On the Edge of a Knife

Janez is a master kite maker (and a top kite aerial photographer, and a fantastic kite flyer), but he also makes books (and skateboards, and schnapps, and sauerkraut, and is an accomplished cook and whatnot, but that’s for another story). He does not make knives (though this might change).

Lenart is a blacksmith. He makes knives. He does not make books.

So when Janez wanted to make himself a knife, and Lenart wanted to make a book, it was a match made in heaven.

We wrapped up our nice KAP session on Planina polje, finished our beer (courtesy of firemen!), and went to Dolenja vas near Cerknica, so we could see with our own eyes what a modern blacksmith looks like. And we got more than we bargained for.

The place itself is listed on the Register of cultural heritage of Slovenia; some old cadastral maps show that there was a sawmill in the 18th century. The extant building is from 1832; together with the sawmill it was sold to Unterweger brothers in 1893 and it housed the first pine oil factory in these lands.

After WWII the property was nationalised, but the oil distillery operated until 1985.

Just across the Cerkniščica stream an old church of St. Lawrence guards the edge of lake Cerknica. A late 16th century edifice is surrounded by a wall that suggests it was used as a refuge during the Ottoman invasions.

Later the property came into the hands of the Perko family. The most well known, even famous Perko was painter Lojze (whom we mentioned in the story about WWII bomber in lake Cerknica) – and now his grandson Lenart is following in closely in his steps.

Lenart trained to become a stonemason, but when he discovered that he could make his own steel tools, he turned into blacksmithing. He’s been making knives and stonemasonry tools for ten years now, and in 2017 he started to teach people how to make one. By his own admission he has hammered over 1600 knives – the most famous being the “Human bone knife” with a handle made of his friend’s … femur. How’s that for internet points!

Anyway, you want to make yourself a knife?

Foto Lenart Perko

Well, this beautiful book (of course it’s beautiful when Janez designed it!) won’t help you unless you speak Slovenian. At least for now you will have to join a forging course led by master Lenart himself.

Foto Luka Klarič

And if you just want to spend the night in this magical place, Emberborn has a barn – Emberbarn, of course – where you can sleep … for free. We know, hard to believe, but true nonetheless. The Emberbarn campsite, as Lenart says, is not really a camp. It’s a refuge for wanderers.

The KAP session was tricky – terribly so, even … the winds came from the west all tussled and disheveled, and the Old Blue rokkaku could barely hang up there. The tall trees observed the kite with hungry eyes, and the whole affair was quite stressful.

As Janez said, it was flying on the edge of a knife.

Kite aerial photos shot with Insta360 on the Old Blue rokkaku.

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