čtvrtek 25. prosince 2014

Ranger Quests

For a year now, I have a ranger companion, a Dunadan boy who from time to time travels with me to the wilderness or patrols the Breeland. I try to teach him stealth, archery and track - lore and also the love of smoke on the food you eat, moss on  huge boulders,dramatic landscape and free air. We cook and eat and play and walk and sleep in shrubs and woods. I am very thankfull for this little warrior and i hope we will travel many more miles

ranger holding a tinder box after succesful winter firemaking
The road goes ever on...

walking staff for me and spear for him

tired feet after a long walk

morning joy after safe night under the stars
from our first quest

with our new companion Ylva

Eating is a essential part

rare picture of myself taken by little ranger

moss, fire and good sausage in autumn forest

last patrol in a Breeland and Old forest

pátek 19. prosince 2014

Forth... Beorningas?

Here is a short account of the work that draws from one specific fictional culture from Middle Earth. The followers of Beorn, people of the Anduin vales, kin to Woodmen and Bardings and enemies of Shadow. From what i know about Tolkiens cosmology, these people represent ancestors to ancient Europeans in a sense that Middle Earth is fictional mythology.
I love Beorn character in a book and i like his ability to change into a wild beast, to me its very reminiscent of Tiermensch idea of old germanic art. I wanted beorning culture to visualy resemble old germanic art, but without actual citation. Here are examples and you may judge how i succeeded.

 my latest work,a small nekcknife with anler handle with silver and garnets and ornate sheath

Beorns knife with statuette of bear on the top of the handle and scabbard without utilising a leather

 Antler beorning ring, a mark of Old mans follower?

 Beorning war knife with lot of Anduin, bear and bees symbolism

 Beornings belt, buckle is antler, strap end is brass silver and garnet

and here is my drawing of the man himself as Bilbo met him, still solitary and not a leader of folk

Finaly, Myles Mulkeys magical poem he wrote for me
"Where once a bear
had made his home,
a man now lives there,
all alone.
Mead he drinks
and honey eats,
and runs faster
than any beast.
But now and then,
some men have said,
the bear returns
to his old bed.
And sleeping there
beside the fire,
his hunger grows,
his growling dire.
And forest-men,
when passing there,
are terrified
of that old bear.
With unstrung bows
and heads hung low,
they softly walk
through the meadow.
They do not dare
to hunt with hounds,
and are careful
to make no sounds.
And when they see
the fearsome bear,
they know they are
alone out there.
For never when
the beast does roam,
can the bee-man
be found at home."
Let me know your ideas and thoughts and thank you for your attention

pondělí 6. října 2014

Conjunction of the worlds

Its incredibly long time without any posting and i have now pretty lot of ideas what to write about, so lets jut start with a short contribution of my first tattoo design.
My friend and returning customer approached me and honored me with an opportunity to design his first inks. It was a great honout but also quite a responsibility, as it would be hard to imagine more personal art than this. His life story is strongly connected with Raven, so i went for this theme for one of his forearms. I was inspired by a ringerike style ravens and added some "viking baroque" to reflect the more organic technique and material than metal, stone and occasional wood or antler examples that survive to our days in decaying soil. We originaly thought about having two of them, slightly varying, but finaly the decision has been made to go with just one raven.
The other motive was much trickier to conceive, draw and it will be much harder to explain. But let me try this. Its a known fact, that J.R.R. Tolkien set his Middle earth in our world, not a distant planet or paralel universe. It was made, basicaly as our ancient meta history. I usualy invent my own art styles i use for Middle Earth artifacts, but when my friend suggested ME theme for the other hand, i was at unrest, because i as a style purist didnt feel its ok to have a viking style on one hand and fantasy on other (that weird i am!!). So while driving a long distance from Norway home, i found out the solution, that lays in the fact that Middle earth is our world. What if the svartalfar of the norse sagas are the descendands of Durins folk? And what if they preserved the stories of old? And is it too much to suppose that the dwarvish smiths were those, who inspired the germanic craftsmen? So i went and re-invented a ringerike style in slightly twisted way. added some elements, exagerated on others... So without moch more gibberish, i am presenting you a long gone tale of Trór, the king of the mountain and Smaug the firedrake. Note the ravens on the mustache - ancestors of Roac, and the Arkenstone as a crown above mountain kings head.

úterý 18. března 2014

Walking the other lands

Long time no post, but clumsy chisel work that ended up with injured finger got me thinking and slow down a bit. so here is the blog about my non historical work.
In my work that draws from my creativity and not from my knowledge of historical styles i tend to create visual language that represents the culture i am creating or illustrating. I think that ad-hoc item, created just from thin air seldom work well.
Most of my fantasy work draws its inspiration from Tolkiens Middle Earth, so i will ilustrate on that.

Here is some work i did from the culture around the town of Dale


the knife above is in Dalian style, its based on germanic animal style but apparently its obsessed with dragon. I did used germanic influence because Tolkien made Dale very Norse like. The idea is that its the EARLIER version of germanic styles so its very simple and has a very linear character

 Another Dalian work, still in progress, this i imagine as later more joyful and colourful but still very coherrent

This is the first piece i made in the style and its not so developed in systematic way but you can already see some distinctive features - a bone inlay in wood, a linear depiction of dragon, engraved blade and sheet metal ferrules.

In the honour of Beorn

i had a hard time  inventing how to portray Beorning culture, until i saw work of scottish painter Jon Hodgson. Some details on his work gave me an idea to use stylised animals and spirals as an ornamental element. Now i am pretty much at home around Carrock

here above is what i named knife of Beorn, not only because of the symbols, but also because it was challenge to make cool scabbard without leather as i wanted to commemorate Beorns peculiar eating habits

One piece antler belt buckle from this culture, the strap end will have a bee on it

 and i will finish with a future project sketch. Beorning war knife.

To be continued with other cultures...

pátek 1. listopadu 2013

Saxes in Salin style II

This summer and early autumn i was working on a series of blades from Vendel period scandinavia. It was great opportunity to learn to work in one specific tradition and also explore variations in blades and techniques. This period of history shows both stunning artistic coherrence and technical variability. Lets see the pieces!

The firts one is Vendel period short sax, blade is forgewelded of carbon steel and wrought iron. The body of the blade is inscribed with two grooves filled with stamped circlets. There is also inlayed rondel in silver. The handle is old ash with inset antler decorative strips. Fittings are fabricated brass. Sax sits in the scabbard made of wood, covered in leather and mounted with brass. Two decorative panels are made using pressblech technique

This one is much bigger and beefier, the blade is forgewelded of wrought and bloomery steel for the edge. One side of the blade is scraped with three grooves, each terminating with silver rondel. Hilt is one piece of reindeer antler deeply carved in chip carving technique with interlaced serpents. The fittings are silver and pommel is embelished with garnet set in the bezel. Scabbard is wooden core covered with tooled leather. silver clamps and antler buckles

the longest one is my reconstruction of possible look of Sax found in Torgard, Norway. The blade is forgewelded of wrought spine and 250 layers of laminated steel for the edge. There is long silver inlay of toothed lines meeting near the tip and terminating with rondel. The hilt is very unusual, almost swordlike with cast animal heads and organic guards sandwiched between metal plates. Wood is briar and is profiled to have excellent grip. Scabbard is swordlike, with bone slider and covered in tooled leather. 
Last one is the shortest but very sturdy. The blade is wrought iron and bloomery, stamped with patterns formed from circlets. Barrel like grip is old ash burl, deeply carved. the carving is red tinted. Fittings are brass, stapmed with linear and circular stamps. Sheath is heavy leather with brass joints. Surface is incised and tooled
This style is becoming to be mine most favorite and i am looking forward to next works in it

čtvrtek 4. července 2013

Fierce face!

The germanic art is my main inspiration and the area i am most used to work in. One particular motive seems to be attractive to me very strongly and thats the reason i wanted to look more into it. Its the wildman face, the fierce face or mask. I am not sure how it started, maybe as an inspiration from roman coins and medals germanic wariors were seeing in contact and service of Roman army. Sure thing is that you can see those en face portraits early on in oldest germanc styles. What interests me the most is the merging of the face to fit the environment and style of the entire piece. Bellow you can see the head plate of bow brooch in Nydam style. The head between those two beasts is very reminiscent of roman heads but you can also see how later Style I saucer and button brooches developed from that.
Nydam brooch, gilded silver. photo by Lukasz Dziubalski

Next one is the example of fully developed Style II art on Ultuna boat burial spatha scabbard. While the Sytle II is very international one and spreads over the germanic dominated Europe, incorporating en face masks seems to be very scandinavian fashion. Note how moustache grows to be body of two headed serpent

Ultuna scabbard detail. photo Lindsey Kerr

 The Oseberg burial contained also a cart with human heads carved in contemporary art style. More realistic, but still bearing trance like expression and formal traits like spherical eyes and open mouth.
Wooden cart post, Oseberg burial. photo by Lukasz Dziubalski
Norwegian strap end in bronze shows a fierce face in late Borre style. Note that the basic features are the same, big, circle like eyes, connected brows and the ribbon like moustache.
Bronze buckle in Oslo museum. photo by Lukasz Dziubalski
 Fully developed ringerike mask motive as carved in the antler walking stick terminal (?). Even when the execution is very formalised and the style is very baroque, you can still see the Ultuna face in there.
Antler walking stick head. photo by Lukasz Dziubalski
 Smaller version of face incorporated to a bronze buckle from gotland, easier to see common traits in here.
Bronze gotlandic buckle. photo by Lukasz Dziubalski
 Finaly i attach some of my work utilising the motive. I hope you find the longevity of the motive fascinating and inspiring.

silver inlayed axe head inspired by Bamberg casket mounts
The guard of this sword is replica of the find from swedish  Sigtuna. executed in moose antler.
Ringerike style mask ispired by the above mentioned walking stick
Transitional Mammen - Ringerike style knife handle of my own design.