Kemal, pronounced key-mall, was a partnership between Murad Sayen and Don Fogg. We joined our creative energies so that I could focus on the Damascus blades and Murad could turn his artistry into handles. Murad was an oil painter and photographer before turning to knives and had been making hunting knives when we met. Our partnership lasted for nearly a decade and during that time we produced museum quality work. It was the synergy of our individual drive and vision that made it work.
The name Kemal is an Arabic word referring to the state of balance between the creative power of the sun (Jelal) and the receptive power of the moon (Jemal). It can be literally translated as "balanced" or "perfect." We chose this name for our business as a living ideal for the qualities that we tried to build into each knife.
For the first year we shared my home and shop and threw ourselves into the work. Murad move to Maine during the second year and we use to meet in Portland at a small cafe to show each other the work and plan for the coming pieces. The object was to make the other gasp and there were many occasions when it was impossible not to. There are times in our lives when it is apparent that we are in the right place at the right time and Kemal was definitely one of those times.
Our work had been well received and been featured on the covers of books and magazines over the years. I am offering a sampling of some of my favorite pieces in the thumbnails below. Click on the image for a larger picture and some details about the piece. We still collaborate on a commission basis only.