August Update 2019

Here are a few photos of my runic woodworking projects recently as well as a sunrise on the lift bridge in Duluth, MN and an encounter with a fawn in southern MN.

I am preparing for a busy September where I will have my work for sale at the Little Falls Arts in the Park, Hutchinson Art Show, and the Norsk Høstfest in Minot North Dakota!

Woodworking and Art Show Update

I have been working on woodworking as well as photography, but haven’t posted much lately so I thought it was time for a few updates. Some of these items sold at the recent Midwest Viking Festival at the Hjemkomst museum in Moorhead, MN, but there are plenty more to come!

Summer Woodworking Projects II

This is a Shou Sugi Ban charred cedar breakfast table with white pine trim and metal hairpin legs. Shou Sugi Ban is a Japanese style of wood finishing involving charring cedar wood planks in order to protect the wood from insects, weather, and fire and providing a unique dark look to the wood which contrasts nicely with the light pine surround.

Summer Woodworking Projects

Here is a quick update of a few of my recent woodworking projects from this spring and summer. The coffee table, sofa table, jewelry box, and magnetic knife block are made from black walnut wood which my great-grandfather cut and milled decades ago from our family farm in southern Minnesota. The oak desk/breakfast table is made from live edge wood that we milled with a chainsaw from an old dead oak tree on the same farm/woodlands of our family. The interesting character to the wood is from partial rot, weather damage, and insects and makes for a very unique piece.

 

Tolkien Minnesota Map Pine Table

A second attempt at creating a MN and surrounding lands fantasy map in the spirit of J.R.R. Tolkien. Larger and more detailed and on a lodge-pole pine table this time!

Red Oak Slab Table with Black Walnut Butterfly Inlay and Runic Verse from the Vǫluspá in the Old Norse Poetic Edda

This end table is made from a chainsaw cut naturally fallen oak tree from southern MN. The edges are chiseled free of bark and rot and dried for over a year. The crack which opened up during the drying process has been held together by three black walnut butterfly inlays for strength and decoration. The oak slab is mounted on raw steel legs which also brace the cracks in the wood. Around the edge is an Old Norse verse written in Elder Futhark runes from the Vǫluspá in the Poetic Edda.

The verse reads:

Vǫluspá 3                                                                                               

Ár var alda

þar er Ymir byggði,

vara sandr né sær

né svalar unnir,

jörð fannst æva

né upphiminn,

gap var Ginnunga,

en gras hvergi.

The Seeress´s Prophecy 3

Young were the years,

when Ymir made his settlement,

there was no sand nor sea,

nor cool waves,

earth was nowhere

nor the sky above,

chaos yawned,

grass was nowhere.

The English translations are from The Poetic Edda: A New Translation by Carolyne Larrington. Oxford University Press. 1996

ᚨᚱ ᚹᚨᚱ ᚨᛚᛞᚨ ᚦᚨᚱ ᛖᚱ ᛉᛗᛁᚱ ᛒᛉᚷᚷᚦᛁ ᚹᚨᚱᚨ ᛊᚨᚾᛞᚱ ᚾᛖ ᛊᛇᚱ ᚾᛖ ᛊᚹᚨᛚᚨᚱ ᚢᚾᚾᛁᚱ ᛃᛟᚱᚦ ᚠᚨᚾᚾᛊᛏ ᛇᚨ ᚾᛖ ᚢᛈᛈᚺᛁᛗᛁᚾᚾ ᚷᚨᛈ ᚨᚱ ᚷᛁᚾᚾᚢᚾᚷᚨ ᛖᚾ ᚷᚱᚨᛊ ᚺᛖᚱᚷᛁ

 

New Runic Cutting Boards

Black Walnut and Elm cutting/serving boards with Elder Futhark and Medieval Futhark Runic Inscriptions from Havamal in Old Norse.

Runic Story Table and Sunrise before Crosslake Art Show

Runic Story Table/Desk – Pine

This table is inscribed with four verses from the Old Norse Eddic Poem Fafnismál. The poem accounts the slaying of the dragon Fafnir by the hero Sigurd and at the urging of the dwarf Regin, Fafnir’s brother. Sigurd, upon dealing Fafnir a fatal blow, is warned by the dragon that his horde and the rings which Sigurd seeks are cursed and will bring bad things to him if he takes them. Sigurd ignores this advice which leads to his doom. After slaying the dragon, Sigurd accidentally eats some of Fafnir’s blood while cooking his heart and gains the ability to understand the speech of birds. Sigurd overhears some nearby birds speaking of how Regin plans to betray him and Sigurd kills Regin before he can be betrayed. The story continues and the events of the story of Sigurd and the Dragon Fafnir were the inspiration for much of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, including riddling with and slaying a dragon, cursed rings, and magic swords. The story is also the subject of the German Das Nibelungenlied and was a story known throughout the Old Germanic lands and peoples.

The wood-burns included in this table are illustrations of the story adapted from wood carvings around the doorframe of the Hylestad Stave Church from 12th or 13th century Norway which were salvaged and preserved when the church was destroyed in the 17th century.

The chosen verses included in the table recount the final lines of the conversation between Sigurd and Fafnir as well as the greeting by Regin after Sigurd’s battle. These verses are included along with their translation.

 

Fafnir said:

20. ‘Now I advise you, Sigurd,

and you take that advice

and ride home from here!

The resounding gold

and glowing red treasure –

those rings will be your death!’

 

 

Sigurd said:

21. ‘You’ve given your advice,

but I shall ride

to where the gold lies in the heather,

and you, Fafnir,

lie in mortal fragments,

there where Hel can take you!’

 

Fafnir said:

22. ‘Regin betrayed me,

he’ll betray you,

he’ll be the death of us both;

I think Fafnir must give up his life;

you had the greater strength.’

 

 

 

Regin had disappeared while Sigurd was slaying Fafnir and came back as Sigurd was wiping the blood off his sword. Regin said:

 

23. ‘Hail to you Sigurd,

now you’ve won the victory

and have brought down Fafnir;

of those men

who tread upon the earth

I say you’ve been raised the least cowardly.’

Fáfnir kvað:

20. “Ræð ek þér nú, Sigurðr,

en þú ráð nemir,

ok ríð heim heðan;

it gjalla gull

ok it glóðrauða fé,

þér verða þeir baugar at bana.”

 

 

Sigurðr kvað:

21. “Ráð er þér ráðit,

en ek ríða mun

til þess gulls, er í lyngvi liggr,

en þú, Fáfnir,

ligg í fjörbrotum,

þar er þik hel hafi.”

 

Fáfnir kvað:

22. “Reginn mik réð,

hann þik ráða mun,

hann mun okkr verða báðum at bana;

fjör sitt láta,

hygg ek, at Fáfnir myni;

þitt varð nú meira megin.”

 

Reginn var á brott horfinn, meðan Sigurðr vá Fáfni, ok kom þá aftr, er Sigurðr strauk blóð af sverðinu. Reginn kvað:

 

23. “Heill þú nú, Sigurðr,

nú hefir þú sigr vegit

ok Fáfni of farit;

manna þeira,

er mold troða,

þik kveð ek óblauðastan alinn.”

 

The English translation is from The Poetic Edda: A New Translation by Carolyne Larrington. Oxford University Press. 1996.

 

The runes themselves that I have carved in this serving board are from the Elder Futhark which is the oldest of the runic alphabets and is found inscribed on rune stones and other objects throughout Europe and the Nordic countries from around the 2nd to 8th centuries. Futhark stands for the first letters of the runic alphabet, as alphabet stands for the Greek: Alpha Beta.

Elder Fuþark:

ᚠ ᚢ ᚦ ᚨ ᚱ ᚲ ᚷ ᚹ ᚺ ᚾ ᛁ ᛃ ᛇ ᛈ ᛉ ᛊ ᛏ ᛒ ᛖ ᛗ ᛚ ᛜ ᛞ ᛟ

f   u þ a r k g w h n i j  ï  p  z s t  b e m l ŋ d o

Some of the above runes represent sounds which are not included in this inscription and which I will not explain here, but some require a bit of explanation for anyone interested in reading runes. The most important distinctions for my inscription I will list below:

ᚦ = þ = th     ᚲ = k = c     ᚹ = w = v     ᛊ or = s

You may notice that a number of the runes may look similar to the Latin alphabet and have the same meaning, while others look like Latin letters, but have entirely different meanings. There are also a few wholly unique runes to represent certain sounds. The reason for these similarities and differences is not entirely clear, but there are a number of possible explanations including early contact between early Germanic tribes and traders from the Roman Empire and its successor states.

Runes were primarily carved and used before writing on paper or parchment came to northern Europe, therefore the Runic Futharks were comprised of straight lines more easily carved in wood, stone, bone, and metal.

 

Recent Project Updates

A few recent cutting boards and the Dala Rocking Horse which I built for my niece! Cutting Boards are Black Walnut and Elm and two include runic inscriptions of Old Norse wisdom literature from Havamal.

Lake Superior Rock and Resin Tables and Wood-Burns

In preparation for upcoming Art Shows which I will be attending this month (in Little Falls September 9-10 and Crosslake September 30th), I have just finished two additional Lake Superior Rock and Agate Resin Coffee/End Tables, one with Black Walnut wood and the other, most likely, with Cottonwood. In this post, I have also included photos of some of my fan wood-burns from LoTR and GoT inspired Minnesota.