Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sod Texture, inspiration and potential!

Pile of sod 'bricks' or is it 'slabs', I don't know, just outside the home stead at L'Anse aux Meadows - as far as I remember they used about 6000 pieces of sod to build a  sod house. These were leftovers from the renovations which had been undertaken on the longhouse over the last little while.
A piece of wall showing some newer and some older parts of a sod wall -
The walls sink about 1 inch a year so the door frames and doors have to be changed and refitted, or .....perhaps they add more sod around them on a regular basis - am not into the real exact science of how to build with sod =-)

On the original sod house there was no covers on the skylights during the renovations this had been added and it makes a lot of sense. The original skylights can be seen in this promotional film found on YouTube.

Pegs holding the sod in place at the top of the wall, just as it starts reaching upwards into the roof.
And a whole new piece of wall, the shape and structure of each piece of sod is still very sharp and fresh.
As a person easily excited by textures, well, my eyes and my fingertips were feasting for a long time at this site.
And an older building, perhaps one of the buildings which were first built when the Parks Canada site opened. The original buildings are long gone, what we see looking over the landscape is low narrow mounds lined up, the last outline of the walls where the buildings once stood.

And here is the last piece of sod, hopefully it can excite and intrigue you as much as is did and does intrigue me - L'Anse aux Meadows is a magnificent place to visit, not just because of the viking site but the whole drive up from Deer Lake, along the coast of the Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland is  something I have never seen or experienced before.
The mountains, the table lands, the feeling of the caribou living and giving birth up there, just as we were going through, the many white spots of snow still lingering far into the summer, the moose on the road, at the side of the road, on their knees, bending, looking, contemplating why we would want to be moving so fast.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Glimpses from the viking longhouse!

We spent quite a few inspiring and informative hours in the longhouse the first two days we were there. It seemed that once we got in there was way too much conversation holding us in place to just up and leave again, too many stories to hear and ideas to put out there for exchange.

This is the view from main entry way, back to sleeping quarters of chief and second in command. Three rooms stretch out in front of us.
Everything is very rustic and solid, sod walls covered in wood paneling, the beam reaching upwards holding the ceiling in place. 

Grapevine basket on wall in small bedchamber
Upright loom, opstandervæv - Traditional loom, warp weighed down and kept taught with rocks or clay disks.  Weaving happens 'upwards' and a tool called a hræl is used to  beat the weaving into place, this tool is shaped almost like a boomerang.

One of these days I will get my own upright loom going, oh, but exactly when is hard to say, I have had the privilege of having one for the last 10 years and ..... I keep stalling, weaving is 'easier' on my big floor looms. 

Storage containers, the big ones made by the cooper in Shelburne, Nova Scotia and the smaller ones at Ross Farm, Nova Scotia.
I have watched the cooper at Ross Farm in action many times as we have spent many a weekend there with the kids when they were you.

Curator, chief, navigator and Parks Canada representative discussing what needs to come out of the treasure box for this season of exciting events.

There are so many things to consider when trying to equip a historical site. Historic correctness is one of them.  And historic correctness can be an interesting topic when many of the artifacts have completely disintegrated and you have to rely on your own good sense and knowledge, books and information from different places of the world. Archeology is very exciting.

Wall of tools, not yet filled up for the season. All tools are sharp and ready for use, and .... often curious fingers need band-aids!

It was a most marvelous visit and I am so looking forward to going back some day, I hope in the not too distant future.

When I go to Denmark in the fall I will visit some of the Scandinavian viking sites and talk to people about......... yes, textiles, textiles, textiles - so many things to learn, I feel like a racehorse ready to throw itself over the start line, but probably it is better that I don't start running until I can use my plane-ticket in July, since canoeing across the Atlantic might not be the smartest idea of all, after all hurricane season starts around then!