Support BladeForums! Paid memberships don't see ads! Yeah, it's definitely interesting to watch the large trend towards exotic materials (not entirely new, or problematic in itself) and what really seems to be a more significant trend of privileging artistic vision/design aesthetic over other considerations. In particular I'm thinking of the Elijah Isham designs being put out through a couple different companies. The whole time I just found myself thinking over and over how I needed a new plain jane Sebenza. So you know, here it is: I think the main thing that I've realized is that there's just a fundamental divide making itself evident in higher end production knives. There is the continuation of what CRK had always been about, which is centered on creating highly optimized, precise, minimalist cutting tools. The priorities and the aesthetic are driven by precision, addition is primarily by subtraction and refinement. Perfection is as someone said above, approached not by figuring out what to add but what to take away. Knives by designers like Gareth Bull and Ray Laconico seems to really lean in this direction as well, among others. You can do this sort of knife making and still be artistic, offer versions in exotic materials, etc (like CRK inlaid models, damasteel blades, etc), but the design itself is driven by the fact that it's a knife. The other trend seems to me to be centered on utilizing the same tools of modern manufacturing and precision to create unique artistic designs that are driven by different sorts of aesthetic visions. That these are knives is fundamentally secondary to them being works of art. They may be good knives, but the aesthetic is driven not by their "knifeness" but by the artistic/design vision of the artist/designer. The priorities and the aesthetic are driven by artistic vision and preestablished interests in design as such. Achieving the desired design features is primarily by addition and embellishment. Elijah Isham is really coming to prominence for how he's executing this sort of work, but many many other custom makers and production companies fall in line with this as well. Once I understood that we're really dealing with two very different things, two very different visions, in which aesthetics and design are playing very different roles, I think was better able to not get annoyed by some of the crazy designs out there. They just aren't trying, first and foremost, to be great knives, they are trying to be great pieces of art/design that are secondarily able to be used for cutting. Whereas CRK and other similar makers/companies are first and foremost trying to make highly optimized, precise cutting tools, and their artistry/aesthetics are developed on the basis of and in service to this end. Both are really fine things to do, but if you're looking for the same thing from both trends, you'll either be bored or annoyed. That kinda helped put it in perspective for me, at least. And I'm way more excited to have this plain jane, with the sterile siver hardware than any of the new and exciting art pieces. But that's just me. Interestingly I saw an Instagram comment from Elijah Isham the other day saying that he'd picked up one of the new production Yorkies by Ray Laconico. A small, sterile EDC flipper knife in blasted titanium and S35VN. He said it was in his pocket right then and that he considered it better that most of his own knives. A telling statement for sure, and one that illustrates the different trends well, I think. The fact that he could see that was pretty cool. Gave me more appreciation for what designers like him do. If I think of them as primarily art, I can enjoy them on that level. And I can enjoy my CRKs and other similar knives for what they fundamentally are: knives.