Swordsmith and Weaponsmith Extraordinaire
historical fencing community and the world suffered a tragic and
untimely loss this week in the death of Paul Champagne. Despite his
fitness and general good health he passed away of a heart attack at the
age of just 45. A life much too short.
When I first
met him it was hard not to be impressed at the breadth of his
knowledge, his ease at expressing complex matters in eloquent ways, and
at the depth of his presentation: he lectured by showing first a
container of simple iron ore that he had smelted himself, next a bar of
simple steel he had hand forged from it, and finally presenting a fine
finished blade that he had carefully shaped and polished into a
gleaming wondrous instrument --- the prized tool of my trade and very
object of my own lifelong pursuit of excellence. He was a kindred
spirit and for me, as a swordsman, a natural counterpart. Ours was a
natural symbiosis. I was proud to have been able to enrich his art by
sharing my own knowledge with him in turn. Yet I perhaps learned
more about metal and the making of blades from him than from all other
Paul Champagne was to me an ever-impressive example of how a lost art could indeed be reclaimed by those with dedication and talent --- if it was pursued for the right reasons with sincerity, integrity, and passion. I deeply regret the unfulfilled projects and unfinished plans he and I will now never complete. Though he leaves a legacy in his work, sadly, he was only able to share a tiny fraction of his accumulated wisdom. His impact is not nearly what it might have become, even if he never sought such renown.
Paul was a private man with no real interest in selling swords or arms as a commercial venture or even in promoting his expertise, but rather only in rediscovering and reviving the forgotten art and technology that went into historic weapons. Sadly, the forgotten craft in which he spent a lifetime working to recover now suffers another blow in the knowledge he takes with him that once more will be lost.
behalf of all of ARMA and myself, we offer our sincerest condolences to
his widow and family. It is with great sadness I mourn his passing.
April 16, 2009
tribute, the ARMA presents two podcast interviews with Paul from 2006
that have not been available previously to the general
public. We also ask that readers view here the only online
interview that he granted.
Back to Main
Podcast interview part 1
Podcast interview part 2
2006 ARMA Interview
Paul's final appearance discussing the craft he was so dedicated to can be found in the documentary film, Reclaiming the Blade.