As I mentioned earlier in the month, I went to the Robert E. Howard Days in Cross Plains, Texas, pretty immediately after getting back from the Blade Show. Reading Conan, The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Prydain Chronicles, the Redwall books (the first five or so, at least), etc., etc. while growing up fueled my love for blades, though you won't see a lot of influence in my designs from literary sources. Design-wise, I derive far more from my time spent clearing brush, chopping mesquite trees, and cutting firewood. But, I have still a love for my literary roots and enjoy getting to go to the REH Days every year that it doesn't conflict with the Blade Show.
Three neat things happened this year.
1. I randomly met the son of Novelyn Price Ellis, who dated Robert E. Howard for a while in a somewhat contentious relationship, then wrote a book about what she knew of him called One Who Walked Alone. This was adapted into a movie entitled The Whole Wide World, with Renee Zellweger and Vincent D'Onofrio. We happened to be standing next to his motorcycle after the annual banquet and noticed a pair of drugstore reading glasses on the ground underneath. When he came out, we pointed out that we had set them with his baggage. He carried a Bob Dozier knife. :)
2. The guest speaker at the banquet and several of the discussion panels was Mark Shultz, who illustrated one of the Wandering Star collections of Conan stories. His name seemed familiar, and looking him up on my wunderphone that sees the Interwebz reminded me that he is best known for his creation Xenozoic Tales that was adapted into the sadly short-lived cartoon Cadillacs and Dinosaurs. I watched it while growing up, and it was one of the better shows on, coming near the end of the era of the Saturday morning cartoon when you had dreck such as Street Sharks and Biker Mice from Mars (inexplicably deemed Educational and Informative by whatever bureaucracy was in charge of deeming such things). I got to ask him a couple of questions during a panel discussion (his favorite car is the 1954 Cadillac Eldorado, no surprise) and afterwards shook his hand and let him know I had appreciated the show. I always joke it's the show with everything: "You got your Cadillacs and you got your dinosaurs. In the same show!" :)
3. Two people recognized me as a knife maker outside of the context of a knife show or blacksmith gathering. They had seen my work online and recognized my name and maybe my face from some of my videos. That's the first time that I have been recognized by my profession at an event outside that profession. I thought that was really cool.
It's a weird little world we live in. I enjoy it. :)