I hemmed and hawed for over two weeks of what I wanted to do for someone with a 9th century viking persona. I had a ton of great ideas but nothing felt "right" or "appropriate". I eventually enlisted my super-spy Thyra to try to find out what he might like in a scroll. Because Thyra obviously knows everyone, she confirmed via his lady wife that Ulgeirr like the Urnes style of artwork used in the later part of the viking period. Let's just say I did a bunch of research based on that tidbit alone. ;)
For those not in the know, the Urnes style names for the style depicted on the Urnes stave church (which is an example of the later Urnes style). The church doors have a lovely knotted art style with very stylized animals. You can see that below. I'm in the camp of people who think the figure on the left hand side is a wolf because hooray wolves!
|Urnes stave church door in Ornes Norway.|
Great! I have a style to go on! I then got it in my head that it would be awesome with a week and a half left until it was due to try my had at making a runestone carving in a similar style. I thankfully came to my senses and said hell no, I am not picking up a new hobby right this second for a piece with a firm deadline. I wasted a good three days trying to figure out the logistics though.
I kept with the idea of doing a runestone with the Urnes style and settled on this lovely example. The ever talented Anne of Framlingham graciously crafted words and my personal viking superhero Avaldr Valbjarnarson provided the translation into runes.
|U240 Lingsberg Runestone, Sweden.|
Recipient: Ulfgeirr Ragnarrson (the Nice)
Award: Order of the Maunche
Words: by Anne of Framlingham, translation by Avadlr Valbjarnarson
Specs: Acrylic on slate tile, sealed with W&N matte sealant.
Source: U240 Lingsberg Runestone (see above)
This lovely slate tile was found at Home Depot and it was "the one" due to it's variations of pink and red in the slate. I opted for my good friend Liquitex Acrylic to get a good coverage on the uneven surface of the slate. I used an enlarge pic of the runestone and transfer paper to get the proportions correct (and done within my time fram) and ended up freehanding a lot of the design elements since pencil was incredibly hard to see. Faces and toes were almost entirely tweaked since they didn't transfer well and all managed to get onto uneven surfaces on the tile.
|Complete outline of the design done in white.|
|Choice of two reds, I went out and bought the one to the left because I thought the one on the right would be too orange. This is why we test swatch people. I learned that early on.|
|Mostly finished base. All animals are painted and you can see the penciled maunche symbol in the cross if you squint.|
Once the base layers were painted, it was crunch time: put the words on the scroll. I had a fit of shaky hands toward the end but my stubborn streak would not let me put the paintbrush down. Thyra suggested doing a double ribbon of text inside the snake/dragons as she had done something similar in a runestone scroll. As Donovan Shinnock (my gracious transporter of the scroll to the event) point out, you can tell I paint miniatures with the tiny handwriting. I touched up the outlining and sent this scroll on it's merry way. I'm always going to be my own worst critic, but I do feel like I could have done more for this. I'm not unhappy with the result, but it left me wanting a tiny bit.
|Finished stone with tiny rune writing.|
Scroll text by Mistress Anne:
For the worth and might of Ulfgeirr Ragnarrson,
Known to all as a prince of men,
Wielder of counsel, wise in speech.
Brave battle-tree of iron bone-house,
Tames the ravager, bane of wood,
Brings forth battle metal, man’s measure,
And rings to adorn the valiant of Tyr.
Fire-beater acclaimed by all,
Name him among the Sons of Ivaldi.
So says Brennan, Warder of the People,
And so says Caoilfhionn, Willow of Gold.
Done this day in A.S. L, at K&Q A&S Championships, in the Shire of Barren Sands."