I am a teacher of traditional Icelandic wool crafts at Heimilisiðnaðarskólinn in Reykjavík such as spinning on a hand spindle and spinning wheel, needlebinding and fingerlooping. My interest in Norse textiles and hands-on skills have led me to reconstruct specific archaeological textile finds or, when they are too fragmentary, to combine several finds of a narrowly defined geographic and temporal frame in order to give a convincing portrayal of a persona.
By recreating the dress of a medieval Norse Greenlandic farmwoman , I concentrated my skills on a single project: her Herjólfsnes dress is hand woven, plant dyed and hand sewn, she has needlebind socks, turn shoes, a fur lined surcot, cat skin gloves, a purple lichen dyed veil… her wardrobe is almost complete except she has no under wear due to lacking finds. Another project was the reconstruction of the Blue Dress of the Woman from Ketilsstaðir, a young Viking age woman buried in a heathen grave in East Iceland. There were just enough textile fragments behind her brooches to allow a reconstruction of her linen underdress and woolen dress, not to speak of her rich jewellery and grave goods. I aim for accuracy and authenticity by studying excavation reports, museum databases and scientific publications, but find it equally important to have some mastering of the old techniques to truly understand the expertise of the Norse women who were the sole producers of all textiles needed on a Greenlandic or Icelandic farm, everything from clothes to bedding and sails. Though I also have a BA in Latin and European Ethnology and a MA in anthropology I do not pursue a purely academic career but share my time between working as a physical therapist at a rehabilitation clinic, teaching courses in traditional handcrafts, gardening, dyeing and weaving.
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