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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > Absinthe & Absinthiana > Absinthiana & Collectibles
Jaded Prole
For anyone not on the Absinthes.com mailing list, a great interview with Kirk here.

Kirk is a true renaissance man, a great craftsman, farmer, poet, and artist.
Provenance
QUOTE
provoking the fora


Someone had to.
Kirk
Eric's higher than a base player though.
Artemis
The offending Autocad rendering that started it:
Click to view attachment
I got paid well that day. I was supposed to be doing something else.
Kirk
And my feeble interpretation of it:

Zman
The pieces I have from Kirk are truly stunning, and are objects d'arte that I will cherish for many years. If we ever progress to offering a tasting room at Pacific Distillery, I plan on mounting them so all our visitors can see and marvel at them.
bobt
I enjoyed reading the interview. Kirk, thanks for the awesome contribution you make to the art universe.
Artemis
There's a version in French, which is strangely somewhat different, with more details, considering that presumably, the interview was conducted in English. Thanks for mentioning it, Prole - I'm not on anybody's list.
L'Assommoir
That was a great interview Kirk, thanks for doing it.
sbmac
Art. Green stuff supplied by Texas. That's art too.

IPB Image
Kirk
Here's the first, raw and unedited draft.
Kirk Burkett is a trained jeweler by trade sine 1975. His mentor was none other than Bruno Sabonas, descended from the House of Fabergé. Kirk has developed his skills in crafting a unique piece from scratch to almost perfection, finishing each separate steps (whether that be polishing enamel, soldering shanks, or setting stones) by himself. Many of his counterparts at Fabergé and Cartíer tend to specialize in one of these steps, rather than mastering them all.

Our company has been collaborating with Kirk since 2010, but many years before that he had started to work with our partner, David Nathan-Maister. Kirk Burkett creates unique absinthe accessories from scratch, using his own hands. The range of spoons and grilles is entirely made of Sterling silver. Take a look at his fantastic pieces in our absinthe spoon section.
Absinthes.net: When did you personally discover your love for refined silver artwork related to Absinthe? Helping out at a jeweler's creating heirloom pieces isn't quite the same as one might think.
It was an accident, the first piece was the “Artemis Grille“. I had joined an online forum called FeeVerte.net and wasted no time in provoking the fora there, many of whom had interesting avatars. Artemis was an early member and had helped to produce some of the translations of foggy preban minutia about absinthe, he mentioned that he always thought his avatar would make a good spoon design and posted a picture of his concept, it occured to me when I saw the picture that I could make this piece, so I did, the next day I posted a flat bed scan of the actual spoon and everyone thought it was photochop, it was great fun, I eventually modified it to a grille at the suggestion of Peter Schaf. After that I started actively trying to design a spoon or grille that could
Showcase my techniques of engraving and chasing and enhance the sullied reputation of absinthe.


Absinthes.net: Was this how David Nathan-Maister found out about you, and your talent then? How and when did he approach you with his idea to collaborate?
I approached David after he commented about my work to a friend. I had always admired his ability to catolog and present his collection so I decided to turn all my absinthe related work over to him, exclusively

Absinthes.net: When and how did you discover absinthe?
My best friend , Eric Przygocki is a bass player, in 2000 he was in Floyd VA with his band , Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets, Eric stayed at my house for a few days and had commented that my garden had all the herbs needed for absinthe and asked me if I’d ever tried it. Like most, I knew about it but had no idea what it might taste like. He found a small bar pitcher in the cabinet which he filled with ice and water, he then selected a couple of wine glasses and tossed a pinch of sugar into the bottom of each, from his bag he took two small bottles and poured a tiny dose of clandestine from Betty into one, a shot of Deva in the other and began to trickle water into the glass, we each drank, talked
and had an interesting time. To this day I’ve never had a better time drinking absinthe.



Absinthes.net: We know that you make each sterling silver piece on demand, meaning each one is unique. We'd love to know a bit more - what is the usual process of creating one of these beautiful spoons, for example, how long does it take you on average?

The original model takes anywhere from 15 to 30 hours to create, once I have the original I make a rubber mold of it, that takes about 2 hours, from the rubber mold I take wax models and build those models into a tree, the tree is encased or invested in plaster (called investment) and burned out in a kiln at 1350F, that takes about 18 hours, once the wax tree is burned out the invested flask is placed in a centrifuge and molten metal is spun into it, replacing the wax with silver. The rough casting is exactly that; rough, a surface layer of oxide coats the whole piece and penetrates to a certain depth, this oxide is ground away, removing all the detail and leaving a blank form in the desired shape, now the piece is carved and engraved with sharp, specialised engravers such as the liner, onglette, etc. After engraving and carving the piece is signed and dated, a semicolon then the persons name it is being made for, so the hallmark looks like this, in handwriting: .925 Burkett ’13: B. Wittel

Absinthes.net: Which item of this range is the most difficult one and why?

The Frenay Feuilles replica is by far the most difficult, it has to be a perfect reproduction so the removal of fire scale becomes a problem, large shiny areas are very difficult to create as opposed to a surface with a lot of engraved detail, each one has to be the same yet they are hand made and put through a process that would wither even the strongest implements.

Absinthes.net: Do you sit down with the deliberate aim to create a new original piece, or do you wait for inspiration to strike before even starting? Pan and Artemis seem to be inspired by ancient mythology and folklaw. Are there any particularly strong sources of inspiration you draw on?

People are my inspiration, each of my grilles were inspired by a real person, the Pan Grille is the face of Offjackbatemaster, he actually looks like that, the elephant is David, the wormwood leaf spoon and grille were inspired by the first time I saw the absinthium variant „Grasplatrigger“ I can’t just sit down and make a design, it’s a long process, usually starts with a late night vision, or inspiration, sometimes the idea hovers in my mind, below the radar, then one day if I’m lucky it will move from a nebulous thought to an actual image, if I rush out to my shop and start working on it at that moment it may come into being, if I wait too long the vision looks silly to me and I don’t make it, I have to strike when all things come together at the same time or I am too embarrased by the thought to do it later.

Absinthes.net: Though you're a jeweler by trade, making silverware is actually more of a hobby – your „real“ job however is equally fascinating: You grow wormwood in the mountains of Virginia! How did you come up with this idea?

Years ago I always grew a large garden but I eventually quit doing it, it was hard work, I was young and food was cheap, why work so hard? As time passed the food I could buy at the store got worse as it got more plentiful, I found it to be tasteless, and often heard it was dangerous, I was getting older and in poor condition so I decided to grow my own food for the excersise and the flavor, I grew all the herbs for absinthe for no reason at all, except they were interesting, I used them sparingly. When I discovered absinthe I was happy to find a use for all the herbs I’d been growing and throwing away, it seemed like a natural progression so I started offering them to distillers and perfumers. The herbs that can bought on the open market are sawdust, look like sawdust, smells like saw dust, always ground up, brown and dead, what I release looks like a bouquet of fresh flowers, it’s whole and very fragrant.

Absinthes.net: How big is your herb garden?
It’s a little over an acre, that’s about all I can till and weed by hand


Absinthes.net: You grow wormwood and most other herbs included in a typical absinthe recipe. What's your typical type of customer? Mainly absinthe distilleries within the US? Of course we're not asking you to reveal any secret information here.

My typical and largest customers are Distillers in the US, Rob Cassell at Philadelphia distilling, Cheryl Lins at Delaware Phoenix distillery and Juan Garza at Tutthilltown.

Absinthes.net: Thank you for taking the time to speak to us and to help us understand what makes these spoons so special and precious. We look forward to more years of collaborated work, and would like to say thank you on behalf of the whole team behind
Tibro
Kirk the Unedited is always what I most appreciate about him. Thank goodness he still exists.
Jaded Prole
Indeed!

Artemis
Just glancing at the text above, it pretty much matches the version published in French. I don't remember Juan being mentioned, but I've spoken to him a couple of times recently. The first time he was outside and complaining about the cold. The next time he talked about how they have to defrost the pipes coming into the distillery every day to get a flow going. He's not exactly accustomed to a northern clime harhar.gif
We can probably expect some absinthe from them at some point.
I started a thread about the interview at the French forum: http://www.museeabsinthe.com/forums/index....&hl=burkett
Kirk
On the way to New York he stopped here and I told them they need to buy silk long johns, he looked puzzled.
Hillbilly
Man! It would be real easy for me to feel outta place here among such extremely talented and vastly intelligent folk.


Lucky for me you all are also very amicable and down right neighborly as well.
Kirk
I got the impression you were holding back, your talent that is, at any rate, you got class hillbilly.
Artemis
But can he get banjo sounds out of that jug?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xg0S_LbWW7k

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qFwgzOxs0yM
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