A Touch of Steel is the result of the 2014 Steel Prize competition organised by the German Kolloquium Nordrhein-Westfalen together with the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, Jewellery Design Department. The exhibition will showcase how the 22 selected students work with the medium of steel in a particularly refreshing and pioneering way. To give these young designers a context right from the start, the organisers brought in 27 German and Belgian designers and artists who regularly work in the medium of steel. The established designers and artists not only push the limits of the material, they also produce works which are the embodiment of pure craftsmanship
Antoine Van Loocke Belgium 1955
is one of a number of artists today who have turned to re-smithing knives with a real concern to reuse old knives and materials. As a self-taught person he has acquired, over the last 15 years, the art to make from conventional looking knives, knives which take their shape from functional old knives but with a twist in the use of the grip. His knives are a well-known object in haute cuisine and used by many top chefs in Belgium and abroad.
Metal Soul Van Loocke has singlehandedly revived the blacksmithing of -knives, especially old en reused knives. Despite his obsessive dialogue with a great diversity of materials for the grips of his knives, he has never lost sight of function. Combining and rearranging several shapes and colours of grips, he produced a wide range of household knives each unique in blade and handle. New grips are functionally made out of precious woods, special bones, composite materials and unknown or lost materials. Here the knife handle is made of rotten maple burl impregneted with PMMA (Plexiglas) under high pressure to become a high-tech composite with a natural base. the blade is a recuperated eroded table knife in carbon steel, first restyled by the stock removal technique, etched 'au bain marie' in acid to remove the rust, stabilized in chalk and handpolished as a final touch.