Kimberly Mitchell, known as The Bladed Broad, showed up on my social media radar while I was researching and window shopping for hunting blades. Instagram suggested that I follow her, and at that time she was focused on blade throwing (later that slowly morphed to blade making).
After following Kimberly for months, I saw her gradually moving in the direction of being a blade maker. It was then that I decided to leave my lurking zone and ask if I could commission her to make my blade. To my surprise, she responded and said yes; I had not expected her to reply at all.
Beyond just making a custom blade for my personal use, Kimberly also humbly agreed to share the story of her first commissioned blade. In doing so, she also told me her history of how she cultivated her skillset and became a growing name in a male-dominated industry.
Let us start with your name, “The Bladed Broad” – how did it develop?
I wish I had an amazing story to share about my name, but I don’t. I was just trying to come up with a name and I thought “The Bladed Broad.” I researched the term broad and wanted to make sure I was using the right term to describe myself. There are a wide array of terms for broad. I felt it fit me, and so I went with it. There were a few people in my life that did not care for the name, but I don’t need their approval. I do want to make myself happy. As soon as I changed my Instagram account from my personal name to The Bladed Broad, instantly magic happened. It felt meant to be. Now that I have some success, those people that disagreed with my choice are no longer bothered by my name.
“The Bladed Broad” definition:
The bladed woman covers a large number and wide scope of subject and areas. A combination of definitions complementary to a Google search.
What led you to throwing knives?
Eight years ago, my family moved to Globe, AZ. I needed stress relief and remembered how much I enjoyed throwing knives in the backyard with my husband. I do not know why I was drawn to knife throwing; it just felt right. I basically found a stump in my yard and started throwing knives at it.
Let me tell you, I was not good at knife throwing, but I had the spark. So, I started researching and watching other knife throwers on YouTube, and even at some local competitions. Initially I was clueless to the intense nature of the knife-throwing community. I focused on different techniques and combinations with knives, axes and tomahawks. I went all in without a clue as to what I was doing, practiced daily (sometimes hours on end) and one day decided to just compete. That was back in 2018.
In 2018 Kimberly took 1st place at the Las Vegas, NV “amateur Knife Throwing” competition and 3rd place in the “amateur No Spin”. She was on a steady pace to compete in 2019, but competitions were halted due to COVID-19.
How did you transition from knife throwing to blade making?
We have lived in our home for about 8 years now and have always had a workshop, but it was originally used as a storage space. My husband is an electrician by trade and housed his power tools (which I never used) there. The kickstart into blade making resulted from my knife throwing, YouTube Channel and becoming a competitor. I received and promoted knives, and it occurred to me that I never really saw any knife or axe jewelry. That was the spark and the moment I entered what is now my workshop, on a whim, and experimented with the power tools that we had on hand.
Naturally, I turned to YouTube to show me how to use the tools we had and to learn what was needed to make the blades. I had so much fun creating bladed and other ornamental items, and have had such positive responses to them from the knife community. My jewelry is mainly sold locally at a shop in Globe, AZ, called The Knotty Fox, or on my website, The Bladed Broad.
With my experience in making jewelry to sell, as well as the support of my friends in the knife throwing community, I decided it was time to try creating blades. I received a set of various knife blanks from my dear friend Bill Page, of BP Knives. I used one of these and created “The Little Prick,” which became the first knife I ever sold. In fact, it sold before I even finished the knife, thanks to Instagram. I posted a few pictures of my process and was contacted by a gentleman who purchased my first knife.
My first commissioned blade was your (Sharenda’s) blade. I remember the day you contacted, and I HAD to say yes, it was a no brainer for me. To have my very first commissioned knife made for a woman, and one that hunts. I remember telling myself that I MUST do this for her. I wanted your blade to be perfect and wanted you to be happy with it.
I was so nervous; I recall asking you what you wanted and suggesting that I had some ideas. You responded by telling me that your focus was harvesting and skinning, and you wanted it (the knife) to be feminine yet sharp. Furthermore, you stated that I was the artist, so I should design a knife that I envisioned you should have. It was so liberating.
One of the things I struggle with is people will ask me to make them a knife based on a list of their criteria. I went into this skill thinking I could make knives as I see fit, and if people wanted them, they would purchase the knives. But, when creating commissioned work, I always wonder if I will be able to create what they envisioned. I am so glad you allowed me the freedom to be creative; this was the project that I wanted.
What are your goals and recommendations for anyone looking to learn the art of knife throwing and blade making?
So, one of my goals is to get more women involved with carrying knives. I also want them to understand the great tools that knives are, and why you should have one with you daily. I would love to motivate and see more women throwing knives and competing in blade and ax throwing. The advice I have is to start with YouTube and watch videos of knife throwers and blade makers. You need to see the process and refer to books; I have several books that I refer to and use for research. You need to study the process, and practice, practice, practice. Visit competitions … compete. But most importantly, just start.