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Premier William Henry Dealer: Renee Taylor Gallery

By Renee Taylor August 24, 2019

“Hey everyone, we’re super excited to tell you about some knives we are going to be carrying”

  • Summer of 2017

I still laugh thinking about the reaction with our staff during that meeting.  They had no idea what I was talking about or what in the world was waiting for them.  Over the past 20 years, we have built up a pretty diverse collection of artists and jewelers who all bring something different to the table.  If you had told me sometime in the prior 18 years that I would somehow end up becoming addicted to collecting knives, I would have looked at you as strangely as the rest of the staff that day.

In short order, most of them owned at least one knife for themselves as well.  Once in a great while, you come across something so unique, so well made, and so dang cool that you can’t help but fall in love with it

Renee Taylor Gallery Sedona, Arizona

And then we went through the same process with the writing instruments, the money clips, and then the jewelry.  All of it has such a broad range of materials and techniques that you can’t help but start up a conversation with complete strangers while holding it.  Whether around a camp fire, signing a piece of paperwork, or pulling out your credit card and cash to buy something, people stop and ask what you have in your hand more than you would think.

But it’s worse than that…you become a walking, talking ad for the craft.  Not because you want to sell it, but because it’s a borderline love affair.  Every piece has so many stories, so many things to consider.  Every time you think you have a handle on it, William Henry invents something else and it starts all over again.

It’s impossible for me to define my favorite piece, although I’ve been carrying a B12-Flagstaff knife for almost two years now and have tried my best to destroy it through everyday use.  The only way you would know it’s so heavily used is the patina on the edges where the handle meets the leather case.  Holster wear essentially.  Everyday use is going to do that, and I like it that way more than when I bought it.  It's always fun to be out on a hike somewhere and open up the knife to take care of something and someone with me does a double-take and asks about the knife.   

Our customers (aka fellow addicts) tend to feel the same way.  Once you get a sense of all the individual craftspeople involved in every single component, the precision in the execution, and the impact of it all together you find it hard to choose just one.

We’ve run into a ton of collectors since carrying the line; I can only imagine the ways they store and display them

One of the coolest things I’ve seen is two young boys come into the store with their parents.  The parents were looking for gifts for them for an upcoming holiday.  They were probably about 11 and 13 and were engrossed with the knives.  After dad distracted them for a bit, mom came up to us and went through the collection and picked out a few.  Dad came back, they traded places, and ended up settling on a couple of knives and discreetly purchasing them.  Those kids had to be thrilled to receive them.

The funniest thing that happens on a fairly regular basis is when the woman gets excited about collecting knives after seeing the collection and learning about all the artistry.  More than once, a husband, partner, whatever just stands there with their jaw open while she goes crazy over them and adopts one.  I’ve had to completely throw out all my preconceived notions of what a knife collector is and frame it for what they are, functional art collectors.

  • Renee Taylor Gallery - Sedona, Arizona