Two Weeks ago, I was participating at a living history demo with the Northwest Viking Alliance. The Northwest Viking Alliance is an Alliance of many Living history groups in WA State, Oregon, Idaho and Southern British Columbia. My husband and I founded the group 6 years ago to further authenticity, create better demos for the public and promote reenactment and experimental archaeology in the region. We are now a 501C3 and lovingly share responsibility with several group Jarls and group Elders.
The demo was at The New Nordic Heritage Museum and I have participated for several years. It is organized by Alan Andrist and is by invitation only. I was demoing as I always do making period Viking Age lamp work beads. This year I was able to actually make beads instead of just having a display. It was wonderful. It was quite warm out, over 90 degrees and it was even warmer being next to fire. I was literally a hot mess. While I was making beads, I got into some very engaging conversations about beads with the public. I love demos. You never know who you are talking to so it is utterly important to be very knowledgeable of what you are displaying.
One of the people that stopped by to talk beads was Adam L. Allan-Spencer who works at the Museum. After talking a bit he handed me a business card and said that he was interested in talking to me about about possibly making authentic reproduction glass beads for the Museum store. He wanted them to sell during the new big Exhibit called “The Vikings Begin” opens October 20th, 2018. As well as the bead singles he wanted to commission a few reproductions of bead items that will be in the exhibit to have available in the store as well. Adam had been doing quite a bit of research into historical bead makers and decided to ask me because “my work is fantastic and I am local and I demo there every year.” We exchanged information and the following week made contact and worked out all of the details. So now I am in the process of making 200 beads for the Museum store and 2 reproduction pieces. More to be made if needed.
Description of exhibit:
Based on the latest research conducted on both historic and recent discoveries of Viking-era artifacts by Uppsala University in Sweden, The Vikings Begin tells the story of the Vikings of early Scandinavia (Sweden, Denmark, and Norway)—an intensely maritime society with a very close and important relationship to the sea. Uppsala University’s museum, Gustavianum, has produced this exhibition of original artifacts, reconstructions, and archaeological discoveries from early Viking age society using cutting-edge research done by Uppsala professor Neil Price and his team. These objects tell the story not only of the person buried with them, but also of the world they inhabited: its social and economic makeup, its worldview, and its symbolism.
This is a very exciting opportunity for me. I am fairly well known for my modern glass pieces but in comparison only a few people that are not in the reenactment community know me for my historical bead work and research. Historical beads are my utter passion.
The museum is featuring my work in a store display naming me the artist and my contact information will be displayed as well. This entire opportunity is huge to me. I have had my work in museum displays before and at Pacific Lutheran University but nothing compares to having my work featured for such an incredible exhibition. One that the research was done by my hero. Neil Price. It is utterly a dream come true.
Next week I start the work of manufacturing the beads. Unfortunately, I can not show what I am making or have made until after the exhibition opening. So.. It will be a secret for now. I am both challenged and highly honored to have this opportunity. The only thing that would make it better is if Neil Price was at the opening of the exhibition and I could say hello.
Anyway.. Here is the link to the Museum exhibit. It is going to be so great!
UPDATE! Here are the pieces that I made for the museum!
Beads from Various Valsgärde graves!