What you are looking at is a piece of art, a piece of my father, a part of me.
I love the holidays-- when the kids all come home from school and with them, come their friends. Our driveways are full, once again. Morning coffee is shared with random guests-- relics from a late night. They bring back their energy, they share their dreams, they have a light in their eyes called possibility and even, passion. You get to know them all in the morning-- even the quiet ones. Dom Valerio is quiet, kind, gentle. He is an old soul and now, he is a craftsman.
My Godson Michael is a fisherman, an influence from my father. My dad would take all of the kids out and patiently show them how to cast, how to bait the hook, how to brace yourself for reeling in and finally, how to gut and clean. Michael was the one who became most attached to the sport and he inherited my dad's fishing boat, The Julianna.
I commissioned Dom to craft a fishing knife for my nephew at Christmas and within days after the new year, he returned with it.
I look at this knife, and when I break it apart, I can equate its parts to my father's role in all of our lives-- especially Michael's.
Hand crafted, there are areas that remain rough and imperfect. These imperfections will grow on Michael and make this knife, his own. With love and touch, they may even soften. As beautiful as it is, it could cut him, even scar him. That is the risk he takes by choosing to carry it. Yet, it will also protect him, defend him, teach him skill and precision. The grip was made to fit his own. It will become an extension of himself. He will reach for it blindly. They will react as one-- the boy and his knife. He will clean it, sharpen its blade when it becomes dull, care for it, respect it. And when its leather case becomes soft and worn, it will remain at his right side, within grip. Always there. Always ready. A familiar presence.
"What is the hole at the tip?", I asked Dom. "Oh, that is for a floater in case he drops it in the water. It won't sink."
It was then that I had to walk out of the room. Almost four years have passed since we lost my dad. I have missed him. A few times. I myself, felt like I might go under - but something inside kept me afloat. Before I set Michael's knife next to my father's, I ran my hand over and around the small circle at the tip and smiled. Yes, this is much, much more, than a knife.
For commissions contact Dominic Valerio @ firstname.lastname@example.org