Thursday, 27 November 2014

Symbols and the Natural World

Fossil ammonites wall plaque

New ranges of hand sculpted plaques 

in our Wood and Metal Collection!

The first three plaques in our two new ranges called

'Symbols & Motifs'
'Landscapes & the Natural World'

(updated 16/03/15 - originally one range, now split into two, as above)

Designed to look good individually, or displayed as a set, each plaque in this new range features a design by bod based on an ancient symbol, or an object from the natural world, hand sculpted in metal and mounted in a hand crafted oak frame ~ 16 cms square.

The new range launched with three designs:

Metal ammonite wall plaque

Fossils ammonite wall plaque

New designs have since been added to the
Symbols & Motifs Collection:

Article: Brentford: an example of early British Celtic Art

Article: The History of Brigid's Cross

Article: Horns-of-Odin

Spirals - Triple spiral wood & metal wall plaque

I'm sure bod will be adding even more over time....

Thanks for reading!


Justbod Team

Pop over and see our main site:

featuring work for sale by bod
~ inspired by a love of nature and history ~
Celtic, Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Mythical sculptures, carvings and artwork 
inspired by history and nature, and made by Yorkshire artist bod.

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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Historic Goodmanham: an ancient pagan temple and a beautiful bench.....

Historic Goodmanham East Yorkshire

Adventures around Goodmanham, 
Near Market Weighton, East Yorkshire.

When we trooped through Goodmanham on a Justbod field trip, we had no idea how much interesting history had occurred in this beautiful village. It was only when we got back and started researching that we realised that Goodmanham is a truly ancient site, where big events had occurred in the past.

With finds dating back to the stone age, the village boasts many ancient earthworks, and one of the most ancient roads of Britain, near the Western boundary.

All Hallows Church, Goodmanham

In Saxon times the village was the location of one of the main pagan religious sites of Anglo Saxon Northumbria (at this time it was an enormous kingdom stretching from the Humber to the Firth of Forth, and Westwards all the way to the Isle of Man.)

In 627 Goodmanham was witness to a pivotal point in British history when King Edwin of Northumbria was converted to Christianity, and his high priest Coifi took actions which led to the sacking and burning of the pagan temple. It is related by St Bede in his 'History of the English Church and People.'

All Hallows Church, Goodmanham

It is believed that All Hallows Church now stands on the very site of this ancient temple, originally a pagan shrine.

All Hallows Church, Goodmanham

A beautiful church, sited on a raised knoll in the centre of the village, we only had time to view the outside, as it was locked and we didn't have sufficient time to get the key from the pub with the remaining daylight that we had left to complete the trip. We will have to go back someday, especially in the light of all that we have learnt.

A bit further on the Wolds Way is one of six Poetry benches made by Angus Ross from steamed oak with the following atmospheric poem by John Wedgwood Clarke, a Scarborough poet, carved into it:

"From dark to dark the bird flies through the fire-lit hall,
flies through the axe that strikes the shrine,
through burning that grows once more in stone and coloured light,
through rain as it amazes chalk
and flowers in this latest cup of breath."

Poetry bench near Goodmanham

I think the bird in the poem is a reference to the speech made at the conversion of Edwin, reported by Bede, where the parallel is drawn between a person's journey through life and the flight of a swallow, entering a great hall through a window, finding comfort momentarily in light and warmth, before flying out the other side, into darkness.

I also think the axe is a reference to the axe thrown into the shrine by Edwin's High Priest Coifi, just before his followers burnt down the pagan temple, (although in Bede's text it is a spear.)

These are purely my own interpretations, and if anyone knows any more about the references in this poem, do please let me know.

Here's the text from Bede:

"Then immediately, in contempt of his former superstitions, he (Coifi) desired the king to furnish him with arms and a stallion, that he might mount and go forth to destroy the idols: for it was not lawful before for the high priest either to carry arms , or to ride on anything but a mare. Having, therefore, girt a sword about him, with a spear in his hand, he mounted the king's stallion, and went his way to the idols. The multitude, beholding it, thought that he was mad; but as soon as he drew near the temple he did not delay to desecrate it by casting into it the spear which he held; and rejoicing in the knowledge of the worship of the true God, he commanded his companions to tear down and set fire the temple, with all its precincts. This place where the idols once stood is still shown, not far from York, to the eastward, beyond the river Derwent, and is now called Godmunddingaham, where the high priest, by the inspiration of the true God, profaned and destroyed the altars which he had himself consecrated."

These were just a couple of the very interesting things we found on this trip. There was also the Wonderland Tree, Britain's Tallest Man, Londesborough Village / All Saints Church; and St Helen's Holy Well.

A great area to visit and explore!

Thanks for reading!


Justbod Team
Thank you to Kevin F. on Facebook for the extra information in his comment on our Facebook post on 17/04/16

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Horns-of-Odin : origins of the design

Horns of Odin wall plaques
Horns of Odin - a design by bod in our ever-popular 'Dark and Light Collection' of hand made plaques.(Now also available in a metal version)

This stylised symbol of three interlocking horns is most associated with the Norse God Odin. Three is an important number in Norse mythology and drinking horns figure heavily in  many stories of Odin, particularly his quest for the magical mead of poetry sometimes called Odhroerir (although this can also refer to one of the Horns) created from the blood of Kvasir, another Norse God who had been murdered by dwarves. Odin hoped to gain Kvasir's wisdom by drinking this magic mead.

Horns of Odin wood plaque

Many modern day pagans also wear the symbol to represent the Asatru belief system.

The motif is also often known as the Horn Triskelion. A triskele (from the Greek 'three-legged) is a symbol of threefold symmetry.)

The three interlocking horns are shown in several runestones, including the Snoldelev runestone (DR 248) and the Gotland runestone (G268) from Sweden.

Marieke Kuijjer via Wikimedia Commons

I'd love to say that all of the above were the reasons that I wanted to create a piece using this lovely motif but, no, they were just a bonus!

I work aesthetically, and am far more interested in how I respond emotionally to something and how it 'speaks' to me. I love the image, its symmetry and sense of movement. I find it powerful and quite muscular in form and really wanted to represent it in my work.

I plan to create one of my sculpted metal pieces using the same motif.

Pyrography Celtic & Viking Wall Plaques

The design has been hand burnt onto birch wood, which has been mounted in a handmade oak plaque - one of several different designs in our Dark & Light Collection

Every stage of the process has been done individually by me, by hand.
Update: Now also available as a hand-sculpted metal version, 

Horns of Odin hand sculpted metal & oak plaque
From our 'Symbols & Motifs' Collection

I hope you like Horns-of-Odin.

Thanks for reading!


Justbod Team


Artwork, carvings and sculptures by bod
~ inspired by history and nature ~

 You might also be interested in: 

  bod's Runestone, Grettir's Saga and a Matter of Trust


  Scandinavian ironwork on an ancient Yorkshire door?


Runestone - bronze & oak wall plaque from Justbod
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For regular updates on new products, articles & offers:  

Sources and further information: 

Symbol Dictionary
Horn Triskelion: Three Horns Viking Symbol
Runestones Gotland
Pagan and Wiccan Symbols