When I wrote my post on Madesmith last week, I was struck by how insanely beautiful Chelsea Miller’s one-of-a-kind, rustic knives are. The great thing about Madesmith is that you can read the maker’s stories, and when I read about Chelsea, I liked her even more. An actress, who grew up on a farm surrounded by craftspeople, she started making knives almost by accident, while searching for more tactile work. “I had some unknown, unnamed frustration in wanting to do something with my hands,” she explains.
These days, when not performing, she goes into her workshop, puts on her mask and headphones and gets busy. The blades are cut from high carbon steel repurposed from discarded farrier files and tools. The grater-like etchings on those files give Chelsea Miller Knives their unique patterns. “While I’m not the first person to make a knife out of this type of material, I am the first person the leave the teeth on it intact,” she says. A completely sustainable product, Chelsea also sources the wood for the handles from scrap piles on her family’s farm, often choosing apple wood for its swirling pattern. The entire process can take about two days to complete a knife. For as Chelsea explains, “to me, my knives reflect the simplicity and complexities of being alive.”
All photography courtesy of Madesmith.