The 1904 excavation in Norway of the Oseberg Viking ship revealed a vast array of woodcarvings, unlike anything seen previously. Dragon-like head posts, elaborately carved sleighs, an exquisite wagon, and of course, the carvings on the ship itself revealed to us the extent of the imagination and skill for the woodcarvers in the ninth-century region of Vestfold, Norway. This five-day workshop will be an opportunity for beginning and experienced carvers to enjoy making carvings inspired by the Viking age. Viking age carving is not to be confused with “dragon style,” which is a late nineteenth-century development. Experienced carvers are expected to understand grain direction, familiarity with using gouges and knives, and sharpening. Beginning students will spend the first two days learning basic carving skills, including practicing using knives, gouges and chisels, learning about grain direction when carving, learning to sharpen the tools and keep them sharp, how to achieve a smooth knife and gouge finish, and basic safety steps when carving. During the last three days beginning students will make one or more simple, yet demanding, projects in Viking style. Experienced students will work on a large-scale project similar to the figure-eight “dragon” image, pictured below left. It is approximately 24 x 18 inches, with deep relief carving and the surfaces decorated with the “diamond” cuts as found on the Oseberg ship carvings. Several image presentations will be given on Viking Age woodcarving and the construction of the Oseberg Ship replica. This class is brought to you in part by Viking Connection, a program of the Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County, Minnesota. There will be a materials fee of $70 for the advanced project and $20 for the beginning project.
Jay Haavik has extensive experience in Viking age woodcarvings. In early 2000 he studied woodcarving at the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo (home of the Oseberg Viking Ship). Since then he has traveled extensively to Norway to undertake various woodcarving jobs. In 2006 he carved a stave church panel at the Borgund Stave Church in Laerdal, Norway. In 2010 he was hired by the New Oseberg Ship Foundation, Tønsberg, Norway, to be the lead carver in the making of a replica of the Oseberg Ship using only Viking age tools and techniques. Since then, he has returned many times to undertake various carving jobs.