Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Beautiful old things, part 2.

Húsið á Eyrarbakka has, among many other things, an amazing collection of embroidery- and other handcraft samples. Here's some of the most amazing pieces that I saw there. The photos are extra large I'm afraid, that's the only way to really portray the sheer awesomeness that's gone into making the pieces.

This one may not look that impressive unless you know just how TINY it is. I would hazard a guess that the width of it is about 10cm.

I have a weak spot for embroidery that mimics real plants and I spent a long while just staring at all the effort that's gone to making this piece.

Likewise - amazing work! I'm especially fond of the silver embroidery on the heart.

There were also some weaving samples. Again, the size of these is very small in reality.

Here's one of my favourite items in all Icelandic museums: leather slippers. These were a very typical kind of footwear in Iceland, worn by almost everyone in one form or another. The material varied according to what they were used for and what the owner could afford, but the main things stay the same: the slippers are made of leather and have a decorated wool insole. 

According to our history teacher the wool insole was crucial since the leather would wet through. The people who do historical enactment wearing viking era clothes second this, when you're wearing shoes like these you either have to pad the bottom with wool or to sit a long time next to any fire that's been built on the site, trying to thaw your toes. :D

Another pair of slippers, this time made out of seal skin. The pattern of the insole is very typical to Iceland. You can see similar ones in the shoulder area of Norwegian sweaters, but curiously Icelanders rarely (if ever) use this pattern in knitwear other than mittens or the insoles of these photos, at least far as I've noticed.

Some amazing pieces of national dress jewellery. Just look at that filigree! 

I would wager a guess that all of these except for the front right piece are parts of the headdress. The exception, to me, looks more like the front piece of a belt. I may be entirely wrong though so feel free to correct me - now I wish I had had the sense to look at the backside as well while I was there! But noooooooo of course I just spent my time jumping up and down in front of all the prettyness instead. :þ

I'm a total sucker for calligraphy so guess how much I twitched just looking at these. And that sheep bone bobbin, oh my Bob.

Two langspil! I still want to buy myself one but the only place I've seen to sell them is that instrument shop downtown, and the ones I tried there don't stay in tune. You tune it and three bow-pulls later you have to re-tune...

One of my favourite items of the museum, a completely hand sewn national dress, a skautbúningur. Btw you can compare the belt on it to the one in the glass case.

The bust and the headdress. The fabric seems to be mostly wool with velvet decorations going around the bust and the arms.

A detail shot of the veil. Our specialist Rinna could probably tell more about how it's made...

The embroidery on it is quite amazing.

The decorations on the arm.

...and the hem.

I'm not entirely sure what this one was used for but will you look at that embroidery!

Look at it!


And finally another sample done in metal thread + assorted items. That bone carved piece is a real work of art even when broken.

There was much more to see in the museum of course, I was going mental over everything amazing I saw there. If you ever happen to come over to Iceland do keep this museum in mind: it's not far away from Reykjavík and there's lots to see on the way there as well. The only downside is that if I remember correctly it's only open in the summer.


  1. Replies
    1. Niin onnnnn~ Haaveilen työpaikasta tuollaisessa museossa. :3

  2. I forgot to comment about the lace! It's most probably a good quality copy (by leavers machine) of lille or tonder type bobbin lace.

    Amazing handicrafts! I love the idea of hiding a pretty decoration *inside* the shoe.

    1. Thank you, your eyes are sharp as ever! :D

      I know right. It gives an already pretty and well-made item a little extra boost that it's going to be used so that no one's ever going to actually see it except for the wearer.