During 2009, I had to find ways of making knives without a workshop. The range of modified Spyderco knives were a direct result of this restriction but when I started to use textile techniques to join different materials, it made me wonder which other textile techniques I could take back into my knife making.
This was the first felted knife that I made and it was made on a Spyderco Urban knife. Felted knives are surprisingly robust – this one accidentally went through the wash in a jeans pocket, emerging none the worse for it’s adventure. Not a recommended cleaning method for any knife though!
Over the years, I have seen many extraordinary knives including fantasy and art knives that use all the accepted knife vocabulary. They are shiny, spiky, aggressive; they look like knives – even those knives that are never intended to be used.
These pieces are a direct reaction to these; soft, warm and visually non-threatening. How much of the accepted knife vocabulary can be removed and still have a functioning knife?
They give me the opportunity to start reappraising the role of the domesticity and feminity in knives. Knifemaking is traditionally seen as a very male trade but during my research into Sheffield knifemaking, the role of women keeps cropping up. Much of the piece work for folder parts was done by women in their homes, usually their kitchen or a small outhouse. I suspect that the awareness of these invisible women will manifest itself in future knives too.
Most of the foundation work is woollen felt and I use a mixture of wet felting and needle felting to create the desired affect. Some pieces are numo felted; incorporating silk, cotton and other mesh in the structure of the felt. The surface is then stitched, reworked, embroidered and embellished.