the Craftsman

David DelaGardelle

Swordsmith, Artist, and Sole Proprietor of Cedarlore Forge

As a child I had no trouble getting lost in the epic worlds I read about in the classic books and stories I loved, igniting my imagination, creativity, & artistic abilities from a very young age. I loved listening to my family’s stories of our Norwegian and Germanic ancestral heritage, and the evocative and mythopoetic legends they all entailed. Countless nights were spent by the fireside up north with my Opa (grandfather) and father telling stories of our family’s lineage who immigrated to the States only a couple generations ago. I look back on my childhood with thankfulness towards my parents and loved ones, who created a limitless environment for my imagination to run wild and grow in.

Today I hope that my work as an artist, and particularly as a swordsmith, evokes the same feelings I experienced when first reading Tolkien’s novels and experiencing the world he crafted, I hope my work ignites the same spark in people that I felt being ignited in me when I first heard lines of Beowulf being recited in Old English. I hope my art brings people the same joy that I experienced when I first read C.S. Lewis stories, G.K Chesterton’s “The Ballad of the White Horse“, or John Bunyan’s “Pilgrims Progress”. Since falling in love with those stories, and since choosing my path as a swordsmith and artist, I now strive to use my creativity as a tool. A tool to create a path to enter into those epic tales, learning from the themes and truths they spoke of.

Alongside the stories I love, I draw a huge amount of inspiration from the rustic environments and communities I grew up in and traveled through. Just behind my grandparent’s house, on the shore of Scandinavian-heritage-rich Door County, Wisconsin, lay a huge expanse of tall cedar forests where my brother and I would go exploring. This was one of the first places that sparked an unquenchable desire in me to take inspiration from landscapes and weave them into my work. Other places that moved me were those such as the iconic green fields of Ireland, the forests of England, and the Northern Highlands of Scotland, all of which I explored while traveling in my youth and then later re-visited with my wife. All of them have equally fed my creative drive, and have helped me sink my imaginative roots deeper into a foundation on which to develop my art.

Its places like those that inspire me to try and capture the natural elements in my work, either by carving organic shapes, crafting with beautiful wood grains, or etching rough textures into the steels I use. Artistically, I hope these details portray a sense of antiquity and depth.

For some a sword may be just that, a sword. But for those that understand my perspective and my goal, you might also have those adventurous inclinations when you view or hold one of my swords. You may, I hope, feel inspired to live not in selfishness, violence, hatred and revenge, but instead with honor, respect, grace, and love towards other human beings.

I believe in the idea that we are all living in a cosmic story that’s much larger than ourselves. I believe in beautifully-absolute and unchanging Truth in the reality of good and evil, and that the split between the two resides within all of our broken human-hearts, which yearn for redemption and freedom. I think the sword is a perfect symbol to explore those truths, and delve deep into what makes human beings truly human.

I hope that through my work I might inspire others to use the God given talents that we all have for a good and positive purpose, whatever it may be.

God bless

– David DelaGardelle