Bjørgvin Marknad is people. People who share a common passion. People with huge amounts of knowledge. People who are skilled in many crafts. People who are dedicated to preserving the culture and ways of their ancestors. People who keep crafts and ways of old alive. People who appreciate genuine craftsmanship. People who are eager to spread their knowledge. People who want to learn themselves.
As an organisation, our main goal is to arrange a market and a gathering – a viking and medieval festival, as we are officially called. In addition to the annual event, we strive to gather members for workshops and other activities as well, given initiative and resources. All this is achieved because these lovely people choose to spend their time and energy towards realizing this goal, on a purely voluntary basis. For this they deserve our gratitude and praise! We exist only because of their extraordinariness. As one of the founders, this makes me extremely humble.
Bjørgvin Marknad is a family. Through a series of presentations, and in no particular order, I would like to present our family to you.
Leila works with research administration and contributes to various tasks within medical research.
She spends a lot of her free time on historical activities. ‘I am interested in all sorts of crafts and arts.’ Growing vegetables and gardening are also an interest. She grows ‘historical’ plants, some of them for dying. In addition, she started beekeeping a couple of years ago, now also has honey for sale at the markets.
She likes to try different techniques, but always comes back to wool and sewing. ‘As a viking or middle age person I am first of all a crafts person.
I am fascinated by all the beautiful clothes and decorations they made.’ She has experience with tablet weaving, needle binding and hand sewn clothes in linen and wool.
Her family used to participate on markets. As the time went by, the eldest children got interested in other things. ‘For now, I have one little girl left that joins the historical journey with joy and passion.’
‘The tradition for me comes from Sweden, where my family joined the weeklong middle age and viking festival on Gotland. When I came to Bergen, I heard about Bjørgvin Marknad. I told my mom about it and decided to sew historical clothes for everyone in my family, as my mother did for us earlier.
We joined the market. I didn’t know anyone, but with time I have become friends with many good people with same interest.’
She tells that she has learned many crafts and the history of the vikings and middle age people. ‘I have read about findings and how the archeologists have interpreted the findings. It is exciting to think about how the people were living and how they managed. I ask myself, what made sense to them and how they interpreted the life they were living.’
She is moved by the sheer beauty of it all. ‘I love to be surrounded by handcrafted things made from all-natural materials, as well as the people to meet and talk to about same interest.’
Leila shares a dear memory: ‘One summer the little girl of mine and I joined the feast at evening time. It was her first time at the feast. Virelai was playing and my daughter was excited and participated in the dance. I was very happy to see her experiencing the viking feast, the people, the music and the dancing. She was self-dependent and didn’t hang on to me but joined the others. It was good food and many happy people there that night. I will never forget that evening.’
Leila has contributed to Bjørgvin Marknad in many, many ways over the years. She shares her knowledge, engages and motivates others, as well as helping as a volunteer and a board member on occasion. Leila is a dear member of our family. And we thank you so much for all of your passion that you share!
Espen & Lena
Next up is a very dedicated family, in deed! Let me present to you: Espen and Lena Kutchera and their The Past Time Family™
They both work at museums, Lena as head of department for Western Norway Emigration Centre MUHO, Espen as educator for the Bergen City Museum. Espen has his office at Hordamuseet where Bjørgvin Marknad is situated. ‘Our lives, both at work and in our spare time, circle around history, archaeology and cultural heritage, and “time travels”,’ they tell me.
Their contribution to the environment, and markets and events is huge: ‘We have a shoemaker’s stall, where we sell Viking Age and Medieval shoes and boots. We also sell some other leather items and lots of needle-binding socks, mittens and hats. We are not in it only to trade, but also to demonstrate our crafts, talk to visitors and let them do DIY-activities, like leatherwork, pewter casting, small textile work.’
This reflects my piece of advice to you all: You should not be in a hurry should you stop by their stall and say hello to the couple, because you are most certain to spend some time learning a thing or two!
Espen started with living history at the museum, on events and school visits, and the rest of the family gradually pulled in. We at Bjørgvin Marknad are very proud to hear this: ‘We became part of the Viking-Medieval-reenactor milieu through our participation on Bjørgvin Marknad.’
‘Our whole family of five used to attend, hence the name “The Past Times Family” (Fortidsfamilien), but the children seem to have grown out of our hobby and field of interest.’
‘Nowadays we like to make camp together with our friends in Bjørgvin Handverkslag, a small association interested in Prehistoric and Medieval crafts. We often do activities together as a group on both Bjørgvin Marknad and other events.», they tell further on.
«Usually we attend a handful of historical markets and festivals, in addition to living history museum events during normal years. We have also spent parts of summer vacations on living history arenas, as well as minor hikes and excursions to use and test our historical shoes, clothes and equipment, or just for fun.
Asking them about continuing with the ‘hobby’: ‘Absolutely! Our plan is to develop further and be even better, both as Fortidsfamilien and as members of Bjørgvin Handverkslag.’
And why do they do it: «Being able to step out of the modern world, or at least get a sense of what life could be like in times when everything had a slower pace. The living history gives us something to look forward to, and to prepare for, and an escape from everyday life.’
They are not on a brake, even though the world seems to be, still crafting and making stuff until they are able to participate in markets and events again.
You will never find these lovely people anything but cheerful and smiling when you walk by their camp site. They are most certainly appreciated participants at Bjørgvin Marknad, and valued family members!
Donald & Wenche J. Shaw
Don and Wenche are a long time running vikings together. Wenche practices many different handcrafts and Don spends a lot of his pastime making music instruments. He says he loves making instruments and trying to play them as well. The rest of us enjoy and appreciate the environment they create together. It is always a pleasure to come by their tent, enjoy a chat, a toast and a laugh.
Don says that they would visit maybe three to four markets in a normal year. ‘Before corona, Gudvangen was our main holiday for the year.’ They have been vikings for about eight years now. Three daughters and their children have joined them over time.
Don quote: ‘I’m a Viking 🙂 I just love hanging out with friends and having fun. It’s nice to remove yourself from the realities of life. I love history, trying to relive it and educate others. My focus is on exploring instruments.’ Don has learned a lot over the years and says: ‘I knew little on Vikings before I entered the tribe. Schools are falling short with the real story.’
They define friendship as the best thing about being a part of the viking scene. ‘Evenings when the public have left the camp’ is a special time to enjoy a market. About Bjørgvin Marknad, they say that it is a fun and a friendly event with a relaxing environment. They inform that they will continue with the viking life for as long as they can. ‘Because we enjoy the friendships.’
At their home they have spent quite some time and effort on their ground creating a very nice place for small private gatherings for family and close friends, by building a small house with an indoor fire pit, a boathouse and even a sound studio. We have joined their lovely family for an occasion or two, and enjoyed a gathering for old time vikings and younglings, sitting, talking, singing and watching the fire.
We appreciate these lovely people and are most fortunate for having them at Bjørgvin Marknad, and for the joy they spread.
Come back in a while for more 🙂