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Cabot Artisan Profile: Jason Morrissey

Cabot Artisan Profile: Jason Morrissey

Jason Morrissey is an artist who crafts the most breathtaking pattern welded Damascus steel, glass and other media. As an accomplished metalsmith Jason crafts unique raw material that we transform into grips and slides.

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When we first met Jason, we knew he was a kindred spirit for Cabot Guns. Like our team, he’s committed to excellence and outstanding creativity in his art. Also, like us, he honors the traditions of his field.

In fact, one of the first things that strikes you when you talk to Jason is the homage he pays to his teachers and the ancient lineage of his craft. Before he tells you about his work, he will tell you that he studied under the bladesmiths Don Fogg, Rick Dunkerley, Jim Crowell and Steve Schwarzer and metalsmiths Tim Mcreight , Peter Ross and Steven Yusko. He’s humble, though it’s worth pointing out that Jason has earned numerous awards and published extensively about his work. He’s highly sought after as an instructor in metalsmithing and glass blowing. In our opinion, Jason is the greatest artisan in the world in the field of creating unique breathtaking patterns in Damascus steel.

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Jason was born and raised in Vermont, earning a BFA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry from Maine College of art in 1998. He now lives on the coast of Maine in an environment he finds very suitable to his temperament and pursuit of unique artistic creations. His work has been published in 20 international books in the decade that followed.

He continues his studies, though, at craft schools like Haystack and New England school of Metalwork. Jason is in a league of his own in pattern welded steel and damascus. Jason describes himself by saying, “I’m always a student, continually trying to improve my skill set and apply my techniques to different objects.”

The Morrissey portfolio spans hammers, holloform and solid glass pieces, glass, jewelry, knives and marbles. As he puts it, “Making knives, hammers and other tools in such a permanent material is very rewarding. The fact that these objects have the potential to become artifacts is very appealing and rewarding.”

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His work has one continuous defining quality: they’re all absolutely stunning. His hammers feature the same type of damascus designs as we employ in Cabot pistols. His highly unusual collection of knives are comparably dazzling. He explains that studying and applying glass techniques has allowed him to visualize what’s going on inside the pieces of steel. His patterns are inspired by fossils, marine life, ancient writings and texts and otherworldly things.

Jason enjoyed the challenging of trying to place mosaic patterns strategically on the grips after they went through machining. “There were a lot of man hours grinding, cutting, fitting to make and achieve the crispness of these patterns.” He is grateful for the help he received from his shop mates at the Evergreen shop.

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Damascus steel was used for sword blades in the Near East dating back as far as the 3rd century. The origins are thought to be in India. A Damascus blade has distinctive patterns of banding and mottling which can look like a fluid design on the surface of the metal.

Named after Damascus, the capital city of Syria, Damascus swords were considered tough and shatter-resistant. Damascus steel is the stuff of legends, with ancient swords able to cut through a falling human hair or even a rifle barrel. Though modern steel alloys are stronger, Damascus blades were truly extraordinarily durable in their era.

The original method of producing damascus steel is not known. Today, the damascus technique involves welding together many thin layers of metal, usually from two or three distinct types of steel. The stack of metal strips is formed into a billet, or white-hot block of steel. The metalsmith then hammers the billet until it is flat and smooth. After polishing, the steel piece looks like any other flat, shiny piece of metal. However, under the surface lays a pattern caused by the layering of metals.

Using an acid etching process, the metalsmith can reveal the underlying pattern. The etching technique is up to the artisan. There are an infinite number of possibilities. This is where Morrissey’s training and talent comes through. In his work for Cabot Guns, Morrissey adapted techniques he learned in cane glass blowing and Millefiori to create beautiful patterns on the grips and slides of our 1911 gun.

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You can see more of Jason’s work on his Instgram page. In addition to glass and metal creations, the site shows Jason’s family, including he and his partner Aleks’ two French mastiffs, Fiona And Griffin. You can also see his “current favorite project,” their five-year-old daughter. Maggie Morrissey

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