I had no intentions of doing interviews on this blog spot, or really even anything close to it but when I heard Karis’s story I knew you guys had to hear it!
Karis Fisher is an 18 year old, all around badass. A girl I think we could all learn a lot from! Not just as makers and entrepreneurs, but most importantly as people. At her young age she’s already made more progress and crushed more goals than some of us have ever even come close too. Karis is a Journeyman Smith in the American Blade-smith Society. She is currently a senior in high school, but has already graduated from Trinity Valley Community College with an Associates Degree! Do y’all have any idea how difficulty that is to achieve? In the fall Karis will be attending Stephen F. Austin State University online, for her Bachelors in General Business, a very smart plan for anyone who wants to run their own enterprise.
So, naturally, when I recently had a chance to chat with Karis I wanted to get as much value out of the conversation as I could for you guys. Like I said earlier we can all learn a lot from her! Here’s what she had to say…
Q - How did you get into blade-smithing?
A - I've been around knives for about as long as I can remember. Whenever I was younger I would sit in the shop and watch my dad work. When I turned 10 I joined the ABS, and started working on my own knives. As I got older I put more time into it and decided I wanted to test for my JS stamp. In the past few years leading up to the test, and after passing, I've definitely started spending more time in the shop.
Q - What was your first knife you considered a success?
A - When I was about 12, I made a hunter that I took with me to the Blade Show in Atlanta. It was the first time anyone really outside my family had seen any of my work, I ended up taking an order that weekend for another hunter.
Q - Do you plan on making a career out of this?
A - I hope, I plan to go to college online so that I can stay home and work on my business, and hopefully build it into a successful career.
Q - What’s your favorite blade you’ve made?
A - My favorite blade I've made was a laddered w's Damascus pattern fighter, but really close to that would have to be my first slip joint. I really enjoyed working on the small folder, and trying to get all the small steps perfect so that the folder would work well.
Q - Do you catch a lot of shit for being a girl in largely male dominated area?
A - I personally haven't experienced anything but encouragement and support. In the last few years there has seemed to be more women taking up the trade, and I hope to see more women in the years to come.
Q - What's your biggest inspiration for the type of blades you make?
A - My biggest inspiration would have to be my dad, my style definitely reflects upon his work, due to the fact that he taught me to make knives.
Q - What’s your favorite steel to work with?
A - For a carbon steel blade I prefer to work with 5160, just because I've used it the most, and I'm most comfortable with it, but I'll work with most anything. I've only made two Damascusblades, but that's definitely something I hope to start getting into more.
Q - Do you have any words of wisdom for your peers if they are wanting to start their own business?
A - I always think of this quote when doing something I'm unsure about, "The things you regret most in life are the risks you didn't take." If you're wanting to start a business, go for it, because you don't want to live a life full of regret wondering how things would have turned out if you had taken a small chance, such as starting a business.
Q - What’s your five year plan?
A - In 5 years, I want to have a bachelor's degree, still be building knives full time, and if I don't have my master-smithstamp, be working on getting it.
Karis has a ways to go, she’s got a lot to learn but she will have plenty of time to do so! Someone like this, so driven and goal motivated, will surely go far! I’m excited to see where she will go from here! And who knows, maybe one day you’ll read her name next to some of the greats like Rick Hinderer or Kevin Smock !