2017-11-08T17:30:00 Asgard Asgard http://www.asgard.scot help@asgard.scot 6 1 25 11 2017-11-08T17:30:00 2017-11-08T17:30:00 Is it Santa? Is it Odin? The Alternative Giftbringer <p>Hey guys,</p> <p>with less than two months till Christmas, today we want to talk a bit about the Viking god Odin, which some of you will recognise from our <a href="../shop/tattoo-design-clothing/t-shirts" target="_blank" rel="noopener">T-Shirts</a>, and how he might actually be related to the modern Santa Claus!</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/Monday.jpg" alt="" width="900" height="900" /></p> <p>Christmas and Vikings might not seem to have an immediate relation, but actually many Christmas traditions have their origins in the old Norse and Germanic cultures.</p> <p>You might already know that Christmas has its roots in the pagan celebration of Yule, the Midwinter Festival, celebrating the Winter Solstice. Traditions such as adorning the house with evergreens, decorating a tree, or the Yule-log all derived from the Nordic Yule fest.</p> <p>But did you know that even the figure of Santa Claus has been strongly influenced by Viking culture? Long before the figure of the modern Santa Claus became the bringer of gifts, Vikings had their own Father Christmas: the ruler of the gods, Odin.</p> <p>&nbsp;According to Norse mythology, Odin would lead the Wild Hunt across the world during the midwinter period, riding on his flying, eight-legged horse Sleipnir. Children would leave their boots by the fireplace, filled with straw and carrots for Sleipnir, and Odin would fill their boots with gifts in return. Over the centuries this has changed to leaving cookies and hanging stockings from the mantelpiece, but the traditions survived.</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/Best Odin Card.jpg" width="579" height="827" /></p> <p>Odin didn&rsquo;t have have a sled with reindeer, but these are actually a pretty new appearance anyway: before the 19th century, St Nicholas, the Christian figure behind modern Santa, would mostly be portrayed as riding a horse instead. And what better way to travel over the world than a flying horse like Sleipnir!</p> <p>Physical traits of Santa Claus also point towards Odin: he was commonly portrayed as an old, cloaked man with a long, white beard. Sounds familiar, doesn&rsquo;t it?</p> <p>So if you want to honour an alternative &ldquo;Santa&rdquo; this festive season, why not get one of our <a href="../item/AT004-TM-odin-design-mens-t-shirt" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Odin T-shirts</a>&nbsp;or send an <a href="../item/MERCH009-odin-greetings-card">Odin Greetings Card</a>? And we might show you something new for the end of Odin's week, so keep tuned!</p> <p>And check out&nbsp;Eric W. Brown's page for an amusing take on Odin and Santa:&nbsp;<a href="http://infolocata.com/mirovia/irrefutable-proof-that-santa-is-odin/">Irrefutable Proof that Santa is Odin</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;<a title="Odin T-Shirt" href="../item/AT004-TM-odin-design-mens-t-shirt" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/odintshirtwlogosmall.jpg" width="700" height="700" /></a></p> Chiara http://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/chiara help@asgsard.scot 10 2017-09-22T16:06:00 2017-09-22T16:06:00 Beards of Asgard Calendar Competition <h2 style="text-align: center;"><em><strong>Extended!&nbsp;</strong></em></h2> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><strong>We are trying something new at Asgard this year &ndash; Our very own Viking Beards Calendar!</strong></h2> <p style="text-align: center;">And we want your help!</p> <p style="text-align: center;">Fancy being one of Asgard&rsquo;s faces for 2018 and winning some cool prizes in the process? Have an awesome beard to show off, or maybe you&rsquo;re looking for a use for that crazy knitted beard hat you have lying around? Then send us a photo for the chance to represent one month in our 2018 Beards of Asgard Calendar!</p> <p style="text-align: center;">And it&rsquo;s for a good cause too! &pound;1 of each calendar will go to the <a href="https://uk.movember.com/?home">Movember Foundation</a>, which is working globally to tackle men&acute;s health problems, and another &pound;1 will go to Verity, which is supporting women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)&nbsp; &ndash; because women can have beards too!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Beards of Asgard/Beardsofasgardcompetition.png" alt="" width="476" height="525" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Prizes:</strong></p> <ul> <li>12 people will win</li> <li>Each will feature for one month for the calendar</li> <li>Each will receive 2 copies of the calendar</li> <li>11 will receive a voucher for our shop of &pound;25 **</li> <li>One overall winner will make it to the cover, and win a voucher for our shop of &pound;50 **</li> </ul> <p><strong>Rules:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Unlimited entries &ndash; but you will only be able to win with one photo</li> <li>Photo must be of yourself or you must have written permission to use it!</li> <li>Photo must be send to chiara@asgard.scot by <strong>15/10/2017 at 11:59 pm GMT (extended, originally 08/10/17)</strong></li> <li>We encourage you to share your entry on Social Media with the hashtag #beardsofasgard</li> <li>Photo needs to feature a beard: real, knitted, felted, make-up&hellip; That&rsquo;s up to you! Go crazy! The only thing we don&rsquo;t accept is a photoshoped-on beard!</li> <li>Photo should be Viking themed if possible &ndash; If you already own any of our jewellery, we would love to see it!</li> <li><strong>Format: </strong>Photo has to be in portrait format, and should ideally be A4 sized, with 300 ppi.</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;<strong>By participating, you consent to</strong>:</p> <ul> <li>Having your photo potentially shared on Asgard&rsquo;s Social Media channels (we will give credit to you)</li> <li>Having your photo used for promotional purposes by Asgard if you win</li> <li><strong>Winners will need to sign a release form for their photo. If they won&rsquo;t, the prize will go to someone else.</strong></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3 style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<strong>Share your entry online with #BeardsOfAsgard!</strong></h3> <p><strong><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/Beards of Asgard/Beard1small.jpg" alt="" width="548" height="548" /></strong></p> <p>*Asgard reserves the right to cancel the competition if not enough suitable entries are received.</p> <p>** No cash prize - Voucher only redeemable though our website</p> Chiara http://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/chiara help@asgsard.scot 9 2017-09-07T16:00:00 2017-09-07T16:00:00 Odin and the Runes T-Shirt - The Story behind the Design <p>Today we want to tell you a bit more about the story behind our newest T-shirt, Odin and the Runes:</p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/Odin and the Runes/odinrunes.jpg" alt="Odin and the Runes T-shirt Design" width="500" height="688" /></em></p> <p>In Norse mythology, it is told that Yggdrasil, the world-tree that holds all known nine worlds, grows out of the Well of Urd, often referred to as the Well of Destiny. In this well live three norns (Ur&eth;r, Ver&eth;andi, and Skuld), who carve the destiny of all people into the base of the tree. These carvings are the first account of the use of runes.</p> <p>According to the Old Norse poem <em>H&aacute;vam&aacute;l</em>, Odin, in his quest for more and more wisdom, comes across these norns and their runes, and sacrifices himself on the world-tree in order prove himself worthy of receiving the knowledge associated with the runes. After nine days and nights of teetering on the precipice of death, he is finally able to glimpse the runes in the depth of the well, and gain their wisdom and power.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Here is a translation of the poem:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>I know that I hung on a windswept tree.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Nine long nights.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Pierced with a spear, sacrificed to Odin, myself to myself.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>On that tree of which no man knows from where its roots run.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn, downwards I peered;</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>I took up the Runes, screaming I took them,</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Then I fell back from there.</em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Did you know there are several different types of runic alphabets? They were used to write various Germanic languages before the Latin alphabet became more widely adopted, and referred to as Futhark or Futhorc. The three best-known runic alphabets are the Elder Futhark, the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, and the Younger Futhark.</p> <p>Our own Asgard Futhark is inspired by all three alphabets, as we wanted to be able to express all letters of the English alphabet, and therefore had to create an adjusted version. Below you can see an overview of our futhark and the correspondent English letters:</p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/Odin and the Runes/Asgard Futhark_correct.jpg" alt="" width="401" height="569" /></p> <p>So if you want to pick a <a href="../shop/runes" target="_blank" rel="noopener">rune pendant</a>&nbsp;or <a href="../shop/rune-rings" target="_blank" rel="noopener">ring</a> with your initial, just find it on the chart. And there will be more jewellery with individual runes in our shop pretty soon, so stay tuned!</p> Chiara http://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/chiara help@asgsard.scot 7 2017-06-22T17:17:00 2017-06-22T17:17:00 Is this the largest Thor's Hammer we've ever made? Making a replica of the large pendant from the Hiddensee hoard. <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/hiddenseeeditsquarelogo2.JPG" alt="Viking gold at its most shiny." width="656" height="656" /></p> <p>We first saw the massive Hiddensee hoard pendants in 2013 at the Vikings exhibition in the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, and nothing can prepare you for seeing just how big these pieces of gold jewellery really are! Of course, we were already familiar with the hoard, and the style of pendant is well known from the Viking era, but these individual pieces are just so big, that they were instantly added to the list of designs we wanted to make.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The original hoard &ndash; not the best picture, but like all others, it doesn&rsquo;t do the scale of the pieces justice.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/20131009_132216.jpg" alt="The original Hiddensee Hoard, in Copenhagen in 2013" width="514" height="514" /></em></p> <p>The hoard was found on Hiddensee Island, which is now in Germany, in 1873. It dates from the 10<sup>th</sup> century, and given the size of the pieces, and quantity of gold involved, it may be supposed that it originally belonged to Danish royalty. The design of the main pieces is usually thought to represent a Thor&rsquo;s hammer design, but the 10<sup>th</sup> Century was the time when Scandinavia was converting to Christianity, so it may be that these designs were deliberately shaped to merge the hammer and cross designs together, in the same way that the two cultures were merging together &ndash; with the enthusiastic support of the rulers of the time.</p> <p>Full size replicas of the original hoard have been made before, of course, there is one in the local museum in Hiddensee, and one was exhibited with the Viking exhibition in the Canadian Museum of History in 2015. Like the original pieces these have been made of granulated gold, and follow the original in that they consist of 4 different designs, 5 if you include the spacer, in 2 different sizes.</p> <p>Having been so taken by the scale of these designs in Copenhagen, I first started with a smaller version of this pendant type, based on the dimensions, and style of a find from Coppergate, in York. This one was a Patrice, or former, made of lead alloy, and used for making the granulated finished items. Now, being something of a specialist in the legitimate Viking jewellery technique of false filligree, where a master is carved in imitation of the granulated style, a mould is made from this and then cast, that was how I made our original Jorvik Hiddensee pendant.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>My interpretation of the Coppergate Hiddensee style pendant. Gold plated, of course.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/IMG_2367.JPG" alt="The coppergate Hiddensee style pendant. Gold plated." width="414" height="414" /></em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Following this, and with the intention of completing the whole Hiddensee necklace, I made the spacer piece in 2016, again using that same method of carving the design, rather than full granulation. So, having tested out, and studied the designs, I then moved on to the larger pieces from the Hiddensee hoard in 2017.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The spacer piece from the Hiddensee Hoard</em><em>.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/IMG_1703.JPG" alt="The spacer from the Hiddensee Hoard. In pewter." width="356" height="356" /> </em></p> <p>&nbsp;The major challenge with this piece is keeping the proportions, and style of the original. Remember, these pieces were made using a former to create the base plate for the granulation, so all of the pieces the same size would be roughly the same shape, having been formed over the same Patrice. So the first step was to carefully draw out the design, and figure out the intricacies of the knotwork, before getting started on the carving itself.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The working drawing. Combining some of the features of original Hiddensee pendants.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/Scan_2017051701.jpg" alt="My original working drawing of the design." width="422" height="307" /></em></p> <p>Of course, the original method of manufacture means that no two pendants are exactly the same, so combining the features and quirks of several pieces was done at this stage of the process, all drawn at 2x the final size.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Carving the master. Using traditional tools and methods, in a modern material, to more accurately reproduce the design of the original.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/Screenshot (7).png" alt="Carving the master. Using traditional tools and techniques." width="423" height="282" /></em></p> <p>Once this was finished, and the moulds made, we are able to cast the design in pewter, which we quickly launched on our website, they are available here - http://www.asgard.scot/shop/pewter-viking-pendants-rings</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Back on the drawing board. The finished Hiddensee pendant next to the working drawing.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/2017-06-06 13.36.55.jpg" alt="From drawing board to finished design. " width="432" height="243" /></em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>But there is one thing left to do, to reproduce the scale of the original Hiddensee hoard: get them plated with gold! We were able to do very quickly, and so, here we have, a full size, gold plated replica of one of the larger pendant designs from the Hiddensee hoard.</p> <p>And this piece, or even a full necklace, is now available to buy here -&nbsp;<a href="../shop/viking-pendants">http://www.asgard.scot/shop/viking-pendants</a></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<em>The finished, gold plated Hiddensee necklace.</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/IMG_0162.JPG" alt="The finished Hiddensee necklace." width="676" height="380" /></em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>And this image demonstrates just how big it is!</em></p> <p><em><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/hiddenseeeditsquarelogo3.JPG" alt="All the shiny Viking gold." width="656" height="656" /></em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;</em></p> <p>So, after all that, and with full size replica&rsquo;s of the Hiddensee pendant design, the only thing to do now, is the other 3 hammer designs. But this one will still be the largest hammer we&rsquo;ve ever produced!</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>A gold necklace fit for a Valkyrie.</em></p> <p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="../images/library/hiddensee blog/hiddenseeeditsquarelogo4.JPG" alt="Jewellery fit for a Valkyrie." width="656" height="656" /></p> Jim http://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/jim help@asgsard.scot 4 2017-06-14T14:08:00 2017-06-14T14:08:00 JORVIK VIKING CENTRE GETS HELP FROM ASGARD <p style="text-align: left;">The grand reopening of the Jorvik Viking Centre in York, took place this year, on April 8<sup>th</sup> and Asgard are proud to have played a small part in the re-imagining of this world class display of Viking archaeology. We reproduced several Viking bone, antler, and metal objects&nbsp;from the Jorvik collection. Some will go on sale in the shop, and others will be used by staff to demonstrate the Viking way of life including an intricate, thousand year old, working padlock.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="//www.youtube.com/embed/W4biCtNyPDE" width="560" height="314" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></p> <p style="text-align: left;">The museum closed in December of 2015 after it was inundated by the flood waters from the River Foss. Since then a huge effort has taken place to raise over &pound;1.5 million and reimagine the museum ready for the reopening. It has been an enourmous effort involving many different contributors from across the world.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Jim taking detailed measurements at the York Archaeological Trust in August 2016.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/2016-07-15 11.31.31.jpg" alt="Jim taking detailed measurements at the York Archaeological Trust in August 2016." width="486" height="322" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Jim and the team agreed to recreate several artefacts, which had been uncovered in the original Coppergate excavations. Amongst the artefacts were antler objects including combs with their cases, &nbsp;&nbsp;hair pins, gaming pieces and a die. There are also bronze cloak pins, tweezers and a fake dirham &ndash; an imitation of an arabic coin. Real Dirhams would originally have made their way from the arabic world to York in the 9<sup>th</sup> century, where they were prized for their silver content. There are also many brooches, bracelets and rings that Asgard have painstakingly recreated, and will be sold in the Jorvik shop. Perhaps the most complex artefact they have recreated, is an ornate iron and bronze Viking padlock of the 10<sup>th</sup> century.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The workings of the reconstructed Coppergate padlock.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/padlockworkings.jpg" alt="The workings of the reconstructed Coppergate padlock." width="363" height="363" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Jim of Asgard recalls,</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>&nbsp;&ldquo;When we received the call from Jorvik Viking Center, I couldn&rsquo;t wait to get started. When you spend your life recreating Viking jewellery and artefacts, the chance to visit the Jorvik collection and handle the originals is incredible. I got to examine in minute detail all the objects that we were to reproduce, taking detailed measurements and drawings. We wanted to recreate these objects as they would have been when they were first crafted in Viking York over a thousand years ago.&rdquo;</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Getting up close with a Viking age antler comb.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/2016-07-15 12.01.31.jpg" alt="Getting up close with a Viking age antler comb." width="484" height="321" /></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Detailed pictures of the finds were taken, giving us more information than was previously available.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/2016-07-15 12.07.30-1.jpg" alt="Detailed pictures of the finds were taken, giving us more information than was previously available." width="484" height="294" /></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The Coppergate padlock, in all its rusted glory.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/2016-07-15 15.11.24.jpg" alt="The Coppergate padlock, in all its rusted glory." width="469" height="311" /></em></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Armed with these detailed records, Jim returned to his workshop and created models of the metal objects. Where corrosion had removed detail from the orginals, Jim used his extensive knowledge of Viking artefacts to interpret the missing details. The arabic writing on the fake dirham was a particular challenge, something that had even taxed the Viking craftsmen who produced the forgeries of the arabic originals. Jim;</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>&nbsp;&ldquo;There are examples of Viking forgeries of Dirhams where they obviously didn&rsquo;t understand the Arabic text they were copying. The Coppergate forgery would have been more convincing. We couldn&rsquo;t see the entirety of the script, so we had to reference other similar coins found in Britain. These are beautiful coins and we wanted to do them justice. &ldquo;</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Reproduction in pewter of the Coppergate Dirhem.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/jorvikdirham.jpg" alt="Reproduction in pewter of the Coppergate Dirhem." width="357" height="357" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;The real challenge was to replicate the incredible Viking padlock, that had suffered heavy corrosion in the ten centuries since its burial. Jim describes the challenge;</p> <p style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;<em>&ldquo;I needed to understand the construction both inside and out, in some ways the corrosion was a blessing that allowed us to peek into the inner structure. The original craftsman had used brazing techniques to, where they flooded the joints of the padlock with molten bronze. This would originally have been done using a charcoal hearth, to heat the metal to over 800 degrees centigrade, the temperature at which bronze would melt. We didn&rsquo;t have the time to recreate the original methods, and luckily I could use a modern blow torch to achieve a similar effect.&rdquo;</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Brazing the padlock in the workshop.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/fireypadlock.jpg" alt="Brazing the padlock in the workshop." width="388" height="388" /></em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Ring pins based on the Coppergate designs.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/ringpinssquare.jpg" alt="Ring pins based on the Coppergate designs." width="386" height="386" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The finished combs. Made of antler, these are now the best reproductions of Viking originals we have ever made.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/combs.jpg" alt="The finished combs. Made of antler, these are now the best reproductions of Viking originals we have ever made." width="389" height="389" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Most of the items that were made for the Jorvik Viking Centre by Asgard.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikblog/allthejorvik.jpg" alt="Most of the items that were made for the Jorvik Viking Centre by Asgard." width="391" height="391" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">All of these objects are now in their new home at the Jorvik Viking centre, which is now completely open again. The pewter brooches, bracelets, rings, and that Dirhem are also available to buy from the JVC shop, and here, on Asgard.scot.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">There is a lot more we could say about the invdidual techniques, some of which were quite experimental, that went into the making of the Coppergate reproductions. We're hoping to get to that in a future blog.&nbsp;</p> Jim http://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/jim help@asgsard.scot 3 2017-06-13T14:41:00 2017-06-13T14:41:00 The craft of Asgard - where it all started. By Jim Glazzard. <p style="text-align: left;">I graduated from the University of York with a degree in Archaeology in 1994, and an interest in Viking culture that was expressed through Viking re-enactment. Involving fighting, re-creating some Viking age objects for personal use, and, what I later came to realise was, interpreting Viking age history and archaeology for the general public at events up and down the British Isles.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Below -&nbsp;A very young archaeology student, just discovering Viking re-enactment.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/veryyoung.jpg" alt="A very young archaeology student, just discovering Viking re-enactment." width="279" height="409" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">And this could have been as far as it went, indeed many re-enactors are happy to do just that, engrossing themselves in a hobby that draws on existing knowledge of the Viking age,&nbsp; and presents it in a fun, entertaining way, on a bank holiday at a historic site somewhere.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">For me, this all stepped up a gear when, in 1999, I got a job with the Jorvik Viking Centre as one of their &lsquo;in house&rsquo; Vikings, an interpreter by job description, and entertainer in practice. But it was here that I really started looking closely at the Viking age artefacts, it can&rsquo;t be helped really, when surrounded by them day in day out. And I looked at the objects I, and other re-enactors, used for our interpretations, and looked at the original objects, and saw the difference.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">Combs and cloakpins were objects I was particularly drawn to, and I resolved to make some. How hard can it be? I asked myself. Well I found out. The first issue was, of course, that there was no Viking age manual of how to do these things, so I had to work it out myself. There are reports, and scholarly works, of course, but their conclusions on the methods used for making an item such as a Viking comb were not based on practical experience, at least, not in 1999. So I made some, and as I left the JVC at the end of the 1999 summer season, I spent a bit of time in 2000 perfecting the methods for making combs, cloakpins. And other pieces that were useful to re-enactors, like dice, bone and brass needles, tweezers, scales, that sort of thing. I would sell these to re-enactors where I could, and visited Norway for the first time, attending the Karmoy Viking festival, which is where I fell in love with the concept of the open air Viking Museum.This period of ad-hoc trading &nbsp;was, effectively, the first version of the business that is now Asgard.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">My first workshop was in an outhouse of a house I rented a room in, my second was in the front room of my next rented house, but at this stage there was not enough money in doing this to pay the bills, so I went back to work, wherever I could, including a short stint in commercial field Archaeology.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">At the end of 2000, I moved to Bradford to be with my now wife, Cat, and carried on making Viking bits and bobs in my spare time while I worked office jobs, and whatever paid the bills. Workshop 3 was in the shed at the back of our house. We founded Asgard, as Asgard Crafts, at the start of 2002, and began trading at re-enactment shows, pushing our Vauxhall Astra Estate car to its limits as we sped around the country from show to show with a Viking tent lashed to the roof rack, and the back loaded up with gear and dogs.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The Asgard Crafts stall, about 2002. Somewhere in England!</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/MORDEN02.JPG" alt="The Asgard Crafts stall, about 2002." width="486" height="364" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Demonstrating antler comb making, at a very windy Carlisle Castle.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/Copy of RIMG0469.JPG" alt="Demonstrating antler comb making." width="272" height="362" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">This was fun, but we had to do a lot of buying in and selling of stuff I didn&rsquo;t make, to pay the bills. So we saw how much of a difference jewellery makes to the trader at a weekend show. I was also gaining a reputation for high quality replicas of Viking age artefacts suitable for use in museum displays, which helped keep the business going through the winter.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>At the, very wet, Karmoy Viking Festival, 2002.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/NORWAY007.JPG" alt="At the, very wet, Karmoy Viking Festival, 2002. " width="487" height="365" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">In 2004, with our first child on the way, we made the hugest decision it was possible to make, we moved to Scotland, to Plockton in the Highlands, and carried on working and travelling where we could. Our aim was to get a shop/workshop in the area, but this was slow going, so I worked on the first jewellery designs to be cast in pewter at the kitchen table. I was doing some casting on the stove, in home made moulds, but we needed something more professional. So we got another company to cast the first 8 designs.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>The Lochcarron shop in the snow.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/theoldshop.jpg" alt="The Lochcarron shop in the snow." width="517" height="388" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">We moved to the shop in Lochcarron at the start of 2006, and attracted a lot of tourist trade, &nbsp;selling hand made Viking reproduction artefacts: combs, bone pins, cloak pins and jewellery. We also sold&nbsp;incense, gifts and fair trade clothing. The museum commissions kept coming in, and I expanded my knowledge of Viking age craft techniques, all based on research and experimentation, gradually moving more towards the metalworking techniques. Silver and copper alloys became specialities. It was while we were there that we expanded the pewter jewellery range, drawing on the results of the experimentation, and following my research into Viking designs.&nbsp; Around 2009 we started casting our own pewter designs on a more serious level, as the wholesale and website sales grew.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Stall at the Jorvik Viking Festival - with much more pewter on display.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/jorvikstall.jpg" alt="Stall at the Jorvik Viking Festival - with much more pewter on display." width="401" height="535" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">In 2011 Asgard, as it was now known, seeing as the majority of our sales were from our pewter jewellery range, had outgrown the little shop in Lochcarron, so we moved to the Isle of Skye. Based on an industrial estate in Broadford, we increased the scale of production significantly, and continued to produce more designs as our market, and worldwide interest in Viking culture grew.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Jim and Paddy taking a break from the foundry work, in a rare moment of sunshine on the Isle of Skye.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/broadfordworkshop.jpg" alt="Jim and Paddy taking a break from the foundry work, in a rare moment of sunshine on the Isle of Skye." width="200" height="200" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Our final (hopefully!) move was in 2015, as we found that not only was the Broadford workshop getting a bit small, but we also needed to be closer to transport links to the global audience we were now attracting for our products, we decided to move to Dunoon, in Argyll. An hour away from Glasgow, but still close to the water and west coast Scottish scenery and culture that brought this Viking enthusiast to Scotland in the first place. This stunning part of Britain is almost exactly like the parts of Scandinavia we visit at every opportunity, and is the perfect setting for the further growth of Asgard, which is now a globally recognised brand, noted for the way we remain true to ancient Viking age design, while bringing that design to a modern audience. Providing a tangible link to the past, and&nbsp; interpreting what we know of the Viking age culture and crafts to a wider audience than ever before. Which is great, because that is what I wanted to do in the first place.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>&nbsp;The Asgard stand as it now appears at various trade fairs through the year.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/12022332_10156134590280093_8896141757961214247_o.jpg" alt="The Asgard stand as it appears at various trade fairs through the year." width="539" height="404" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Still taking out a Viking stall - after all these years. Here at the Lofotr Viking Festival, in 2016.</em></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://www.asgard.scot/images/library/IMG_1222.JPG" alt="Still taking out a Viking stall - after all these years. Here at the Lofotr Viking Festival, in 2016." width="227" height="404" /></p> <p style="text-align: left;">Afterword.</p> <p style="text-align: left;">This piece was intended as an introduction to my work and the development of Asgard into the phenomenon it is today. I have said nothing of the associations with Viking Metal bands, film and TV work and appearances, or really much about the experimental archaeology and replica work we carry out. I&rsquo;ll get more into that another time. Stay tuned!</p> Jim http://www.asgard.scot/blog/author/jim help@asgsard.scot