Viking Masters of the Metal Arts

If you are ever in Copenhagen,  be sure to make a trip to the National Museum of Denmark to see the Viking Jewelry Exhibit.  It is an outstanding collection the likes of which you are not likely to see anywhere else in the world.  I was lucky enough to go there recently  and I would like to share some pictures with you.


First some background: We think of Vikings as raiders and pirates.  Actually most  of them were farmers who  went on raids during the intervals between the sowing and harvest seasons.  They went  for booty and the status the plundered wealth gave them.  But raiding and pillaging was a young man’s past time.  When they got older, Viking men were expected to settle down and raise a  family.

Vikings were master craftsmen and worked in metal, stone and wood.  I imagine a lot of the gold they used and prized came from raiding  expeditions but gold was traded as well.    Jewelry like brooches served a utilitarian purpose.  Jewelry was also a mark of wealth and prestige and wearing the gold was the best way to keep an eye on it, although a number of hoards were buried.   Some jewelry was believed to afford the wearer protection or luck and a few very wealthy individuals had jewelry made to be buried with them.  Other jewelry was buried as part of a sacrificial ritual.  Every now and then a cache of gold jewelry is found preserved in a bog.


The Scandinavians and their ancestors started collecting amber in the stone age, mostly on the coast of Jutland which is the western peninsula of Denmark.  That’s amber in the above picture.  Most of the amber I saw was dark and I heard that some of the chunks that have been found weigh over 15 pounds.




I didn’t see a lot of silver jewelry; most of it was gold, amber and bronze.  The piece above looks to be a loop in loop chain.


Viking Knit copy

Oddly enough, I didn’t see much of the so-called Viking Knit although the above picture appears to be an example.

Here are some more pictures.


To see a list of museums with permanent Viking exhibitions, press here. 

In the spirit of Viking Jewelry,  I plan to post another tutorial in the next few weeks as a follow up to Viking Knit Unraveled and Revealed.

I believe that I have come up with a comprehensible explanation of  the double weave and can illustrate it clearly.  Plus I will give directions for a DIY tool that makes it easier to begin the Viking Knit.  Stay tuned!

What I Made at Clayathon


I decided to try making hollow beads using marbles as cores.  The technique goes like this:  You cover a marble ( mine were 25mm and 32 mm) with  clay, poke a little hole so air can escape and bake for 20- 30 minutes.   You slice  the clay open and slip out the marble.    I learned a neat tip from Olivia Surratt.  Don’t cut all the way around the marble; think clamshell.  If you leave a bit of clay attached you will be able to line up the halves perfectly.  Then I glue the bead back together with cyanoacrylic glue.   You can also use Genesis Medium and pop it back in the oven for a bit to set it.


Marbles covered with white clay before baking


Finished bead.  I got the texture from rolling the bead in salt before baking.


Beads covered with zig zag canes before going in the oven.  After they come out.  I sand and buff.


Some of the finished beads strung with bicones and spacers


You must admit she looks stunning with or without the beads!

For more Clayathon pictures, press HERE

We’re Having Bead Soup Again?

This is one leftover I  never tire of.  I am just back from Clayathon and will post pictures later today.  But for now I am looking forward to participating in Lori Anderson’s 8th Bead Soup Blog Hop


Still Claying After All These Years

Clayathon time is here again. I will pack up my stuff and head to beautiful Galloway Township NJ and the Stockton Seaview Hotel where I will meet new and old friends and have a chance to play with my clay for as long as I want.    Clayathon is a friendly gathering of creative people who enjoy playing and claying together.  Clayathon  can be a time to set goals and try new things, or  a time to make birds.  Lisa Clarke has attended most of the Clayathons and written about them.    Robin Milne designed a great logo for this years’ event.    And Arlene Groch and her team of volunteers have made Clayathon one of the best clay events of the year.  


Want more?  Here  are some past Clayathon posts from this blog.

Pampered Pups: Le Mutts at the Spa

Some women like a man in a uniform. I have a thing for Le Mutts. I like to travel with a Le Mutt. Le Mutt is the best stuffed animal ever made bar none. Our older Le Mutts (Père and Fils) were getting a little ratty from world travel and from sleeping with my husband when Plumpton was under the weather, so I arranged for them to have a day at the spa conveniently located in the basement of our home.


First, the Le Mutts went for a long soak in the washing machine hot tub.



Mugging for the camera in the rinse cycle.


The Le Mutts emerged rather tired but a brisk drying with a towel and a massage perked them right up


The Le Mutts relaxing after a vigorous workout. The old gent on the left is Le Mutt Père .


Thoroughly dried and ready for grooming which in this case means restuffing, sewing and fluffing.

Le Mutt as good as new in Copenhagen

I took this picture with the assistance of my equally zany husband. We had wait for some other tourists to snap their pictures in front of the statue of Hans Christian Anderson. When out turn came, a dour looking man loaded down with camera equipment huffed impatiently while I posed and reposed Le Mutt . My husband apologized explaining that the dog was a difficult model to work with. The man failed to see the humor in the situation. He’s lucky Le Mutt didn’t bite him.