I’m sorry to report that Gorden Kirschenmann passed away May 18, 2016 at midnight.
The Purple Easel Gallery’s artist and author of the month is Gorden Kirschenmann a former Lemhi County rancher who “retired” about ten years ago and now has his knife shop at North Fork. Gorden specializes in custom one-of-a-kind steak and carving knife sets. He also uses his artistic talent to design and make custom trophy award displays, usually centered round a custom knife with special carving and/or engraving. He says that there is a misconception about what knives can be used for: not only to cut stuff; but also, for awards and trophies!
Gorden’s latest creation, after almost 3 years in the making, is currently on display at his shop. This set of 10 individual trophies highlights a custom knife on a wooden stand showcasing each of the rodeo events. A large painting of all these events, on a piece of rawhide, is also part of the offering as well as a framed poem of Baxter Black’s “LEGACY OF THE RODEO MAN.” Gorden will try to market these trophies to a big time rodeo promoter to be given as awards instead of, or in addition to, the usual belt buckles.
About five years ago Gorden started making knives as a hobby to give them away for Christmas presents. However, as usually happens, this hobby evolved into a business. He says that he awakens in the middle of the night trying to decide what to make next!
Gorden is a farm boy raised as a 4th generation rancher on the family farm in the Central Valley of California. His family helped to pioneer the potato industry in that area in the 1920’s. Gorden’s great grandfather was the first Kirschenmann to immigrate to America through Ellis Island in 1874.
Gorden was senior class president at Shafter High School and excelled in baseball, football, and the FFA. He showed cattle at various fairs throughout California from the third grade through junior in high school. In 1962 he was awarded the Degree of State Farmer in the Future Farmers of America.
Gorden earned a degree in Farm Management from Cal-Poly in 1967 and also played football for two years. After graduating from college he taught Vo-Ag and metal shop classes for two years along with coaching football at Parlier High School. For two years after that he was employed as a farm loan officer with the U.S.D.A. From 1972 to 1980 Gorden lived in Reno and was a real estate appraiser in Nevada and eastern California and says that he has appraised every kind of real estate there is – except a wh_ _ _ house.
In 1980 Gorden purchased his ranch on Bohannon Creek and ran it until 2000. During those years he served on the county planning and zoning commission, Gem community committee, and the offices of the Lemhi Cattle and Horse Growers Association.
In 2001 Gorden moved to Ririe, Idaho to start his “retirement.” After becoming bored, he started making knives and also authored two books which are now available: copies of which can be seen at the Gallery. These books are a small “thank you” to God for all He has done throughout Gorden’s life! Gorden also writes a weekly blog about various Biblical subjects and has published Kindle Books which can be accessed at his website meatofscripture.com and at Amazon.
In 2008 Gorden decided to return to Lemhi County – back to one of the greatest places left to live! Some of his knives can be seen at the Gallery and many more are on display at his shop 3 miles north of North Fork, Idaho on Hwy 93.