It’s been a couple of months since my last post – no, I haven’t given up on the blog, things have just slowed down to the point where I thought I would wait until I had few interesting titbits to post rather than multiple small posts.
Around the time of my last post was also the time of the last show (for us) of the 2013 season. Largs came and went and was excellent fun, a friend and suited up in full 13th century gear, got right next to the crowd (yes we were being show offs, tarts and any number of other derogatory words) and beat seven bells out of each other! Two handed and hand-and-a-half swords everywhere and lots of huge meaty thwacks! Great Fun! 😀
However, being on the Viking’s side, I was the bad guy and so ultimately I allowed myself to die horribly right next to the ropes. As it was, after a few minutes of giant ringing blows on helmets, shields and bodies I was finished with damn fine shot to the guts followed by a sword through the eye (note to my mother: this wasn’t real and I still have two eyes). As the crowd cheered, gasped and son on I collapsed to the floor scream and lay twitching, trying my best to give and accurate rendition of what happens when you drive 8 inches of steel into the centre of the human nervous system. Apparently it worked as quite a few of the crowed were concerned that I was still twitching after a few minutes. After the battle there was the usual awesome fireworks display and a great time was had by all!
Recently my crafting speed has slowed somewhat due to the weather (outdoor shed + cold weather = not much work gets done) but I have not stopped completely. I have further added to my collection of Roman artefacts by turning a spindle shaft on the lathe and making some decorated weaving tablets.
The tablet on the left is based on a find from Maastricht and the one on the right on a find from Alcester.
This spindle is based on a find from London.
I have also been looking into turning a range of Roman hairpins and some bone hinges as I would rather like to make small box complete with a fully working hinge.
Early Medieval Artefacts
Only a few new Viking and Saxon items have been made recently. I have acquired a rather large pile of research material and am still working through it, so I have spent a lot more time researching things to make than I have actually making them! Among the various plain needles and pins though is one particular item I rather like – a decorated bone lucet from London. Lucets are known throughout the Saxon and Viking world (see previous post) and are an awful lot more authentic and accurate for the period than the so called “trollen” wheels (also see previous post 🙂 ) but you see hardly any accurate ones around, just wooden “Y” shaped lucets (which are much later). So, with this in mind I decided to make a proper bone lucet and as the example from London is nicely decorated I used that as the inspiration. The decoration in the original was also coloured with a red/orange pigment, so for this example an appropriate looking paint was used, but it does offer an interesting opportunity to experiment with various period paints recipes (I am thinking possibly something involving ochre and egg).
Late Saxon decorated lucet from London.
Expanding the display for next year
While my collection of artefacts to display to the public is coming along quite nicely, I think the setup as a whole needs some rearranging. After looking at what our society is attempting to portray and what we actually show the public, I have decided we are going about it the wrong way.
Due to necessity we all operate out of tents – after all we couldn’t very easily transport an entire village of real buildings with us. However, within each of those tents you have women spinning and weaving, people like myself performing various crafts and so on. The implication there is that we are actually doing what we would normally be doing on a day to day basis in a settlement. Loose ideas like we represent the encampment of an army and such are thrown around but they are not really accurate – why would an army camp have posh women spinning, a man making bone pins and someone else illustrating illuminated manuscripts? My take on it is more that we are demonstrating day to day but in tents not houses, therefore I am going to try and make my entire display represent the inside of a workshop as you would see it when walking down the street in Hamwic, Jorvik etc.
This means I need some proper work benches and accompanying gubbins such as a bow lathe and accurate vices. If possible I am also going to try and make a few appropriate props to make it feel more like a settled workshop – a couple of things to lay on the ground that look like the tops of bone soaking or waste pits and so on. I used to make small ones for wargaming that looked like deep pits and craters on a flat tabletop, so I just need to expand the idea somewhat to make it look like deep bone filled pits on flat grass! Hopefully by the start of next season I should be able to put on a display that really shows the inside of a Early Medieval boneworker’s workshop but inside a tent rather than a building. The next step would then be a collapsible wooden building and a van to carry it in! 🙂
The last thing I have been working on, and the one that seems to take up the most time is getting a bigger online presence. So far this has entailed making a Facebook page for Halldor’s Boneworking (https://www.facebook.com/hmBoneworking) and putting together a website (still under construction). Both of these will showcase the various items that I make, all handily separated in various periods and types.
Hopefully my next post will be sooner than two months,