I’ve been fortunate to create leather goods based on fantasy realms before, taking cues from Middle Earth and beyond. This challenge, however, was all the greater – making a scabbard based on a world of our client’s own creation.
A published writer, our client chose to celebrate the success of her novels by commissioning a sword and scabbard straight out of them. The resulting weapon was the acclaimed Accipiter Kriegmesser, and my task was to create a matching scabbard.
The blade itself provided the first challenge, with its gentle and continuous curve calling for a carefully carved scabbard core. Our client is also a practitioner of Iaijutsu, and required a sturdy scabbard mouth which would allow for the discipline’s stylised quick-draws. I achieved this by topping the wooden core with a pad of thick buffalo hide, itself concealed by the decorative leather lip at the top of the scabbard.
The next decision was how to incorporate suspension into the piece. Due to the combination of Western and Eastern influences, we wanted the sword to hang at a slightly more horizontal angle than would have been typical for a kriegmesser. Therefore, I wanted the suspension points to be spaced a way apart, pulling the scabbard straight against the hip.
The solution came in the form of an aesthetic consideration: the homeland of the sword’s fictional wielder featured a flag with a green and white checkerboard pattern, which our client wanted to be replicated on the scabbard. Rather than painting the pattern in, I decided to weave a split white belt through the green leather of the scabbard, creating a homage to the country’s flag while also suspending the sword at a comfortable angle.
The remaining decorative touches are likewise representative of our client’s character’s homeland – a scattering of heraldic edelweiss blooms represent a recurring theme in the stories, while the crown-like chape and metallic detailing hint at royal lineage.
The horizontal lines and green, white and steel themes of the scabbard continue those of the kriegmesser itself, while the copper rivets on the buckles match the copper-bright eyes of the goshawk pommel.
As a whole, the sword and scabbard are undoubtedly a work of fantasy, laden with heraldic imagery from another world. However, they are also firmly functional within our own realm, allowing our client to practice both Eastern and Western martial arts with flair.
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