Christmas is coming and I wanted to put together a blog post to highlight the work of archaeologists (including recovering archaeologists) and affiliated fellow travelers involved in various artistic and craft activities. In a world already overrun with mass-produced items that rely on increasingly extended and strained supply lines, I wanted to highlight some handcrafted items that will inspire joy this festive season. Over the course of the pandemic I’ve overcome the legacy of my Secondary School woodwork teacher who, on every available occasion for five years, told me I was rubbish and taken up woodturning. If you want to see some of my stuff, they’ll be at the end of the post, but I wanted to use whatever platform this blog allows me to share the work of others too … take a look at some of these gorgeous wares and consider purchasing from them …
Bryony Moss (@skjaldmaer) is an archaeologist and graduate student that produces all manner of archaeology-inspired stuff for sale via Instagram [here] and her Redbubble shop [here]. Frequent themes include the Willendorf Venus, and an Iron Age ‘Dragonesque’ brooch, and because it’s Redbubble, you can have the designs on mouse mats, t-shirts, cushions – whatever you like!
|Willendorf Venus print apron|
Lady Crafthole’s Cabinet of Crochet Curiosities
Lady Crafthole (@ladycrafthole) is, among other things, an archaeological illustrator of no small talent as well as being a remarkable crochet artist. You can buy downloadable crochet patterns to create your own crochet treasures from her website [here]. There are so many gorgeous items here, but for the Greek urn is just stunning.
Bryony pointed me in the direction of Nidavellnir on Etsy [here] where you can learn all about the ancient craft of Nålebinding, from buying Viking-inspired items (the Panelled Birka Viking Hat is a personal favourite) to beginners kits to start your own crafting journey.
Anna Dillon (@Anna_Dillon) is an astounding landscape painter of the English countryside, frequently with an archaeological or historical eye on the past. Check out her website [here].
Flaroh (@flaroh) specialises in ancient Mediterranean illustrations. Once seen, her distinctive style is instantly recognizable. She’s also all over social media and sells through Redbubble, Etsy, etc. and everything can be found through her website [Here]. It’s so difficult to pick a single favourite from her work, but – if forced – Medea's Cauldron of Rejuvenation is just gorgeous.
The @IntarchEditor got in touch to say that although they’re not makers, they do have a gift idea that can do some good. Their Open Access Archaeology Fund seeks to raise the funds necessary to support Internet Archaeology’s continuing commitment to Open Access publication and archiving by ADS. For a £25 donation you can receive one of their gorgeous USB Trowels. [Donate]
Based in Edinburgh and trading as ArchaeoArtist, Zofia offers a truly gorgeous selection of designs inspired by ancient Greece and Rome through her Redbubble shop [here]. As is the way of Redbubble, the artist produces the designs and you can choose to look magnificent with them on T-shirts, stickers, tote bags etc.
Don’t know who they are? Well, let me tell you! They’re: ‘Here to reset imaginations and tell the stories of TrowelBlazing women to inspire the next generation!’ The work they do is so very necessary & you can support them through their Redbubble shop [here]. Again, it’s the same deal as before – check out their designs and see them on the clothing, wall art, stationery of your choice.
Tactile Craft Works
Sarah Heck and Anna Warren run Tactile Craft Works, a Wisconsin-based leather crafters. They specialize in historic maps, laser cut into leather goods, including wallets, hip flasks, journals, and clutch bags. Check out their website [here].
R M Chapple Handcrafted
I started off watching woodturning videos on YouTube as a means of relaxing and stress relief, but with no interest in attempting it for real. It was only at the suggestion of my wife that I even considered taking up this craft. I got a bit of training & bought my own lathe at the end of 2021 and have worked hard since to build up the basic skills of bowl turning. Some of my work is inspired (loosely) by Irish prehistoric pottery shapes, while more of it is devoted to just making beautiful, functional & decorative pieces that wouldn’t look immediately modern if found sticking out of a section face. I’m not yet organized enough to have an online shop, but I’ve made a series of videos to display my wares. If you see anything you like, get in contact, give me the reference number of anything you like, & it could be packaged up and on its way to your home! (@RMChapple)
Assorted Bowls 101-112 [here]
A selection of Beech bowls [here]
Some Oak bowls [here]
My run of Yew bowls [here]
Assorted Woodturning Pieces for sale [here]
Some Indian Jones-inspired Grail replicas [here]
|Grails in progress|
This list is far from comprehensive, and I’ll be delighted to add other artists and crafters to it if you care to make contact. As shoppers looking for holiday gifts, I hope you look favourably on the folks featured here and help support them and their craft. Beyond that, I’d like this to be a simple reminder to support your local artists & craftspeople this festive season. Thank you.