I was invited to participate in a Silver Brooch Gift Exchange (solely for members of the first level art award in the SCA), and these kinds of things are my favorite. I really enjoy creating art for people and these opportunities are perfect for that. I was assigned to make a gift for another fighter artist *and* his persona was norse. It was perfect.
The idea I had was a norse ispired hedeby/haithabu bag. There’s speculation about this particular style of bag for numerous reasons. I think one of the challenges is that organic components often don’t hold up to time so we don’t have a lot of archeological evidence to pull from. There have been handles found, but the handles are never in pairs. This is actually pretty frustrating to me because the design with two handles is very practical. Two handles keep the bag closed and limit the chances of losing things. I don’t believe that I’m the only person that feels this way because many (or most) people reconstruct this bag with two handles.
I’m a novice woodworker, so this was the first time I made something like this. I had to redo one handle due to my inexperience, I drilled a hole too close to the edge and it split the wood. I used modern tools to create the handles but in the future, I would explore some of the tools a norse man or woman may have used.
I chose to make the strap in wool using tablet weaving methods. I chose red and black because these are the colors of my giftee. I was worried that the strap would not be long enough because my giftee is very tall, but I think it is *just* long enough.
Finally, I made the bag using wool on the outside because it’s sturdy, protective and period, and I used linen inside. I sewed a pocket into the lining for extra organizational potential, and there’s not historical evidence for this, but I like to add a small pocket in bags for myself, so I did it here too.
Overall, I am happy with how the bag came out, but I think I could definitely make improvements using what I learned. I hope to make handles again but make them a little thinner and finish the handles in linseed oil.
The crazy thing was that my recipient received me as his giftee. His (sca) name is Sigvardr and he made me the most amazing and beautiful goat pendant out of bronze. Consider checking out his FB page Silverhand Jewelry. Here is a picture of the gift I received:
Thank you for reading!