imbues my work with a stubborn, DIY spirit. I find myself slipping into trying to make everything myself in my workshop or at home in my textile studio…as though I was in a pre-industrial time warp rather than surrounded by an abundance of engineering and technological expertise. There is something about working this way that seems right, doing the work on something that I have designed, putting the time in… particularly when the project is obsessive and over-the-top.
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the generous professionals, particularly other knifemakers, for their support and technical dissemination.