Trondheim reconstruction

Here, about a month ago, I got another wonderful challenge in the long line of commissions which makes me better. This time, a brocade reconstruction based on this little 3 cm long, 9 mm wide piece of silk and gold found in Trondheim around the 11th century.


The text reads: “Very small, approx 3 cm long cardwoven ribbon found during excavations at the people’s library property in Trondheim. Photo by Per E. Fredriksen”

This is a ribbon commonly reconstructed in brown, but since this this particular commissioner loves getting into the nitty gritty details of things, she contacted the originlar archaeologist on the site, and had it confirmed that the ribbon had originally been more of a reddish brown. We tried finding information on how silk changes colour as it ages, but found nothing tangible.

From a lovely lady in England, I was also able to find some proper gold thread, meaning a flat ribbon of gold, spun around a core of yellow silk. Gold threads these days are usually wound around a core of polyester, even museum reconstructions, so we were particularly chuffed about that one (even did a flame test to make sure it was the real deal).

trondheimsbrokade 1b

Particular comments: This ribbon in 60/2 silk is indeed 9 mm wide, but the silk is clearly a little thicker compared to the original find, this made perfectly square patterns very difficult. The mammen cuff, for instance has been found to contain warp thread in 100/3 quality silk, but no similar information could be found for the Trondheim ribbon (and the only 100/2 silk I could find was white).


Nevertheless, as a first official reconstruction, I hope the commissioner will be pleased.

trondheimsbrokade 2b

40 cm long, 9 mm wide, 60/2 reddish brown silk from the Handweavers studio and gallery in London, gold spun around a silk core from Elisabeth Da’Born.

Time: about half an hour efficient weaving per pattern repeat, about 13 hours in total.


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