Viking Craft take you back one millennium. This is a practical study for people with interest in living history and Viking re-enactment. You will go to school in beautiful Telemark in Norway. One major task is making your own Viking kit. It´s primarily a craft course where we use our hands to learn about the Viking age. Of course, we have to understand the theory behind it, to be able to create our own Viking things. We will try to make a Viking kit based on the archeological findings and the newest research that we are able to get a hold of.
Viking Craft introduces handicraft from the Viking age
We sow our own clothes of wool and linen. We also make belts, shoes and bags from leather. From the belt there should be hanging a small pouch, knife and a fire steel. We have to go to the smithy and try ourselves with hammer, anvil, fire and steel. While we are at it, we might as well make some hinges for the small Viking chest we are making. What do we put in the chest? Maybe our eating equipment made from green wood, with an axe and a knife. We will learn the traditional carving techniques to make spoons and bowls, just as they would have done it in the viking age. In the chest, we could also put a small fabric roll with our handmade needles that we use for sewing and needlebinding. Maybe we can also put some “treasures” made of bronze that we cast ourselves.
Viking trip to Denmark to be inspired
Denmark and Norway have both a rich Viking history. We go to Viking sites in Denmark to get impulses and inspiration.
About the Viking study
In short: Viking is a practical handicraft study. We make replicas of Viking objects and research their origin. Sometimes we try to make them in an authentic way. Sometimes we use modern techniques to get a result that looks like it would have done in the Viking age. Working with the Viking age in modern surrounding is always a “dance with compromises”.
The Viking Craft study opens for many possibilies. We encourage diversity before specializing. You will be trying many different crafts and skills. We will guide you through many techniques to make your own Viking age kit. You will learn about the history and the culture of the Nordic people from around 700 to 1100 AD, through crafts and hands on experience
Who should attend the Viking Craft course?
This study is for anyone interested in historical crafts, living history and Viking re-enactment. It is just right for you wanting to learn more about the history, culture and life of the Nordic Vikings. We present and encourage you to study the archeological findings to be able to make your own Viking gear. What we produce are based on what we know for a fact the Vikings would have had, not based on fantasy/LARP (live-action role-playing) or personal design.
If you follow our guidelines you will fit in nicely, at any given Viking marked. We will prepare you for and encourage you to do the 1000 year time travel yourself. It is possible to attend Viking markets around the world. These are a great places to go with friends, to go on your own or maybe even make new friends. The re-enactment scene is very much a social thing.
What we expect from you
We expect that you attend with an open mind. We also expect that you are willing to learn, research and share your knowledge with others. Our vision is that all participate in a positive manner. Here we hope you will engage yourself with your projects and your fellow students. An open mind and a positive attitude will be your best qualities.
Be aware that a folk high school is so much more than the Viking course. You chose electives from a broad spectrum of studies, there are common classes, trips, seminars and lot of fun, challenging and rewarding activities. Be sure to attend it all.
What you will learn
- Woodworking in both green and dry wood. We make eating utensils, a small chest and different wooden objects.
- We grab the needle and hand stitch our own personally fitted Viking clothes.
- We make belts, shoes, bags etc. in leather.
- Stirring the pots plant dyeing both yarn for needle-binding and fabric for our clothes.
- In the smithy we will be forging e.g. hooks, fire-steel and knifeblade for making our own Viking knife.
- Learning the basics of tablet weaving, being able to make beautiful belts and bands.
- Trying out bronze casting, making jewelry.
- We will also be cooking and preparing food with similar ingredients and methods as the Vikings.
- This add up to your own basic Viking kit and basic knowledge about this magnificent period and its culture.
Our Viking teachers
Jeppe Nordmann Garly
The main teacher for the Viking Craft course is Jeppe Nordmann Garly. He moved from Denmark to Norway to become “the first Viking teacher in the world.” He is a well-known craftsman in the Scandinavian re-enactment and living history environment. For many years he has been attending and arranging a lot of different Viking and craft events. He is the former leader of one of the biggest Viking groups in Denmark “Vikingegruppen Lindholm Høje”, and has been giving lectures and seminars on different Viking subjects for years. He thinks that an important way to learn about history is through the hands. This hands on approach is what we will be working with on the Viking course. When he is not working as a Viking teacher, he is probably checking out a museum or going to a vikingmarket somewhere. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Linnea Bang Madsen
Linnea has focus on crafts related to textiles. She is educated taxidermist with birds as a speciality. She is fascinated by the broad spectrum of crafts with roots back to the Viking age. She is impressed by the knowledge and the skills they had back then. In her sparetime she draws, paints and works with naturalscientific illustrations. Linnea likes to be in rural places, out in the woods watching birds when she is not doing Viking crafts.
Highlights from our curriculum
A school year is naturally divided into seasons and periods. The Viking Craft course has always a focus on crafts throught the year. On top of that here are some highlights:
- We start by getting to know each other.
- Viking ship: We cooperate with a local Viking group and take a voyage with the Viking ship Aasa. This is a replica of a famous Norwegian Viking ship called The Oseberg Ship.
- Denmark: We seek out Viking culture in Denmark to find inspiration.
- Viking fortress in making: We visit the Viking fortress Guvihaug. This fortress is a work in progress. Lokal “Vikings” are building this inspired by old Viking sites. Here we are invited to give a hand and contribute. We will live in tents, and and cook our own Viking food. We will also work on our crafts, forge, test our abilities for archery, and gather around the fireplace in the evening.
- Whetstone site: We go to Eidsborg in Telemark to find a Whetstone site from the Viking age. Here we also find a beautiful old stave church.
- Autumn festival: In november we invite friends and family to a festival. They are invited to experience what Folk High School is about. For this event we arrange an exhibition.
- Before Christmas: Christmas in Norway is much celebrated and the expectations for this season are held high by Norwegians. December is much filled with Christmas activities and preparations.
- One day in December we invite 200-300 young children to come and visit our school. We get mutual inspiration by doing some Viking activities together with a smaller group of them
- December is also a good time to seek out museums. For instance the Viking ship museum in Oslo. Here we find the “Oseberg ship”.
- We perfect our skills in a variety of crafts, and finish our Viking kit.
- We have a Photoshoot showing off our new Viking gear.
- Spring is also a fine season for a common trip with all our shool mates
How is the Viking Craft course organized?
A year at a folk high school is filled with so much exitement within a broad spectrum of activities. This is the reason why many weeks won’t be just ordinary.
Still: most weeks classes in Viking craft will be given three days a week, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. (On Mondays and Tuesdays you will have electives and Common classes.) Most of the time you will work on different kinds of crafts and skills. The way we organize our time might me divided into three main catagories.
- Lectures: Your teacher will share knowledge about themes related to Viking age and Viking crafts. We also include something called “Viking for 10 minutes”. Here the students share a Viking topic of interest.
- Time for doing crafts: the students are divided into groups learning and practicing different Viking crafts. These might be related to wood, leather, or forging.
- Common time: the class do something in common like sharing experiences or taking a hike in to the beautiful landscape surrounding Seljord.
Traditionally most of our students are Norwegian. Therefore most information and classes are given in Norwegian or Scandinavian. Still we encourage English speaking students to apply. We advise foreigners to learn some Norwegian before coming to school. Concerning the Viking Craft course we know many foreign students would like to take part of this unique study. If we get many foreign applications we would like to make this course an international one. An international course will take English as a main language. You are most welcome to apply.
Equipment and cost
We have a lot of equipment and tools at our Viking department. Most of what you would need are available here. The use of this is included in the fee payed for staying at Seljord Folk Highschool. This also apply for minor projects you choose to work on in your sparetime. Concerning major projects including expensive materials you must agree on with your teachers. There might be some extra fees for this.
Important information about applying
- Our minimum age is 18. You have to turn 18 the year you apply for.
- You will have to document your attendance/absence in school so far
- Write your motivation for attending Seljord Folk High School. Why will you attend our school and the Course?
How we admit students
No students are admitted before February 1st each year. You may apply before that date, but will not receive an answer until after. If we find students suited to attend our school we will admit them until we have reached the limits of group size for each course.
Please send papers for former education/training/qualifications. We need such documentation to consider your application.