Friday, August 26, 2011

Report from Goderich!

This is a more personal piece than most, of special interest to those who have participated in the Earth, Air Celtic Festival in Goderich over the years. This is a personal report on my couple of days on the ground, helping out.

I am the only visual artist who has been at the Festival for every one of its current 19 years of operation. I have also taught at the associated Celtic College every year it has been running as well. Over the years I have gathered a lot of friends in Goderich.

I was at Summerfolk in Owen Sound, actually talking to Goderich architect John Rutledge when the first rumours of a tornado in downtown there started circulating. This was about 5 pm - so less than an hour after the storm strike. Bill's first concern was for his partner Bill, still in Goderich and normally working at the Bedford - which is on the central square. 'How can I check on him - I don't have a phone!' I quickly lent him mine. While John was trying to get through he said 'I don't have any contents insurance on my office downtown'. The line to home and Bill just kept ringing. 'No answer, the machine should have come on, I guess that means the power is out there'. Just about that point, someone came by with an iPhone, downloading fresh images off the internet. One showed John's office building (on the south side of West Street, a half block from the Square). All the windows were smashed on his second floor location. The upper third floor was basically - gone.

The next day, I made some fast phone calls to friends in town. Right off the start I found out that although there was huge damage around the central part of town, no one we know had been injured. I decided to head over to Goderich and lend what assistance I could with the clean up effort. I contacted Greg and Nina Reynolds, who offered to put me up for a couple of days. So Monday morning I offloaded my booth from Summerfolk, and loaded up the truck with cutting torches, a small arc welder and generator, various hand power tools, and a collection of various yard work tools. I got over to Goderich about 6 pm Monday.

The police had set up what turned out to be three rings of security. Absolutely no one was getting into the central Square area. Only residents were being allowed into the damaged area. The outer ring was at the various highway entrances into town, were they were discouraging anyone either not from Goderich, or having a good reason, from even entering town. Because I had a specific destination (plus I think working clothes and a truck full of tools) I was passed into Goderich.

Greg and Nina Reynolds
Image: Looking north down toward Greg & Nina's.
Use the 2 foot tall traffic cone to scale the brush pile!

There was no damage at all to their place, along the cliff edge to the south side of town. I had checked with them second on my list, mainly because (as many reading will know) Greg had a construction accident about a month and a half back and broke both his ankles. Meaning he is in a chair and can't walk. Knowing Greg, he would be out trying to use his electric wheel chair like a log skidder. (And yes - he DID TOO try this - but could not get enough traction!) The trees running along the south edge of their small lot did drop a lot of branches, but these all fell into a dead space between them and their neighbour. The resulting pile of brush was the better part of 40 feet long, 10 feet wide and some 5 feet tall by the time we got it all cleared off.

Next I double checked (by heading over) to Bill and Beth Wark. 'Oh, we are just fine' said Beth on the phone. 'One small branch down is all. Maybe 10 inch diameter, leaning against the edge of the roof.'
Good news - no damage. "10 inches"?? More like two feet thick! Helping son Ian and son in law James, we three managed to get the trunk down on to the ground. My toy chain saw finally gave up the ghost, so we ended up hacking it in two with axes.

By this point it was mid day Tuesday, I checked back and went over into one of the hardest hit areas. This being the oldest section of Goderich, between the Festival's Harbour Park and the downtown Square. Most of the small houses in this area are wood frame, dating back to the early to mid 1800's.
Except for the lack of holes in the ground, the area looked like it had been subjected to an artillery strike. Virtually all the trees were down, and many houses either destroyed outright, or obviously so badly damaged they were hardly safe to even enter.

Conn & Cindy
Image: Looking roughly NE. Conn & Cindy's place is the house to the right.
The next door neighbour was actually sitting on the toilet you see in the middle room of the second floor at the time. The cast iron bathtub is what saved him from being crushed by the falling wall you can see.

Conn and Cindy were not home at the time. Their house had all the windows broken, some shingles off the roof, and some damage to the front porch you can see in the image. The initial engineer's inspection suggests the house may have twisted slightly, the top portion an inch or so off alignment to the foundation. Conn suspects this may not prove significant. A good number of the old asbestos sheet tiles that cover the house are broken from flying debris. There was a lot of wind borne mess and broken glass to clean inside, but Cindy said other than the mess, they did not loose anything. The yard was battered, with some damage to the shed, the fences all down and the pear tree destroyed. Considering the complete destruction to the house next door (and up wind) they feel they got off extremely lucky.

I did spend a good amount of time helping out with their friends and near neighbours John and Beth (who I don't know personally). The walls of their frame house bowed outwards in the middle with the pressure. The house will have to be demolished. The engineers would only let two people at a time inside the structure, so the rest of us carried and loaded trailers with their possessions. Again, they did manage to retrieve most of their 'photographs and memories' without too much loss. John was trying to be philosophical about it 'At least we will get a new house out it all...'

Other people we all know in the area (that I ran in to):

George Hoy ('Our Man in Goderich')
'A few branches down, outside of town there was virtually nothing'

Tammy Crocker
Vehicle badly damaged. Broken windows, but generally they think the house is ok.
They live in the core exclusion zone, so are effectively homeless, with only extremely limited access to their home and stuff. However they do have family in town to shelter them. Their problem is not their house, but the church next door. One major brick wall, mere feet away from their house, is threatening to collapse. Concern is that collapse will critically damage their place.
Warren and Elanor Robertson
Their specific street was well outside the serious effect area. I did drive past at one point, there was hardly even much tree damage. (And its all of four blocks from the Square.) Although I did not see them myself, word was that they were ok.

Now, at one point I did go over to the Harbour Park.

the Park House

Image: from the porch at the side of the Park House - looking south.
You can see 'Chez Hoy' across the street, and the mysterious sign exposed on the wall.

I did speak to Herb and his wife. Virtually no damage, one window broken, one other cracked. Loss of power meant loss of all their food stocks. Like all the central part of town, there was still no gas, no electricity.
One of the weird things was the wind tore a section of the old stucco surface away, in a neat rectangular patch. This revealed the word ' Restaurant' painted on the wall underneath!

Harbour Park

(click to greatly enlarge)
Image : Pannoramma, looking from SE rotating to SW while standing in the Park House lot.

Good News - there is no damage to the Band Shell, Picknick Shelter & Washrooms
Bad News - virtually ALL the trees are destroyed

Image: Looking roughly East, standing were the Port-a-Johns get set, across my normal demonstration area. 'My' tree is one of the few undamaged.

Image: Looking over to the area were most of An Droichead set their booths.
One of the large trees Laura and Catherine shelter under remains (almost the only large tree still standing). Jim Wallace's rose arbour is smashed under the large trunk extending over to the right.

Some general observations:

A curse on to:

- Rubberneckers, who 'just had to see' - but never got out of their air conditioned SUV's to help.
You could always spot someone who came to lend assitance, they drove with their windows down so they could ask who needed work done. (A special curse to the woman who started honking her horn at the truck trying to back into a drive with a trailer to load fallen branches.)

- Vacation People, who felt that they had some right to their favorite fast food items. McDonalds was one of the few who even attempted to remain open. They had no gas for grills (no one did!) so they were offering things they could microwave (mostly breakfast items). I saw someone bitch and argue because they could not get the exact thing they wanted. I was amazed the staff even showed for work, the state of town considered.

A blessing on to:

- The OPP, who I found polite, respectful, helpful, reasonable. In fact everything you'd want the police to be in a crisis situation.
- Local Teens, who just seemed to emerge from no where, any time there was something that looked like it needed doing. "Just figured I needed to help" was heard from many of them when I asked.
- Area Residents, who did not wait for the Civil Authorities, but just pitched in to help. Guys with pick up trucks and small trailers, who just kept stopping and hauling away brush piles. Everyone in the region with any tree cutting equipment seemed to have just shown up and got to work - leaving paid contracts to come work for free.

'New' at Kensington Minnesota...

... but Viking Age it is NOT.

Hello, I visited your website after googling about blooms, and I know you'll want to see this object I found just two weeks ago. It looks kind of bloom-like, yet it seems to tooled by a swage. Please let me know your opinion after experimenting so much as you have, hands on. I value your opinion, especially because of your Vinland connection. Thanks. It needs some fast, serious study. I'm sorry that the pages load slow, but the wait will be worth it for you, I'm positive. Maybe the original iron came from Vinland? - Bob ****, from Minnesota (Where the Templars/Cistercians came in 1362).
I warn my readers that the indicated web site contains absolutely massive image files - in the range of 5 - 8 mgb each. It takes way too much time to load!

The measurements are given as 5 1/2 inches long, 3 inches wide, 2 1/2 inches thick
I have converted the published image into life size - and a size suitable for the web!
Original image

My Reply and Commentary:

I have to tell you that the weight of physical evidence, cultural practice and raw geography are absolutely AGAINST any materials found in Minnesota actually having any connections at all with Vinland during the Viking Age.

The best estimates of the amount of iron bloom produced at Lief's Houses (L'Anse aux Meadows) are for approximately 3 kg. (One furnace firing only.) Once compacted down to working metal bar, that drops to something in the range of 2 kg (at best). Trace analysis proves some of that metal was used for nails and rivets which remained to be found at LAM itself.
What is the mass of your object?
To my eye it looks larger than it would be physically possible to form from the single bloom known to be created at LAM.

If you had a chemical analysis of the metal alloy undertaken, it would tell you a great deal.
First, microscopic / chemical examination of the object would certainly tell you much about how the iron was produced. The methods used in the Viking Age are significantly different than those used during the Settlement Era. This alone may serve to rough date (and exclude) the object by date of production.

As you should know, trace elements present in the parent ore are passed in the same concentrations into a finished iron mass when the bloomery furnace method is used. The concentrations of elements are known for the LAM site ores. (Check the original Ingstad excavation report.) This kind of test could be definitive.

Superficially, the surface of the object suggests to me a *cast* object. This method of production was completely unknown during the Viking Age. It is a common method used during the 1800's however, especially for pieces of farm machinery. A check of the carbon content of the metal would confirm this.
It also does not look like a very good quality casting, given surface folds and flaws seen in the images.
These kinds of surface effects are not seen on forged objects.

The raw mass and shape of the object limits its potential applications. Its far too massive to part of any hand tool. Again (machinery not being my area) the shape and raw size suggests something like a plow tip. The piece is certainly not functional for any kind of axe like tool!

In conclusion, the object, taken independent of its find location, has nothing about it that suggests it has a Viking Age creation date. It actually has any number of aspects which put it into the Settlement period (1800's) instead.
It may be an interesting object, but even casual observation places it outside the 1000 AD date of the Vinland base camp - which is on the other side of the continent to begin with.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Wind Power comes to Wareham

" The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind..."

Trying to get hard information about the development of large scale wind turbines is extremely difficult. The amount of 'spin' is immense - from both sides of the question.

One primary problem on the 'PRO' side - the outfits behind the local project - Boreas Wind Partners or Chinodin Wind Power, do not support their own web sites.

One primary problem on the 'CON' side - there is far too much reliance on 'testimonials', with little science to back up the statements.

We have had only the most general and limited of hard information delivered to our home concerning the project from the companies involved. There have been notices about a few pubic information sessions. We had delivered a sketch map with the 'project boundaries marked on it - but never any specific site locations for the individual towers.
I consider this a major failing on the part of the developers, especially since there is significant local objection (judged by 'Stop the Wind Farm' signs posted by individuals.)

But what I have found (easily) on the internet:

10 Myths about Wind Power
(PRO - industry promotional site)
Addresses major concerns, backed up with links to relevant studies.

Energy Farming Ontario
(PRO - industry promotional site)
General information site, sort on hard data.

Grey County Wind Action Group
(CON - local activist group)
Site effectively frozen, now that the local project has been approved and under construction. Little data available here.

Wind Concern Ontario
(CON - Ontario activist collective)
Set up as series of blog and media reprints. There are some (few!) reports with actual measurements included.

The only data filled report I have been able to find on-line that specifically relates to our local project area is this one:

Stage 1 Archaeological Assessment Hatherton/Maxwell Wind Farms ...
Interesting for its description of my local area - this describes the proposed archaeological study NOT its results. It also seems to be incomplete.
(It also states six towers in our specific local patch. Currently I count at least eight towers under construction.)

This map is cobbled together from the project boundary map from the Archaeological Assessment, laid on to an area map via Google. The placement of the towers and roads is rough, based on personal observation. You can see that the two closest towers are roughly 1 km to the SE and 1.5 km to the NE from us in Wareham. I suspect I will only be able to see one of these from our upstairs kitchen window, thats the SE tower.

Killing some Pseudo-Science


Personal - I have stood underneath one of the operating wind turbines down near Shelburne. From roadside on highway 10 (500 m), you certainly can not hear anything over the traffic noise of passing cars. At a unit well removed from roadside, I could not hear any increase in sound over the noise of the wind blowing past my own ears at the time.

The stated concern appears to be low frequency noise (CON).
A study conducted by William Palmer (an engineer) is available (CON):
The measurements were made inside the homes of people claiming adverse effects after the construction of wind turbines (at roughly 450 - 650 metres). These instruments record an increase of low frequency noise of roughly 15 - 20 dB.
Right off the start, there is no comparison given between noise levels experienced by other aspects of modern life, like living in a city, near a major highway, near an airport.

I personally have to conclude from this alone that claims made by protesters are vastly overstated. The noise from the truck traffic since our recent Mennonite influx does certainly effect me personally considerably more than the nearest wind turbine will.
I am willing to accept that effects from low frequency sound is a remote possibility.


I have been surprised how FEW lights are used on the combined wind farm projects. There is NOT one light per tower - as I would have thought would be required by various regulations. The reality is more like one flashing red for each grouping of about five. Actual location must effect this. Also I must fairly say at this point in construction I have no idea just which towers in the neighbourhood group will have lights.

The frequency of these lights is extremely slow. The link between epileptic siezures and some flashing lights is proven - but requires specific frequencies. If anything the rate of flashing on the existing towers is even slower than that on the cell phone towers that also dot this region. Also required for this effect is both close proximity and brightness. Neither of these things is provided (or even possible) by the small flashing light on an individual tower.
The second objection stated is that sun light viewed through the blades will provide flickering light which will be detrimental. In theory, if you were standing at just the right place, at just the right time of day, with just the right brightness of the sun, you might see a moving shadow from the blades.

Certainly the placement of the individual towers in this local grouping is such that I do not think any home is in the correct alignment to allow such an effect through anyone's window.
Again personally, such alignment is physically impossible here at Wareham.


During the construction phase, there certainly been an massive increase in road traffic, especially of heavy machinery. The areas containing the tower bases and the access roads to them have been disrupted. Road intersections are being (temporarily I was told) widened to allow the passage of tower components. The piece of ground around the base of an individual tower being used for construction / assembly appears to be about 2 - 3 acres each.
However, looking at a completed tower at the parts of the complex south of us, the amount of ground lost by an individual tower is about the same footprint as a two car garage. The individual access roads are typically sited along one edge of an existing field fence line (where ever possible). Once the construction is completed, the fields surrounding an individual tower are placed back into agricultural use.

I agree that if a tower was de-commissioned, there would remain a massive block of re-enforced concrete remaining which consisted the massive base plate. Again the surface area is about as large as a two car garage.
Any argument based on 'destruction of farm land' is defies the facts.

(Not In My Backyard)

Obviously, this opinion is in the eye of the beholder.

Typically this argument is raised by 'Weekenders' or displaced Suburbanites. I have to tell you that most commonly (around here anyway) those 'Stop the Wind Farm' signs appear on homes that obviously have much higher economic resources than most permanent residents. Often houses that show the 'closed weekdays and winters' look to them. I recently heard that around Goderich, a similar project was blocked by individuals placing small structures all over their vacation properties - to effectively eliminate the current 'nothing within 500 m' siting requirement. (This may be why the placement of individual towers was never identified here.)
It should be noted that the recent influx of Mennonite families onto local farms are not raising objections to the wind turbines - as far as I can tell. (Significant, when you know the first mark of a new Mennonite owner is that they remove all connections to Ontario Hydro from the property. They all run self contained diesel generator systems for working power.)

Personally I like the look of the towers. It reminds me that that future we were promised in the 60's and 70's may actually arrive some day - and I might see it.

If you want to have electricity, it has to come from some place.
I find it actually offensive that people would think that their power should come from someplace else - with others forced to cope with the hazards of coal or other large industrial sized power plants.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

See me at : SUMMERFOLK - Owen Sound

Summerfolk web site

I will be returning to Summerfolk this weekend after a one year absence (DARC at LAM - 2010)

On the 'Artisan Village' page of their web site, this is my description:

The Wareham Forge – Darrell Markewitz

Heat in the forge and work by hand, add years of skill and a dash of inspiration – that’s a true Artisan Blacksmith. Darrell blends over 30 years experience with his knowledge of Norse and Celtic artefacts into his signature “Rivendale” style. Since the mid 1990’s he has pleased the Summerfolk audience with the “Beach Garden” presentation. Come see the latest of his original art metalworks: fountains, gates, arbour & wind biles. Commissions always sought!

The Festival organizers were the ones to select that image from the ones I used for my application (!). Sorry to say, I will not actually have any of the 'Shades of Ancient Seas' / Windbile pieces with me this year.

With the rushing around CanIRON 8 and Goderich Celtic week, I don't actually have many / very good (!) images of my new work:
- One (prize winning) addition to the Halluciginia series
- First in a (potential) series of bowls forged from bloomery iron
- Two earlier table / benches reworked (and improved)
- One fountain, a new piece reworked from two earlier smaller pieces
- A new series of forged small bowls

Note to past friends at Summerfolk:

They are moving me and Jim Macnamara OFF our traditional 'on the beach' location, which we have dominated for over 15 years now. The new location is to the north of the beach washrooms, down the trail towards the pub. Because we don't know what the space will like, we will be drastically cutting back on our legendary (and award winning) 'Beach Garden' display.

Teaser for those who are wondering where the Viking Age got to...
Two projects coming up into September: - Cooking Pot, Sea Chest and Folding Scales (for the Norwegian Embasy in Winnipeg) - Celtic Iron Age, Slag Pit style iron furnace

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Art imitates Science (??)

Royal Canadian Flying Trilobite
by Flying Trilobite on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 12:06pm

Circa WWI. There have been tremendous advancements since then of course.

Original artwork on The Flying Trilobite Copyright to Glendon Mellow
Glendon's Portfolio

Long back story.
Glendon was one of my students in the Saturday morning program 'When Knighthood was in Flower' back in the early 1980's. That program most definitely 'warped young minds'. There were a hand full of those grade 6 - 8 students that went on to have financially fragile, but personally rewarding, careers in the Arts. I get blamed regularly for inspiring / encouraging this insanity.

Glendon recently started a series of blog postings discussing aspects of Science and Art for (get this) the Scientific American on line magazine: Smybiartic

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Introduction to LAYERED STEELS - October 22 & 23

This intensive, hands on, 16 hour session will introduce the student to the basic techniques required in the creation of layered steels. Each student will create a layered billet, starting with a simple stack and leading to a pattern welded block. As well each will be provided with a prepared block of layered steel (about 100 layers) to forge a small knife


I always schedule one 'special interest' course every year, typically in later October. The exact course content is selected from one of : Intermediate Blacksmithing, Basic Bladesmithing or Introduction to Layered Steels. The first student who sends me a deposit for a specific program request actually determines the course to be held.

That being said, I just got my first deposit - which has set the Layered Steels program. The extra cost of this program ($350 plus taxes) includes a pre made layered steel billet for each student. Potential students should already know how to forge weld. If you have already done some basic knife work, you will get more value out of the program.

Like other training programs at the Wareham Forge, enrolment is limited to a maximum of FOUR. Book now! A $100 deposit reserves your space.

For more details see the description : Introduction to Layered Steels

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bead Making at Goderich Celtic (report) :

As part of my nefarious plans * for the Earth, Air Celtic Festival at Goderich, this year's demonstration was of a Viking Age glass bead making furnace.

Now, this is really the research project of Neil Peterson, fellow member of DARC. Neil has driven the project, and has applied his (considerable) analytical powers to understanding the related archaeological remains. Much of our work has been focused on the remains from Ribe, Denmark. One of the problems is that the actual bead making furnaces are only represented by a number of clay base plates, with none of the upper portions of the furnaces surviving. There are plentiful examples of scrap and waste glass from the making process, as well as a large number of various styles of completed beads. As glass is virtually indestructible, glass beads are a common grave find as well.

My contribution to the beginning of the project was as the 'fire guy', lending my forge experience to the problem of how to construct and operate a charcoal burning glass furnace. It quickly was apparent to me that I needed some direct experience with how glass bead making works! To that end I assembled a basic set of modern lamp working tools and supplies, and made roughly 150 beads - just to get the hang of it.

Neil had made the furnace up a week before and allowed it to air dry. The construction is made of our standard 50 / 50 mix of powdered clay / shredded dry horse manure. The base oval is roughly 30 x 60 cm, and it stands about 30 cm tall. This is the ninth rendition of the basic plan, which at this point is close to an effective layout in terms of heat generation and functional spaces. (For some discussion of alternative designs and functional aspects, see an earlier posting. )

One continuing point of experimentation remains the problem of creating the required temperatures for glass working - and sustaining them, within the furnace. Charcoal supplied with a gentle (!) air blast will certainly produce the required temperatures. One problem remains getting heat without excessive ash floating around (and sticking to the surface of the beads).
One very successful addition to the interior of the furnace is to place a triangular diverter on the wall directly opposite the tuyere entry. Combined with a slight down angle to the tuyere, the net effect is a spiral pattern to the air flow and thus heat generation pattern. In this furnace, this circular pattern was clear in the way the charcoal was consumed.

Our current furnaces provide two possible working methods.
One is inside the furnace, through a port cut into the two long axis ends. For this furnace, Neil and I made slightly different cut angles and locations. I had kept to a more rectangular shape, and also cut the angle of the upper edge so it sloped upwards into the furnace. Generally this proved more effective in reducing some of the volume of hot air blast escaping towards the operator.

The second working area is inside the exhaust stack on the top of the furnace. Although a fresh charge of charcoal certainly provides enough heat here to bring the glass to working temperatures, the effective duration remains short. I think some additional refinements in the shape of the upper structure may improve the function of the stack area.

I worked as much as possible with the two types of tesseri (broken tiles) that Neil had purchased. By this point I (more or less) have managed to figure out how to take an irregular rectangle and wind it up to a roughly ball shape on a mandrill.

One important addition to our working method was developed by Neil over this session.
I can more or less manage a bead shape, even a bead with some decoration. Where it comes apart for me (literally) is in getting the finished bead off the mandrill! Neil had looked closely at a video of traditional workers and seen that they were able to tap off a still hot bead with a metal tool. After a number of failures, he discovered the key is in tapping the mandrill first, which seems to break up and loosen the applied clay separator / resist.

Although not shot at Goderich, there is a video clip on YouTube which shows an earlier experiment in this series.

For more information on the ongoing research into Norse glass beads and making, see the area on the DARC web site.

* Evil Nefarious Plan:
Is to introduce an element of archaeology, specifically Experimental Archaeology, into the fabric of the Festival. Next year marks 20 years for the Earth, Air Celtic Festival. I have tentative approval to build and operate a Celtic Iron Age, slag pit styled, iron smelting furnace as the public demonstration. In conjunction, my intended Celtic College offering will be 'Ancient Celtic Ironwork'. Students will work with a ground pit charcoal forge, bellows air and small block anvils. The likely projects will be small knives and spear points. On the last College session, they will aid in constructing the smelting furnace.
The day long firing of the furnace will be a major demonstration at the Festival, allowing for direct participation of students and others.
It will certainly be the very first time this type of furnace has ever been publicly presented in Canada, perhaps the first time in all of North America.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Seeing CanIRON 8 ??

- I sure didn't!

I was pretty much rushing around like a crazy man from 8 am through to 11 pm each day. I did not see any of the great demonstrations put on by our featured blacksmiths.

The sole exception to this was very late on Friday evening, when my friend Mike McCarthy worked on with his assistant Travis. It must have been closer to midnight when I managed to catch the last part of them working on completing his pipe tomahawk, then welding up and rough forging a draw knife.

Here are the best of the only images I managed from CanIRON 8 :

All these images are shot with available light!
The first is a composite of two images.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Viking Age Bead Making - at Goderich Celtic

On Saturday August 4 and Sunday 5, Neil Peterson (of DARC) and myself will be demonstrating Norse glass bead making techniques. The presentation will run roughly 1 PM - 4 PM, as part of the activities inside the Earth, Air Celtic Festival in Goderich Ontario.

For information and directions to the Festival web site.

Neil and I will be actually continuing our experimental work with Viking Age charcoal fired glass furnaces, based on artifact evidence largely from Ribe, Denmark. This has been an ongoing research and practical skills development project largely under Neil's leadership.

This will be a departure from what you have seen me do at the Festival in the past. In previous years, I have been illustrating proven techniques, which often have a historic basis, but generally I have been using modern tools. The focus is often towards the production of a finished object.

Here the stress is on experimental archaeology. The methods, even the exact tools, used by ancient Norse bead makers are not well represented by artifacts. The furnaces are represented only by flat base plates, no intact upper portions have ever been found. There is a LOT of guess work and trial & error involved!

So come watch us work - its sure to be an adventure. New discoveries can be made at any time!

February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

COPYRIGHT NOTICE - All posted text and images @ Darrell Markewitz.
No duplication, in whole or in part, is permitted without the author's expressed written permission.
For a detailed copyright statement : go HERE