May marks the beginning of festival and tournament season for many an intrepid fencer. For us, the summer arrives in the shape of Swordpunk, a breathtaking boutique festival where weapons experts and circus performers come together to share skills and soak up the sun in the stunning private estate of Newnham Paddox.
We’ve been involved with this community extravaganza since before lockdown, and its unique combination of relaxation and serious wow factor keeps us coming back for more. After all, where else can you learn staff fighting, axe throwing, sharp cutting, fire spinning and belly dancing all in the same place?
It feels like only months ago I was writing our last New Year’s update in the middle of lockdown, and wondering what 2021 would hold. While it’s undoubtedly been a year of ups and downs across the board, we have been fortunate to have the faith and support of our customers and community throughout.
In many ways, 2021 was a tentative step into a wider world, after the restrictions of early Covid. We were delighted to attend not one but two combat arts events – the madcap Swordpunk and the renowned Malta Historical Fencing Association International Event. Each gave us a well-needed shot of perspective, reminding us why we love the work we do.
We also settled back into regular training with our own fencing group here in Sussex, experimenting with new fencing forms, which in turn informed Chris’s craft and research. From heated pub debates to the heat of the forge, our inspiration relies heavily on our friends and comrades.
Perhaps the year’s greatest blessing – and testament to our hard work – was a steady stream of creative and challenging commissions. From close museum replicas to original fantasy concepts, we have been continually increasing our skills and knowledge to keep up with our clients’ visions.
As with many fencers, we felt the lack of events deeply over 2020 and 2021. Crossing festivals off the calendar began to take its toll, and those regular reminders of our wider community left a sword-shaped hole.
So it was with immense excitement that we packed our bags last week for an event unlike any other: Swordpunk 2021. This skill-sharing festival combines combat arts like fencing, archery, axe throwing and whip cracking with circus skills such as juggling, fire and flow arts. Tucked away on a Capability Brown-designed estate in Warwickshire, it offers acres of lakes for swimming and woodland for strolling, a well-stocked tavern and an inviting fire pit.
We first got involved with Swordpunk in 2019, when we set up a demonstration forge. We were immediately hooked on the event’s close-knit atmosphere, reminiscent of Robin Hood’s merry men training and feasting together in the woods. When we were invited to return, we decided to show off Chris’s handiwork with something new: a sharp cutting experience.
Does your fencing jacket need a little more pizazz on the piste? Is your kit bag in need of a rock’n’roll overhaul? Or maybe you just want to tell the world you have great taste in swords.
After numerous requests from friends and clients, we’ve designed the first official Balefire Blades fabric patch. Resplendent in our iconic green and black, they feature our maker’s mark against a background of hypnotic satin-on-matte spirals.
Finished with high-quality stitching and an iron-on back, they can easily be added to your item of choice.
The first print run of the Art of Balefire Blades has sold out – we thank you all for your interest, and will update this page when we print another run.
We are proud to present a project we’ve been dreaming about since the distinctive Balefire style first took form – a hardcover art book, inviting our friends, clients and supporters to delve into the mythos of Balefire Blades.
Featuring Alicia’s original stories for fifty of our original swords, accompanied by full-page photos of each sword’s hilt, the book is a tangible way to relive highlights from Balefire Blades’ first three years. We have always been inspired by fantasy art books from our favourite film franchises and graphic artists, and it’s a pleasure to add our own to our bookshelf – we hope you’ll think so too!