Icelandic Snail Cross

It’s typical for a consort to give their fighter a token with their arms on it to wear into battle. Often, this is done with a belt favor embroidered by the consort. I’m getting more and more into Viking garb and study, and Culann is a northern Celt, so a belt favor didn’t make sense to me. So I pondered, “what might a Norse woman give a northern Celt?”

I consulted with Master Freidrikr about what would be an appropriate gift and he suggested that an amulet, like a Thor’s Hammer, would have been a noble gift. My inspiration piece was an Icelandic 10th-century artifact known as the “Wolf Cross” or vargkors”  found in Foss.*

This is the final result:

bronze-cast winged snail version of Icelandic wolf-head cross


Wolf cross from Foss, Iceland, 10th-century
Wolf cross from Foss, Iceland, 10th-century

Out of beeswax I created a Thor’s Hammer as a gift for Sir Culann MacCiannon, my favor, for him to wear when he fought for me in the East Kingdom Spring Crown Tournament AS52.  It was cast in bronze by Mark Frasier (Izzo) and let’s be clear that Izzo did the lion’s share of the work!

My original one was really huge and would have been totally inappropriate for the work, I discovered, even if it had been successful. (And way, way too heavy.) The original was very tiny, mine is much bigger but still reasonable.**

Here’s a shot of the wax which was cast. A mold was poured around it and then when dry the mold (plaster and/or sand) is put in a kiln to harden, and the wax melts, leaving the empty cavity. (The first such mold exploded in the kiln because it still had moisture in it, losing the mold and the first wax item.) Then hot metal is poured into the mold and when cooled the mold is broken. Every piece is as unique as the wax because of this process.

Winged snail sculpted in beeswax


Winged snail sculpted in beeswax, top view


Here’s a whole photo process document, if you’re interested:


* (öllnir#/media/File:Vargkors_kopia.jpg)



Gold All The Things!

Cloth is not a thing I’m comfortable working with. So when I volunteered to assist my friends by making an embellished border for a beloved friend’s Laurel cloak, well…. that was kind of foolish.

However, I decided to go big or go home.

First, gold leaf on cloth was totally done in the SCA period. Linseed oil was used as the sticky part and a sealant was painted over the gold. So I had proof that it was done. (And then Ollilia gave me this great text to help!)

I documented this with lots of photos, so please feel free to look at the Google album, which has all the notes!!

Other resources I found that were kind of helpful included: