It all starts with a story. That’s the premise behind elk & HAMMER, an online gallery featuring a global collective of artisans and makers redefining what it is to live and work, finding a symbiosis between the two in a manner both new and very, very old.
After jewelry designer, blacksmith, knife-maker, and gallery founder Ashley Childs produced her final jewelry collection, she followed a passion years in the making and launched elk & HAMMER. The innovative online gallery connects artists with one another and their respective artforms, those artforms with an audience, and that audience with a story. “We are a world of one-click shopping, everything fast and faceless,” says Childs. “But to pick up a knife every morning and butter your bread is an experience, made even more lovely when that butter knife was hand-forged by a blacksmith who spent decades refining their craft, whose story you know, whose face you’ve seen. That is a beautiful thing.”
elk & HAMMER currently features a growing body of work from sculptors, ceramicists, designers, painters, metalsmiths, and more. Each addition to the gallery represents another story in an ever-evolving tome exalting both the maker and the made. One of those makers is Childs’ oldest friend and mentor, Steve Schwarzer, a hall-of-fame bladesmith who has spent the past 50 years learning from those that came before, honing his craft, and redefining the art of mosaic Damascus steel.
U.K. leather worker and designer Otis Ingrams is similarly inspired by the godfathers of his craft and design vernacular. Ingrams established OTZI Studios in 2013 and has since been carefully handcrafting distinctive British, Spanish, and Italian utility goods.
T.A.G. (Tom) Smith taught himself the deep-rooted art of intarsia as a teenager, slowly curating the craft into a unique celebration of the feathers and fowl he has loved just as long. Smith’s hanging wooden sculptures marry the natural artistry of wood grain with his own brand of inspired vision.
Genso and Asemi Co.—two Japanese enterprises connecting Bizen pottery with households worldwide—showcase the finest in traditional Japanese craftsmanship and the range of makers reimagining its centuries-old presence for the contemporary world.
Contemporary design innovation is at the heart of British luxury brand founder and creative director Tom Dixon’s vision. An industry maverick since the 1980s, Dixon’s furniture, lighting, and accessories aim to demonstrate the transformative nature of art in utilitarian contexts.
Whether it’s fine jewelry from Kabana or Kurtulan, knives and tools from Banshu Hamono or Messermeister, Kindrie Grove’s bronze sculptures or Nest Homeware’s cast iron kitchenware, the elk & HAMMER gallery hopes to offer an evocative, globally-informed collection that inspires presence and connection with shared stories of everyday life, through traditions dating back to humanity’s inception.