Local Artist Spotlight- Bryant creates beautifully handcrafted knives

Submitted photo: The JSB Bushcrafter. An all around great knife for wilderness and camp chores.

“For as long as I can remember I have always created some form of art. Playing guitar, drawing and painting. I just always felt the need to explore an artistic outlet. There is something very satisfying about creating something from nothing,” artist Justin Shane Bryant of JSB Outdoors Knife Co. said. JSB Outdoors Knife Co. is a small, LaBelle-based, artisan knife business, that specializes in functional yet beautifully crafted knives. Bryant has been crafting these knives for five years now.

“I wanted a better knife for my outings in the woods, and I couldn’t afford a lot of the top notch knives in the industry. Most knives priced for the common man were still poorly built with quality control issues. So, I started making my own and after some trial and error they started looking good and performing pretty well,” said Bryant.

A couple years later, Bryant’s hobby turned into a business. “I make knives from quality materials that are at home in the woods. They carve great, process game, and can even handle camp chores like splitting firewood in place of a hatchet.” He went on, “After years of bushcraft and camping I always found myself searching for a better knife. I wanted something a little less specialized in one area and more well-rounded to perform multiple tasks with ease. I wanted a tougher steel and a different bevel on the grind that would be more suited to what I use a knife for. Which is woodcrafting and preparing food. You’d be amazed at what all you can accomplish with just a knife on your hip. “

He has lived in LaBelle, with his family, for about a year and a half, “I love the down home nature of Labelle. All of my neighbors are nice people and the area is beautiful.”

Born in Fort Myers and raised in Cape Coral Bryant said, “Aside from working in construction I have pursued art in many different forms. My Father was a musician and my Mother very creative,” Bryant explained. “I have a degree in Oil and Acrylic painting and another one in Wildlife/Forestry Conservation. Learning more about nature is how I became intrigued with simple tools woodsmen have used for hundreds of years in the wilderness; knives in particular.”

His process begins with an idea, “I’ll draw out some designs on paper and then see how they translate to steel. Some are complete custom designs and others are my spin on knife patterns that have been around hundreds of years.” Bryant said that’s his favorite part of the process, “Taking an idea and bringing it to life. I draw a lot of inspiration from woodsmen of the past and present like George Washington Sears, Horace Kephart, and Dave Canterybury.”

He also finds motivation and inspiration from his family. His wife is also an artist, “She understands the process of creating better than anyone I know. She pushes me to be the best at what I do every day.”

“My artwork represents who I am and what I love to do, which is keeping things simple and spending time in the woods. Every knife I create carries with it a small piece of me. I hope people are still using them years from now,” Bryant said.

His personal philosophy, he said, is “Don’t be afraid to fail. If you don’t fail at something you can’t learn from it and grow in what you are doing. There is always something new to learn. Be optimistic and work hard.”

To any artist that are just starting out, Bryant says, “Be open minded, learn from people know more than you. Take bits of knowledge from multiple sources until you find your own path in the art world. And again, don’t be afraid to fail. Keep pushing through and you’ll find yourself with something you can be proud of.”

If you are interested in owning a JSB custom knife you can head over to www.jsboutdoorknifeco.com and browse the available knives section. If you have a dream knife in mind contact Bryant and he’ll work to bring it life.

Justin Bryant and his dog Lydia.

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