Hoffmann & Piper
There are two of us, Ralf Hoffmann and Sabine Piper and together we have worked under the name Ralf Hoffmann since 2001. Ralf from trade is a goldsmith but started working with Japanese metal work and Netsuke carving in the early 80´s and in 1995 learnt the basic damascus forging techniques. Sabine worked as a designer from 1983 - 2000 and in 1996-2000 began experimenting with different materials such as wood, stone, metal and wax. Her next steps were damascus forging and the basics of goldsmithing.
We have lived together for more than 20 years and have had the same inspirations, desires and passions for art and sculpture. Nearly one person in two bodies and this is seen in the product of our work. Since childhood Ralf has been possessed by knives and swords and since then every material that he has had in his hands he has formed into a knife. And later he infected Sabine with this obsession.
Our hometown Hamburg in Germany is influenced by its harbour and the North Sea. Fishes, whales, mermaids, jellyfish and all the oceans creatures have been a part of our childhood and today they are still a part of our daily life in reality and in our knives. These water creatures we have called - Maritime Wesen - and usually we mould one of these creatures with a blade. It is a kind of a metamorphosis the knifes go through. The knife is alive in your hand and depending on the imagination of oneself it is a knife with a fish handle or a fish with a blade like tail or maybe even something in between, a new species. We call them - Acrimorphosen. Our creatures are always viewed in a different light. A lovely fish could also be seen as a killer. Or a beautiful mermaid, is she really so innocent´ We try to open one´s eyes to notice Jellyfish, insects and amphibians, creatures that usually go unnoticed and to reveal their beauty. This beauty we express with the elegance, slimness and lightness of our knives.
Every knife we make is a one of a kind. Sometimes themes and motives we will be considered again, but then in different forms, sizes, materials and crafted by using different techniques. It is important for us to be exceptional in all techniques, especially big silver casting. When forging our damascus blades for each theme or motive we develop a corresponding pattern. The fascination of materials and different techniques is a very important part of our work which we try to combine more and more into our knives. Forging, carving with scrimshaw, woodwork and leatherwork, engraving and stone setting, goldsmithing and many other techniques are used in our work. We have had times when we favored certain materials; a few years ago it was boxwood, ivory and silver. Recently we have been using materials that are not so typical for our line of work like acrylic instead of ivory, or stainless steel instead of silver and bronze. We have found that the contrast between damascus and stainless steel or acrylic is more functional and technically more present.
2001 ´ Best Art Knife ´ Knifemaker Show - Klingenmuseum Solingen
2003 ´ Best Fantasy Knife ´ Knifemaker Show - Klingenmuseum Solingen
2005 - Best Fantasy Knife ´ Knifemaker Show - Klingenmuseum Solingen
2007 ´ Best of Show Knife ´ Knifemaker Show - Klingenmuseum Solingen
Hoffmann & Piper