"A k-n-i-f-e-m-a-k-e-r ?? ...A k-n-i-f-e m-m-a-k-e-r?? Susie, now you've really gone and done it! How does a man make a living as a knifemaker?" asked my late Mother over the phone from North Carolina to Albuquerque.
"Well, he makes these incredibly expensive folding pocket knives, and sells them to knife dealers and at shows." I said with conviction.
To her dying day, (Bob's Mother also) I don't think my Mother ever could get her head around what Bob Terzuola does pretty much 7 days a week...week after week, all year long. He is so passionate about knifemaking and I just couldn't get that across to her. My brother asked Bob if he had "samples" like fabric swatches of his knives he showed people. Bob's mouth dropped open when my dear brother asked him this.
I grew up hearing Bob's name called by my mother: "Bob! Oh Bob!" (my father) she would call. She too was Susan. So here we are another generation of Susan and Bob. My brother finds this hysterically funny.
Robert G. Terzuola was born in Brooklyn to Josephine and Frank Terzuola. He lived in a 3 story house with 4 families, all relatives. "7 cousins in one house"... Bob always says. For me, a wasp with one sibling who was brought up in an upper middle class neighborhood...7 cousins! Sounds like a blast, doesn't it! Bob tells stories of midnight home made pizzas for everyone, and his grandfather's victory garden, and the "jug" of home made wine under the table at meals. New York Brooklyn Italian to the bone he is.
Bob and I were introduced by mutual friends in January of 2002. Our lives had been shaken by 9/11, and we were both trying to make sense of a world so changed in our lifetimes. I had just moved to New Mexico. We went to The Range for brunch with these friends. When Bob walked in the door and saw me. What was the first thing he said? "There's been a mistake! She's too beautiful to go out with me." Well, I went to brunch. He only had 2 hours, as he was very busy. After two hours he wanted more. The rest I'll tell you later.
At the end of the "set up" (as Bob calls it) he gave me his business card. It had a dragon on the front with "Nunquam Secundum" written on it. I am a sucker for Latin, as I had 4 years in school. It's means "second to none." For some reason I flipped the card over, and it had this written on it: "INTEGRITY is being good, even if no one is watching." Hmmm...this was an interesting man, I thought. On our second date I met him at his shop. What a shop it was! I got to see pieces of knives (as most do when visiting, cause he ships them the moment they are finished), and the scope of this man's machining abilities. That was 8 years ago.
I thought I would start there as I open this window into our lives. Bob pretty much started the folding tactical knife craze we know today. He started out making fixed blades, and soon realized if he was going to earn a living he had better figure out how to fold those knives to use and carry. He did. Because of his knife making, I got to meet all the wonderful and interesting people and personalities of the knife world.
When I saw the knife scraps of exotic materials I immediately thought of jewelry. I hadn't made jewelry in over 20 years, mostly because when I got out of school I didn't have the tools. I understood working with your hands to earn a living. I had done that as a printmaker and farmer back in Illinois. Bob and I love making things together. It would be 7 years after that initial meeting that I would make my first piece of jewelry in Bob's shop. When we moved to our new house, and Bob set up his shop there was an empty bay. That's been filled by my new workbench that I designed with Bob's blessings. He has helped me when my design ideas far out reached my abilites. Thanks Honey!
So another blog, oh boy, does the world need one? I am nervous to press the "publish" button, as I am not a "writer." It's a bit like when I stood in a little plane looking down with a parachute on my back tethered to a man I had only just met. I'm stepping off now with faith that my chute will open and it will be a glorious ride.
Thanks for stopping by,
My "Knife Wife" graphic was drawn by a very talented young woman, Lydia Roberts. She is graduating from SVA in NYC this spring. She is a graphic novelist, and designs tattoos also. Some of you have met her at the New York Custom Knife show. I hope she can be with us this year so you can see more of her amazing work. Thanks "L2", your art rocks my world!