NACOGDOCHES, TEXAS (KTRE) - The distinctive pounds and hisses that come with each step of Kevin Burgess’ bladesmithing illustrate that metalworking is an art.
“Forging a blade is an extension of you as an artist,” said Burgess.
The former computer science major, now art major, learned bladesmithing where self-guided 20-year-olds go for help…YouTube.
“I’m this new generation of craftsman,” commented Burgess.
The bladesmith is so talented at forging bars of steel into blades of all sizes and uses that he was selected to compete on the History Channel’s ‘Forged in Fire’ competition.
"I was very excited that they were at least acknowledging me because I'm just a little bladesmith in the middle of nowhere," said Burgess.
But from this Douglass studio, Burgess is in his zone of creativity that starts with a forge he made himself. Once hot enough the steel is pounded by machine and by hand.
"It's a Japanese dogface hammer,” said Burgess as he picked up the heavy tool. “It has more weight toward the front of it."
Add a bit of grinding and the metal takes shape.
Once Burgess eyeballs the curved mastery for width and length, he sends it to the kiln.
“It is not a blade yet. It’s just a hunk of steel in the shape of a blade,” said Burgess as he slipped the piece into the hot oven.
Hunting blades are Burgess’ specialty, but Forged In Fire requires contestants to have built at least a 15-inch blade, something at the time Burgess had not accomplished. So, he got to work on a 32″ sword.
"The design itself is off Henry the XIII army sword. You don't learn anything barely pushing yourself making something a little over the requirements," said Burgess about the ambitious project.
Burgess sells his artwork at Rees Jewelry in Downtown Nacogdoches. Moderately priced blades are also sold by Burgess at the Nacogdoches Farmers Market. , knowing exactly when to say, “And now, she’s a blade.”
Burgess sells his artwork at Rees Jewelry in Downtown Nacogdoches. Moderately priced blades are also sold by Burgess at the Nacogdoches Farmers Market.