Something I made last year, but I couldn’t blog about until it got to its intended location!
As I’ve stated elsewhere, I started Nobelese Largesse, and one of the sister swaps, on the kingdom level recently got restarted in Æthelmearc. So, I signed up with permission of Baroness Oddkatla, who runs it, and received the information for my recipient.
To sum up, Nobelese Largesse is a secret Santa type swap, involving arts and sciences. One signs up, fills out a survey about their likes, dislikes, and their persona, and then receives a list of answers to the same questions from their recipient. Any questions go through the swap moderators, and after the items are made, they’re sent to the recipient.
My recipient has a 13th century Norse persona. While I didn’t know as much about the time period as I would have liked, I went ahead and created items that were at least Norse, even if they weren’t the right century. I also had attempted a project (but because I don’t sew particularly well, this kind of failed).
So, after a back to the drawing board moment, I stumbled upon a strand of quartz beads, found at Birka, dating to the 10th century, as well as danglies from the Hon Hoard. So, using the items I had on hand, I experimented (like I seem to do with most of my items).
The Norse strand of quartz appeared to be strung on gold wire (there’s a small twist of gold metal on one of the beads, which I think is the ends of the wire being twisted together on the outside). It’s hard to tell how fine the wire is, or if it’s just a decorative twist from the photo, especially as the quartz isn’t draped over an object. That being said, if it were a fiber (like, linen or silk) cord, the chances of the beads ending up everywhere are higher, as fabric eventually disintegrates, depending on the pH of the soil (which is one of the more frustrating things about being a Byzantinist and a clothing nerd, as there’s just not a lot of fabric from Constantinople from my time period of the 6th century).
Anyhow, I strung 71 quartz beads onto nylon beading cord (which, while not period, will actually put up with some abuse), as the extant piece has 71 beads on it. Of course, modern beads are oftentimes more perfect than what was used in period, however by purchasing beads at a lower grade, you can sometimes get the shapes you want. I happened to use A grade (it was what I had on hand), and this still worked for what I wanted.
I then decided that I needed to add a few more items for my recipient, and it was back to Pinterest, where I found a dangly bit made from wire and what looks to be glass with what I call “potato chip beads”. So, after stringing some bone beads (again, what I had on hand, and my local bead store didn’t have any thin metal spacers on hand), I twisted the wire and then made a small spiral on both sides, leaving room for it to be strung. I did this again with some amber coloured glass I had on hand (because amber can be expensive, and glass is plentiful in Norse finds.
I am pleased to say that my recipient received her items and was very pleased (yay!), which means, of course that I should probably make more of these for other Norse reenactors.