Faint bursts of silver illuminate the dark and gloomy night as the moon flickers between the slow moving clouds. You sense danger, suddenly the hair stands up on the back of your neck! Something's out there, but what? Over there, in the poplar grove, was that movement? All alone, your mind starts to race, panic sets in, you fight to calm yourself too lateyour heart races as you meet it's gaze. There, peering from the darkness are the eyes, instantly you make out the black and silver shadow of the body a large timber wolf. Oh no, what now? Do you make a run for it?
Don't worry, this is no real-life nightmare, but an imagination brought to life when looking at some artwork from Gaétan Beauchamp. The method is reverse scrimshaw, the canvas, a knife handle made with water buffalo horn.
Though each creation of Gaétan's is different, his work is easily recognized, especially in wildlife and human faces. This feature is the "eyes". As mentioned above, the subjects indeed come to lifeGaétan lives in the city of Stoneham, Québec, Canada. His home is nestled in a picturesque valley with the Huron River in his backyard. Stoneham is about a fifteen minute drive north of Québec City, one of the most historical settlements in the province of Québec. It is home to a people who are unique, being proud of their native, french roots. The area is alive with activity in summer and winter. Ski resorts abound, as well the museum's heritage sites draw tourists from all around the world. There is a distinct European flavour to the experience.
Québec City is well known as being the cradle of French civilization in North America. Maintaining their heritage has not been without its problems or rewards. The struggle to preserve their culture and identity is evident in the determination and individuality of French craftmen such as Gaétan Beauchamp.
As a result of these qualities, their work stands out. They are independent in terms of ideas and designs. Seeming to thrive on challenges, it is nothing for them to learn new skills to produce a better product.
As mentioned, Beauchamp's talents are not limited to his scrimshaw, recently he has begun producing some fantastic art knives. One futuristic model even comes complete with 20 sweeping blue light. His steel choices include ATS-34, 440 C, O1, and Damascus. Bolster material is usually 416 stainless steel. Handle choice are almost endless. These range from stabilized wood, ivory, water buffalo horn to malachite and lapis lazuli gemstone.So it was for Gaétan. A talented artist, he has gained international fame for his award winning knives and scrimshaw. (Judges Award in Detroit, "Prix coup de coeur" in Cannes, France, both in 1995) His knifemaking abilities however, arose out of necessity. In 1990, he saw a friend scrimshaw a piece of ivory, fascinated with the procedure Gaétan worked on a piece with very good results. As time went on, his passion for the art grew. The biggest problem initially was finding knifemakers willing to let a new scrimshander work on their handles. Difficult problem, but according to Gaétan, the solution was simple; ``I would just have to learn how to make knives.`` Today, his knives are as sought after as his scrimshaw is! The maker's most popular blades are his own unique style of fighters, as well he enjoys working on the designs of a customer. A considerable number of knifemakers send their knives to him for some embellishment on their ivory or water buffalo horn handles. Bolo ties are also very popular.
Gaetan travel to knife shows throughout Canada, the U.S. and France. Beauchamp is a member of both the Canadian and the U.S. Knifemakers' Guilds. His work has been featured in Blade magazine, Knifes Illustrated, Canadian Outdoors and numerous others magazines in Europe and North America.
Should you wish more information on Gaétan or his work, feel free to email or call him. He is one of the friendliest knifemakers around and would enjoy hearing from you.