Local bladesmith shares his experience in creating physical art from science

Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor 

The sciences are one of the most complex disciplines to enter into. Be it chemistry or biology, the nature of these studies require an understanding of the physical world in a calculated and precise manner. However, we don’t necessarily always see that translate into a tangible product. For the Office of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Innovation and Leadership is their aim.

Christine Broadbridge, Ph.D., Director of STEM Initiatives, helps to facilitate this process. One way this is accomplished is by trying to find connections between science and other disciplines. On Jan. 28, Matthew Parkinson, a local bladesmith, was invited by the physics club to share his experience in translating science into a physical work of art.

“We got in touch with one of the local professional societies and introduced them to our physics club,” said Broadbridge. “We really facilitated it, we found a local person who specializes in this very unique art work representation and the students were just thrilled to do it. We brought them in, gave them a tour of our labs, and showed them some of things we do. The new office we set up is really part of our mission to do this kind of thing.”

The event began with an introduction to the speaker, as well as the students, and then a tour of the new Academic Science Building. After this, the event was redirected to Connecticut Hall for dinner.

In the seminar room of Connecticut Hall, Parkinson presented various blades that he crafted. He spoke about the process of making blades and the several elements of thought that have to go into it. For Parkinson though, it is less of a job and more of a deep passion.

“One of my first memories was with my parents and I saw a forge and there were sparks everywhere. I was probably four or so and I thought ‘I’m doing that!,’ so that’s pretty much been my goal in life, to do that,” said Parkinson. “I went to school for machining and I tried to go that trade school route, but got really disenamored with tolerances on several millions dollar parts and the stress of doing it everyday. I didn’t like it. So I did this as a hobby and it became an all consuming obsession.”

That obsession has led Parkinson to form Falling Hammer Productions, LLC., and its subsidiary Dragons Breath Forge. He primarily makes swords, knives, and axes, with a special interest in the Viking-era. Furthermore, he has taught at schools across the Northeast, sharing his unique talent and interest with others. At the end of the day though Parkinson’s greatest inspiration is those that came before.

“A lot of my inspiration comes from history,” said Parkinson. “But I’m enamored with the process and the end product. I have a design in mind originally, but it will evolve a little as I work on it. But it’s always about learning new things and new paths to get on.”

All Photos By:  Tyler Korponai – Photo Editor


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