Blades of glory

Cass alumnus profiled in Financial Times ‘How To Spend It’ magazine.

Bladesmith Alexander O’Neill, a graduate of Jewellery and Silversmithing at The Cass, was recently included in an article called ‘Meet the makers: a bold new wave of craft creatives’ in the Financial Times (FT) How To Spend It magazine. In the feature, five artisans including Alexander, spoke to Jackie Daly about the experimentalism, obsessions and environmental passions that inform their work.

From his Kennington-based business Gorse Knives, Alexander designs and makes beautiful blades, often bespoke, using Japanese aogami or “blue paper” steel which is known for creating an extremely sharp edge. Gorse Knives is the culmination of a creative journey that saw him move from initially studying fine art to taking a degree in silversmithing before specialising in the creation of distinctive artisanal blades.

Speaking to the FT, Alexander says, “I made quite peculiar art jewellery – ceramic mushrooms and strange objects – so I had to make my own tools for that,” he recalls. “It’s really enjoyable when you are creating something as fussy as art jewellery alongside clean-lined implements. I’m not an amazing cook but I’m very enthusiastic, so then I started making kitchen knives – it all developed from there.”

Read the full How To Spend It article here. And find out more about Gorse Knives on their website.

Photography: Benjamin McMahon

An artist at work forging a knife

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