Back to Features

Culinary artist Mareko Maumasi to open studio in Olympia

Bladesmith won two awards at Seattle International Knife Show

Mareko Maumasi's knives win awards. Courtesy photo

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

Culinary artist and bladesmith Mareko Maumasi recently attended the Seattle International Knife Show. His 222-mm Babbling Brook Damascus Chef's Knife with Thuya Burl Western Handle swooped up two awards out of five categories - Best Chef's and People's Choice. This was Maumasi's first trade show.

"To win those awards was a shock - because I'm the new kid on the block," said Maumasi, 29. "I've got a good résumé, but the guys in these juried categories - these guys have been doing it 20 to 30 years, and their knives cost twice as much. It's really humbling."

Maumasi said he was fortunate to talk to the judges about his win. The feedback all points to his distinct handle design, which is shaped from wood that has been stabilized, meaning it has been put into a vacuum chamber to release the air, then coated in acrylic resin, providing a water-resistant, durable, high-gloss shine.

And while beauty is a result of the process, Maumasi explains that there are two design features that set his knives apart. He also says his design is an evolution of the chef's knife, which has maintained virtually the same shape for hundreds of years.

"One of two major design features of my knife handle is that the bolster is set at a high angle to give a chef support and comfort when holding the knife in the pinch grip," he said. "That area is brought up to help support that technique, but is also comfortable for a non-pinch grip. The other design feature is the belly area of the knife, which is typically in the middle of the handle, is moved in closer to the pinch grip, so the belly is still in your hand. That also aids in keeping it comfortable, so you don't have to grip hard. With the qualities I've tried to attribute ergonomically, you'll never need to set it down because it's uncomfortable."

Currently working out of Studio 4 Forging Facility in Seattle, Maumasi hopes to take his brand, Maumasi Fire Arts, to the next stage by opening a studio in Olympia, where he and his fiancée live.

Maumasi envisions the studio, which is a work in progress, as a community hub for fire-workers across all arts, including welding, metal sculpture, ceramics, glass, blacksmithing and of course, bladesmithing. He also hopes to incorporate teaching and workshops.

"It's my belief that our most valued and cherished possessions are the unique treasures that are handed down to us through the generations," Maumasi said. "These heirlooms are distinguished not only by the thoughtfulness and care invested in them by their maker, but by every person whose life they've passed through. It is my passionate pursuit to create just such items to be valued, cared for and passed down through time."

Maumasi has started an Indiegogo account to help fund the costs of opening Maumasi Fire Arts studio.

For more information, to purchase a knife or to help fund the campaign (perks includes custom blades and lessons) visit

comments powered by Disqus