A quick visit to Historiska Museet in Stockholm.

Last week I had the opportunity to do a quick visit to Stockholm and as such I naturally did what anyone would do, I spent the evening at The Swedish History Museum (Historiska Museet). Because, luckily enough, the museum had extended opening hours on a weekday that coincided (promise!) with my visit in Stockholm. As such, I spent the evening hours walking around in their exhibitions. It was a good time, I especially liked the iron age ceramics as well as the viking exhibition. I appreciated the opportunity to see source material in real life and especially some of these well debated findings; yes, I am thinking of the silver top that was presumably a part of a hat. There was a guided tour happening just at that display when I passed it so I didn’t have a good opportunity to photograph it, you can check it out here though.

When visiting museums I often think that “I don’t need to take pictures because there is a better picture of this somewhere else” but I have realised that I appreciate the pictures afterwards even though they might be shaky and out of focus. My photos are certainly not top quality but they kind of makes all the difference in the end on what I remember and what not. I’ll share some of the pictures I liked here because, as anyone with a pinterest account has discovered by now, there are a very finite number of pictures of available source material online so it’s nice to see something from a different angle for once. Remember though that they are taken through a glass window of the display with my cell phone and under less than perfect circumstances.

 

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Iron age: Cup from Halland.

 

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Viking age: Silver and rock crystal from Gotland.

 

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Viking age: Silver bracelets from Gotland.

 

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Viking age: Brooch, lunula pendant, belt end, pendant and earrings.

 

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Viking age: Glass beads from Gotland.

 

In order to support the museum and to get some decent pictures of the findings, I bought three booklets about their exhibitions and a bag with valkyries on it. Support your local museums!

I also happened to see some findings that I have replicas which is always fun! The findings were displayed in the museum but the since it was kind of troublesome to take pictures due to the lightning and display cases, I compare the replicas with pictures of the findings from the booklets instead. I really appreciate the effort people go through in creating replicas, especially when they look this good.

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Viking age: Brooch from Uppland (Adelsö Björkö Bj 463).

 

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Viking age: Amulet from Östergötland (Hagebyhöga 36:1).

 

Note the differences in source material and replicas; I dare say we sure are fond of symmetry nowadays. I try to keep this in mind when working with reenactment, to not be bothered by asymmetry and ease up in our strive for perfection. Somehow, it’s more difficult than I would care to admit, especially when it comes to your own work.

There turned out to be a lot of viking items in this post but I enjoy the pre-christian designs and expressions. Not trying to be rude but I think there is a limited number of times that you can depict iconic bible moments and still keep it interesting. The amount of bible depictions in the source material for the medieval times and the 14th century clearly surpasses that number. On the other hand, this gives us some context so I guess it might be a good thing. Ah well.

Unfortunately enough, the textile department of the museum was closed at the time of my visit so I’ll have to revisit again at another time. But if nothing else, check out their database that I used to find information of all the above material; I’ll definitely keep this in mind in the future, extremely handy!

All in all, go visit The Swedish History Museum (Historiska Museet) in Stockholm if you have the opportunity to do so! They have a lot of nice things.

 

Introduction.

After much consideration and many thoughts about it I have decided to start blogging about my dealing with reenactment and crafts in general. Reasons? Everyone is doing it and I have a lot of pictures that are pretty nice and as such, I’ve decided to share some of them here along with some thoughts.

I’ll try to introduce this blog, the purpose and myself in this entry.

This is a blog that will cover my thoughts, ideas and pictures of my dealings with reenactment and crafting. I started doing reenactment and crafting more seriously in 2010, I have dabbled in somewhat vaguely related activities in my youth but it was first in 2010 that I started to spend serious time and money on it. I say reenactment and crafting because my part of reenactment mainly consists of crafting. I know that fighting is a big thing in reenactment but I have simultaneously to this interest trained muay thai for several years and has as such never felt the need to participate in the fighting part of reenactment. As such, my focus is mainly everyday life of civilians.

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Our 14th century dinner table (Middelaldercentret in Denmark, 2016).

The periods that I am currently involved in is 10th century and 14th century in the Nordic countries. This is a choice based on my location in the west of Sweden, available events (because to be honest without deadlines, nothing would be done) and my limitation as a seamstress. As fancy as the later centuries are, I am not a tailor and will only shame the century and stress myself out by trying to achieve an acceptable level of quality.

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You may not like it but this is what peak performance looks like.

In my crafting, I am aiming towards a simpler style. I am trying my best to stay true to the available source material in both eras; which doesn’t give much space concerning the 10th century in since most of the findings from the Nordic countries consists of a few threads and a lot of heavy gold and silver bling. Considering that gold is still pretty expensive you still have to be filthy stinking rich to wear everything true to many graves. Filthy stinking rich is something that I’ll never be so I’ll just try to stay humble and dirty instead.

Considering sources I do the best I can, as many other, by looking at available findings and books. This is loosely regarded to as research in this hobby, which kind of waters down the expression to be honest (as I have met very few who actually does professional scientific research). But then again, this is just a hobby and it’s just a matter of semantics in this case. What I do is that I try to look up available findings, discuss it and work out a decent framework that works for me based on what seems plausible and possible for me to do without going insane. It sounds deceptively simple.

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This is me loudly mocking this rock I just found on the beach. 10th century garb.

Over the years I evolved a soft spot for plant dyeing so hopefully I can shine some light on this subject here. It is an activity that is in general somewhat vaguely described, with loose terms and its own trivial names; maybe so because it doesn’t have to be very precise to work well and therefore the precious skill of accuracy is sadly neglected in this case. I am a fan of choice and I promote accuracy so that eventual inaccuracy that takes place is a conscious choice . But considering that this is a hobby and takes place in our spare time, sometimes there is not time nor energy left for accuracy; which is also okay. For me, the point of crafting is not primarily accuracy but to learn something and to create something. Although I confess like to make progress in the things I do and in order to progress I need to evaluate my actions and in order to evaluate my actions I need accuracy. And here we are. In summary, I try to be accurate but I don’t beat myself up if I’m not.

(Un)fortunate enough, I am at the moment a full time student at a major technical university in Sweden and as such I have precious little time to do anything else than work and trying to have a working everyday life. My bachelor is in chemical engineering, my master is in nanotechnology and materials chemistry and I am currently writing my master thesis work at the department of chemical engineering / organic chemistry. As such, I am a scholar of science and I am not afraid to use it! But to be frank, most of science boils down to understanding that there are things that you don’t understand. Not much of a comfort, I know, but it actually helps and makes the world less unpredictable in some aspects. But then again, expecting the unexpected is a paradox in itself and quite tricky to do in real life but now I’m getting off topic. Anyhow, I’ll do what I can and I’ll make no promises.

Concerning the particular design and features of this blog in general, I’ll try to work out some decent theme here so if everything looks weird I’m probably trying something new and failing. Don’t give up on me though, I need the page clean and working as much for my own sanity as well as yours.

Also, as you might have guessed I am not a native speaker of English but I’ll try to keep this blog in english to the best of my abilities; because, it would seem that there are more people not speaking swedish doing this weird business.

If you’re reading this today (the 24th of February 2017) you are a very eager internet person and all of this information is up to date. If you’re reading this when accidentally scrolling to the bottom of my blog, then I don’t know where you’re from in time but you are a very persistent cookie and I’ll keep you in mind.