I was honoured to be asked to make a bridal head piece by Lesley for her wedding to Gareth. Once the excitement subsided the enormity of the challenge dawned on me. Carried away with excitement, I began the process of researching and designing the piece based on the brief that Lesley had provided. The bow of the infamous Osberg Viking ship, upright and looming forward with prowess, strength and symbolism, yet delicate and comfortable to wear!
The task of capturing the flowing curves of such a mighty ship in something so small seemed daunting, but after days of sketching, designing and planning I had a strong vision of what I want to do. This included the use of traditional Viking chain to form the planks of the ships main body, alongside infinity swirls to represent love, and spirals to represent Viking shields.
Construction began with the ‘Alice’ band on to which everything else would be built. This had to be comfortable, and balanced from the outset, as any imperfection would be impossible to correct as the design came together. It had to ensure the ship’s bow stayed upright when worn. From here I began to develop each individual component part, with huge attention to detail, double and triple checking every measurement to make sure the final, three dimensional piece would look perfect from every angle.
I now had a bench full of component parts and at this point it felt a little daunting, despite the bulk of the work being complete and having a clear path for the construction planned out, it looked nothing like a ship at this point, had I bitten off more than I could chew?
I started to assemble the components, beginning with the Viking chain. Each piece of chain has a wire running through its centre, to attach each end to the frame wires and also to hold the gentle curve of the ship. Once these were secured in place, I was able to attach the central detail and the side panels, all of a sudden I had the beginnings of a Viking ship in front of me, but the most challenging part was still to do.
Over the next few nervous days, I could see my vision of the ship emerging from the tangle of wires! My doubts and uncertainty quickly started turning into relief and pleasure with each additional section fitting perfectly and precisely as planned. From that point I found it impossible to stop looking at it, at every opportunity! This long process was almost at an end with just the prow of the ship left to complete. One mistake at this point could ruin all that hard work. I inched forward, millimetre by millimetre, shaping and forming as I went, checking each measurement two or three times until I had formed a smooth spiral and the majestic bow of the ship came to an elegant point.
The final detail was the faceted white Topaz stone riding on the front of the prow. Elegantly mounted with a Viking knit bezel. I made a few final tweaks and breathed a huge sigh of relief, the head piece was now complete.
This is by far the most complicated and rewarding design I have made to date. I am absolutely delighted with the final result and have to admit, I spent a couple of evenings just looking at it, before I told Lesley it was ready!
About the artist
Abby Hook Jewellery Artistsee "Viking Ship Headpiece" on Abby Hook's website
Info for buyers
- accepts paypal
- accepts cheques
- international delivery
- 14 day cancellation period
- delivery usually 5 days