Josh Koss Turning Out Medieval Armour
Kootenay Studio Arts (KSA) student Josh Koss is piecing together history in an effort to explore his passion for medieval armour.
Using ancient techniques mostly lost in time, Koss is using his training in the four-month Blacksmithing Program at KSA to forge replica helmets employed on the battlefields of Europe during the 15th Century. With hammer strokes and heat, the 25-year-old is using his formal arts education to fuel his fascination with the past.
“I’ve always been into knights and Vikings and medieval stuff,” says Koss, who is originally from Ottawa. “Ever since I was a kid, I would always get my mom to buy the plastic armour at Walmart. When I was 16, randomly browsing the internet looking up stuff about ninjas, I stumbled upon an article on how to make your own chainmail. Something just clicked in my brain: people actually make armour. I dove into it after that.”
Josh Koss with two of his medieval armour helmets in different stages of production. Using ancient techniques, the Kootenay Studio Arts student is discovering how metal work was carried out prior to sheet metal.
Koss is not the first KSA student to shape metal into replica armour, but his technique is something that hasn’t been tried at the Victoria Street Campus in Nelson.
Throughout history, armour production has been a vital tool of warfare. A labour intensive process, prior to sheet metal the sweat equity that went into outfitting soldiers was extensive. The exact methods used by medieval armourers are in question, but modern scholars have put together clues using a detailed examination of extant historical armour.
As part of his classwork, Koss researched a technique from the bucket makers of Bienno, Italy who have been forging deep steel vessels with water powered tools for hundreds of years. Using individual heavy plates of steel, Koss is using heat and the specially designed tools he created to hammer out his helmets.
“He’s taking it back a step because it’s hundreds of years old,” says KSA Blacksmithing Instructor Kevin Kratz. “It really gives everybody an idea how little things in metalworking have changed. It’s been exciting for everyone and we have all participated in it. It’s been educational.”
Read the entire story at selkirk.ca.