The battle between Harold and Harald at Stamford Bridge is considered to be the end of the viking age. It has been over a millennium since the era of longships, warhammers, and wolfish Drengs. We are seeing a resurgence of Viking craft. It appears that the answer has to do with the internet.
Three blacksmiths who practice the art of viking smithing were tracked down by me to gain some insight into this phenomenon. Modern Viking merchants mostly focus on forging millennium-old weapons using period techniques, resurrecting and honing a skill that has been largely absent from the world for almost 1000 years.
Why right now? For the first time since the 11th century, Viking smithing has become a viable way of earning money thanks to the ability to sell specialty items via trade websites. The dedication required to make something of this vocation is immense.
From a young age, the three blacksmiths were fascinated with the culture of the Vikings. Hallisey was always interested in warrior culture, but gradually developed a particular affinity for all things Vikings and samurai, which he notes are both very different in culture and beliefs. Anderson has a connection to the Nordic countries. He has been influenced by the stories of all the ice giants that he heard as a child. The northern Germanic culture has always been a part of her life. She was a child when her father read her the sagas.
It's special to people because it reminds them of a time when they were more focused on the basics and less on social media and cell phones. When tools were not running off electricity and the water was clean, it was nice to go back to that time. The other blacksmiths agree. The desire to be transported back in time is what drives contemporary interest in Viking culture, according to them. It is somewhat ironic that the internet is facilitating that desire.
Hallisey says there's a need to go back to our roots because of a primordial instinct. People in this day and age are sorely lacking in their connection to nature and the gods, which is what the Viking Age was like. We couldn't be further from nature. Many of us see that modern life is not making us happy. Our ancestors helped make our spirits whole.
People have begun to act on that instinct because of how ubiquitous the mythology is in pop culture. There has been a lot of video games that focus on the culture of the Norse people, from blockbusters like God of War to critical darlings like Hellblade: Senua's sacrifice. Robert Eggers' The Northman is a film that has received a lot of praise.
“It’s going back to the ways of our ancestors that helps make our spirits whole.”
This interest can be brief. The day-to-day business of contemporary Viking smiths depends on a lot more than a random guy who buys a hammer because he likes a movie. She thinks that people are more interested in Spartan interest now than they were a decade ago, but will they care in the future? It is difficult to know.
It is very difficult to get into this job. You need to learn smithing techniques from the 8th century if you want to begin. There is no point in calling a sword a viking blade just because it is modern. The entire endeavor is worthless if it is not authentic.
There is always room for dedicated people who would like to learn the science of this craft. Discipline is needed to make it work. Hard work is needed to make it happen. Ninety percent of people will be stopped by those two things. You can't be a member of Amazon Prime. There isn't a quick way to get there. That is the reason it is worthy. It would be common and nobody would care about it.
There will always be a dedicated audience for those who learn a trade like this. It is part of an all-rounded way of life that viking smithing is. Hallisey says they cater to people who are interested in ancient Norse spirituality. Every piece forged by an expert smith is infused with deep, individual meaning, which is reflected in the actual process of crafting them.
According to Hallisey, many of the weapon designs are based on archeological finds. Each weapon is unique because it is hand- forged from quality steel. We do the same thing as a blacksmith from the Viking Age would do. An intent, a blessing from the gods, is something that cannot be said in words when a weapon is made for one person. We try to instill the warrior spirit into our customers so they can battle their way through life with good fortune and success.
The relationship between wielder and smith is intriguing. When she was a child, her father read to her stories about heroes who discovered their power after finding their sword.
The great warrior is nothing without the great smith, who gives power, so I learned very early on that. I have traveled across many cultures, but I always come back to my Germanic roots. The greatest collection of warrior art the world has ever seen was created during the migration era to the pre-Christian era of the Nordic countries. I have been doing this for 20 years and I don't think I will change my mind anytime soon.
This is how all of the smiths I talked to felt, this is their true calling in life. It isn't a lucrative profession, meaning that it's almost entirely driven by the love they feel for practicing it Hallisey says that the majority of what he has accomplished is due to luck. He admits that he is not good at business. If I knew what I was doing and not just taking shots in the dark, I would be even more successful.
Anderson concurs. He knows that most of his success has come from his own hard work and persistence, but he doesn't think luck has played a part. When internet sales began to take off, he began doing his thing. I saw the rise of online sales and decided it was the perfect time to start my business.
There is always room for creativity and exploration. For a long time, my business was a part of the online selling marketplace. Even though there are more people making and selling similar items, my business is still growing and expanding. We need more people doing what they like. The world would be a lot nicer.
With a lot of experience, Morningstar can talk to this idea. For most of the time, she had barely any followers. That didn't change how likely she is to continue dedicating her life to smithing
She says that most men see a woman making something and assume she's not good. I have dealt with many horrible comments. In March of 2020 when people were at home, I think people found my website and thought, 'Huh, a juggy redhead forging awesome blades and shooting cinematic videos?' I want you to count me in. I don't think I'm any more of a novelty than I already am. I will make these items until people forget about me and I die.
“I’ll still be making these items until I’m dust.”
Her point about passion superseding all other things is compounded by the bumps she has hit along the way. She is able to make a living from her craft, but her revenue streams are limited. She doesn't earn any money from YouTube or TikTok because she doesn't like how she dresses, but she still uses the platforms to advertise her other work streams.
Having to endure toxicity from people who resent your successes is an opportunity cost of having an online endeavor.
Every other person I've coached on social media, I've told them they have to show their work, because every guy who is mad that their low level work doesn't take off just screams that I'm a sellout or I'm only a pair of boobs It's the way the program works.
She knows her stuff, both in terms of managing her online presence and crafting amazing Viking weapons. Her most popular video, in which she hand-forges a 750-layer sword, has been viewed millions of times.
She says that she had all of the big strong men tell her that it can't be done with a power hammer. I did it easily because I didn't want to shock them. There are only four million views on the video sharing website.
There is an exact type of Viking heritage being celebrated. Hallisey once made a blade for a woman who wanted to propose to her boyfriend with it. He created a seax that a father wanted to pass down to his son as an heirloom that could be gifted and regifted to each generation of children for centuries to come. He says that these are much more than just steel, leather, and wood. They have a lot of meaning.
Anderson says that he has done custom shields for people. I painted masterpieces for people going through divorces and difficult times to portray their ex- husband or wife as monsters out of myth and legend. They wanted to commemorate their rough experience by hanging something on the wall.
“The Etsy marketplace has become the ultimate place to do this.”
The value of the work of these smiths should be obvious. Hallisey points out that Viking smiths from a millennium ago were driven by a love for the craft and not much else.
Thanks to the ingenuity and dedication of the metalworkers who first practiced the art of viking smithing, we are where we are today. This niche and passion-driven profession is not about money. We honor where we came from as craftspeople. It is the duty of people interested in the subject to support it.
Anderson says that the best place to do this is on the marketplace. While we have a large number of items in our West Wolf Renaissance shop, we are still a small team. Some of the makers on the platform are one man operations. If we can, we should close the Walmart and Amazon tabs in our browser and look for gifts and unique items on the internet. Supporting people who follow their interests is important.
Hallisey would be homeless if he depended on his income. I get a lot of fulfillment when I make custom weapons for customers and hear how they like them. It is more valuable than money in the end. Cattle die, kinsmen die, the self must also die according to my favorite poem in Hvaml. The reputation of every man is not dead.