Swords & Mindfulness: Delegate – Imitate – Be Patient
This is the seventh part of a eight-part interview by Carlo Cavazzuti and appeared in its original Italian version on Narrare di Storia.
Swordsmithing is not a conventional job and in this piece of interview we go through some of the basic mindfulness principles we have learned to follow through the years.
Mindfulness is not something for alternative people or the new fashion for stress management. It’s absolutely perfect for everyone… swordsmiths included!
Q24. I have seen that your work often includes gold and precious stones, parts that are enamelled, with leather sheaths that worked, painted and embossed, as well as precious fabrics for the hilts or for the sheaths themselves. Do you make everything yourselves or are there others who help you with this?
Eleonora: As we mentioned in some answers earlier, to do this job you have to be very eclectic when it comes to working in an artistic setting. We always tried to keep things internal as much as possible, in fact, over the years we have developed different skills at multiple levels in order to be able to cover the widest range of processes possible. However, when efficiency calls, we have the moral duty to delegate to external artisans.
FIRST THINGS FIRST:
There’s no shame in delegating! This is something that for a long time we avoided because the act of delegating seems to say: you’re not enough. You don’t perceive it as a noble approach, you don’t see it as appropriate for a “true artisan”. Isn’t it true? Be honest: you can admit that you can’t win or master everything. This is the starting point to be open and grow as an individual and a professional. Our medieval ancestors knew it well, when did the world start to think otherwise?
Q25. Have you ever made a “futuristic” sword, or perhaps better said, an “unconventional” or “alternative” sword, with a completely new design from your own ideas?
Eleonora: No, never, we haven’t yet had the chance, but I would definitely like to.
We’re huge fans of Peter Johnsson’s work, as we mentioned several times. His understanding of medieval design principles was an epiphany when we started. Following his example and work, I don’t feel comfortable affirming that the sword would be made after “our own ideas”. Because as Mr Johnsson demonstrated, designing and crafting a sword can only pass through the observation of nature and its rules. Humanity has deciphered some of those rules and has created a rational system through geometry and math: we’re nothing else than readers and imitators and we must live with that in mind in order to find our path.
Q27. Does current legislation regulate the “sword market” in some way? Is it part of the arms market?
Rodolfo: Yes, current legislation regulates the sword market if the swords are sharpened and therefore considered actual weapons.
Q28. Is any special permit required to be able to own/wield a sword?
Rodolfo: In Italy, if sharpened, you need a weapons license, both to own and to make them. But the legislation regarding possession of weapons, which hasn’t required that the owner report their weapon to the police since 2010, is still in discussion.
Q29. To be able to sell guns, rifles and ammunition, you need a gunsmith certificate; is it the same for swords?
Rodolfo: Yes, it is. In Italy, it’s not possible to make sharp swords since they are considered weapons unless you take an exam and acquire a license and authorisation from the police authorities. Also various upgrades in the workshop are needed. You should also bear in mind that once this license has been acquired, all production premises must be properly equipped in accordance with the law.
This is something that our customers outside Italy ask so often, because in their countries strict rules like ours don’t exist. We really would like to make sharp swords in the future, but it’s a long way to the top! So we have to be patient. We started from scratch, and we made everything to afford an equipped smithy. And we’re determined to upgrade our tools and skills in the years to come. Such a great step will require time though. Nonetheless, even if our swords are blunt, we always aim to give them the most correct design and handling. Is it a challenge? One of the toughest!
But we want to give you a gift today with this mantra “Delegate – Imitate – Be Patient”
We are trying to follow it, it’s not easy. But the power of words is mightier than swords… Or so they say!
Photo Cover: T.HEMA by Stefan Feichtinger