Crafting Viking Festoon

Variety of large glass beads

Variety of large glass beads

Along with the ‘turtle’ brooches that I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to have the half-necklace/festoon that I’ve seen over and over again in the inspiration images. (Read more about Festoons here: Viking Costume Inspiration: Accessories: Festoons)

Picking the beads

I went into my stash of ‘large’ beads that I didn’t already have designated for another project.

  • Black and gold plastic beads – these are a fairly good size, and I am drawn to the black beads. They look slightly like clay beads from a distance, however I decided not to use them in the festoon.
  • A variety of glass beads – these would be perfect, and I used most of them for the festoon
  • Antique Venetian Millefiori beads from the early 1900’s. These are incredibly cool beads, and definitely have the bright colour combinations that would be right for Vikings, but they weren’t really right either for the festoon, so I skipped them too.
  • A variety of stone-like plastic beads.  The Vikings loved amber beads, so I picked out a number of the beads which resemble amber, along with a few other of the stone-like plastic beads.  Like the black and gold beads, I hope that from a distance these beads really do read as ‘stone’ rather than plastic.

Arranging the beads

Looking at the inspiration examples, I knew that I didn’t want obvious symmetry, or even obvious matching. You have NO idea how hard that was for me! Instead, I followed some of the advice that I posted on my research post for this project, and picked focal pieces to go in the middle, and then equally-distant around the rest of the festoon, with less-important beads in between. This ended up being tweaked a few times, and eventually I made one, and then a second a bit longer.

Stringing the beads

I just used beading thread to string up my beads, which is strong enough to support the beads, but doesn’t add any shape itself like beading wire sometimes can. I wasn’t 100% sure how I’d be attaching the festoons to my broaches, so I opted to put large lobster clasps on the end of the two strands, which keeps the two strands together. I also added in a crescent-shaped metal pendant which was salvaged from an old necklace which works – for now – looking a lot like a Lunula.

What do you think?

If you’re involved with Viking recreation – what do you think of my attempt? Any suggestions?

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3 comments on “Crafting Viking Festoon

  1. […] one above, and blue one below) is very similar to the blue doughnut-shaped beads I used in my own festoon, while the double bead (in bright yellow) is similar to the triple beads I bought in the Iceland […]

  2. […] attached them together so I’m calling it a single… You might remember this from the Viking Age Festoon post or from the post where I showed off my blue linen apron […]

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