Today, I came across a shop that offers beautifully crafted kitchen knives. What I like about these cutting tools is that they are not overly pointed. The tip is fairly rounded and do not look scary.
Chelsea Miller personally creates and designs every piece in her shop from her studio in Brooklyn. A native of Vermont, Chelsea hails from a family of craftsmen who specialize in blacksmith and carpentry. The trade hasn’t interested her before, so she pursued a career as an actress in New York City. One day, thinking about gifting friends, she asked her brother to teach her how to make knives. From there, she discovered this passion for crafting knives and further honed her skill.
Initially, she only gifted her creations to friends but not very long, there came to be numerous requests and they’re willing to pay for them. In July 2012, Chelsea tried to sell her creations at the Brooklyn Flea, and it was a success. That’s when she decided to make the business official.
The high carbon steel blades are from discarded horseshoe rasps used by her farrier friends in Vermont. The grater-like etchings on these blades certainly added to the uniqueness of Chelsea’s knives. For the handles, she makes use of scrap wood chunks (Apple, Spalted Maple and Cherry) collected from her family’s North East Kingdom farm.
What are your top 3 favorites from your shop?
My top three favorites from my shop are the microplane cheese knife, the splayed maple chef knife and anything I’ve recently put up in the available now section. Everything in available now is a new design or an accident turned surprise. It’s always nice to be unsure when I start, where I’ll finish.
What do you do when you’re not creating items for your shop?
When I’m not physically in the shop I’m planning for the future, honing my message and thinking of ways to inspire people and broaden my impact in a humble, effective fashion. I love to cook with friends, and also eat out, most of my thoughts revolve around actualizing my dreams and eating delicious, nutritious food.
What do you love most about what you do?
What I love most is the creative freedom, I’ve set up my life so I can absorb as much inspiration as I can handle in a day and let it flow directly through me uninterrupted, I don’t have to wait for any outside approval, I just work.
Is there anything you dislike about it?
There isn’t anything I dislike about what I do, though I am always striving to grow and change because I do not want to be creating in the same way forever, the products can remain relatively the same but I can not.
What has been your biggest challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
By far my biggest challenge is predicting how long it will take me to fulfill orders, as an artist the process of making is a delicate one. Often the harder I work the less inspired the pieces are, or the pressure of completion ruins the process for me. I am working all the time to express this concept to customers so they never feel out of the loop. When I’ve had a write up in the New York Times or a good magazine I have had hundreds of orders over night, I can make one knife in a day but I certainly cannot make 100 knives in 100 days
Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration comes from everywhere, I have always loved living in New York City and Have been here since I was 19. I’m always interested in growth and find it happening to me and all around me.
Your message to customers and friends:
My knives are an invitation from me to connect you most in the present to what you’re cooking and who with. I hope that holding my knives will awaken questions about how things are made, where food and materials come from, the commitment of craftspeople and farmers and ultimately a greater absorption of minerals and memories through your food and the people around you.
Thank you so much Chelsea for this interview!
She has also made exclusive editions for online store Madesmith.