Tales at the Tap

The Ancient Art of Storytelling

Considering the venue, a telling of the mead of poetry is probably a good start.

There is another good tale about Thor fetching a cauldron from Hymr for a feast in Aegirs hall.

What went on in that hall is a tale for another time though…

Do you have a favourite story?

Invite your friends!


Trichinopoly Workshop

Learn the art of “Viking Knitting”

Fancy making one?

Thu 27Apr 2023 7:30 to 9:30 PM

Wordsmithcrafts Studio, Dumfries, DG2 9AU

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This is a booked Cluaran Craft club workshop with limited spaces, so that participants are sure to go away having made something.

It’s not knitting and it’s not specifically Viking era either, but that is what it gets called and you can use it to turn scraps of wire into bling!

You could use the time to make a bracelet from silver plated and copper wire to take away with you. You could also use the time to deepen your knowledge and skill in the art.

All basic materials and tools to make a bracelet are provided. Solid Silver will be available at an extra cost if you’d like a longer project to take away with you. (You could finish it off at a cluaran craft club evening)

If you have any questions please get in touch – or book a ticket using the link!

Want to level up – and work in silver? (extra material cost for the silver)

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Events Workshops

Cluaran Craft Club

From hot metal working (with Simon Lidwell S.A.U. artist)

Many years ago Wordsmithcrafts ran a “Medieval Craft Club”

Over time interest in it grew, and all sorts of plans were cooked up. Some of these plans involved actual cooking and one day we might publish some of the photos of feasting. We made lantern shields for parades, tried bowl turning, and blacksmithing – among other things! All the crafts had a heritage connection, but the aim is to not just make replicas but also to be inspired to create new things.

The time has come to revisit the craft club idea, so after Easter we will be running specific workshops.

To careful calligraphy…

We will also have general craft club sessions. We will ask for a £5 contribution to cover workshop overheads. Participants will be able to discuss and start “pay as you go” craft projects using Wordsmith Crafts tools and materials.

Participants are also invited to bring their own projects and use the time to “get around too it”, as well as share knowledge and skills.

If you are short of cash, but have time, we can work something out. If you’d like to become a Cluaran member and help this project develop – get in touch too!


Tales From the Longhouse

Back in Lockdown “The Viking Storyteller” and “Cathbad” got together to run evenings of stories. Three storytellers told a story each in a virtual longhouse.

People dressed up for the occasion, or even built forts from boxes. Whilst people were staying at home to stay safe the walls of their houses were dissolved and people were able to gather in one place.

They decided not to record any of the stories, in order to emphasise the live and unrepeatable nature of the event. Some examples of their storytelling, from rehearsals or other live events can be found here:

The Viking Storyteller (often going by the name “Olaf”) can be seen telling stories here:

If you are interested in a story about stories – here is a sweet one for you.

More info here:

Events Workshops

Jewellery Workshop

This summer we took part in the Kirkcudbright Arts and Crafts trail. This is a great open studio event, and for those who don’t have studios in Kirkcudbright (like us) there is a temporary artists camp set up in the town centre.

During the event we were approached by a member of the public whose wife had recently died. She was a silver smith and he wondered if we had a use for some of her tools. All he wanted in return for this gift was a donation to the MND Scotland charity.

Therefore, as artists, we decided that rather than just giving what we could afford we would donate a workshop sharing our skills in order to raise awareness and cash for MND.

You can take part in the workshop if you buy a ticket here:

You can find out more about MND Scotland on their webpage (and donate directly).
Arts Installations

Research and development

Some snapshots from us using the Wordsmith Crafts CIC studio to develop skills.



Two days of the land of legends in Barrhill woods.

We have created a storytelling area, a craft workshop, and a challenge of games.

Ogma’s challenge

This weekend we have mostly been working with children. Brought by their those who look after them, they have been introduced to ways of being human which inform the legends of heroes.

Lugh’s workshop

Their wits are challenged with the games and their patience and ability to learn tested. They can learn dexterity and team work using traditional skills to make friendship bracelets. In the storytelling tent they can use their imaginations to enter worlds where we learn to live.

Levarcham’s lair

Most of all, they have had fun.


Scottish Archaeology Fair 2022

Well we made it! Despite a torrential downpour during set up the team managed to pitch the Iron Age camp.

During the day the public encountered an inquisitive Roman. He was very curious about the state of the roads. He had travelled far with his marching kit, but what would the locals think of him? (And his gifts)

Photo from facebook

One of the Novantae was making armour, who knows? Perhaps the wire rings he was linking together will survive a thousand years in Carlingwark loch. Hopefully the memories of making that the public gained will last a lifetime too.

Photo from facebook

From further west, a Selgovae crafter helped bend wire to another use. She crafted copper alloy rings with people. She also told tales from the Iron Age to entertain and expand the minds of all those with ears for listening.

Photo from facebook

Next weekend we will be in Barhill woodland for the final outdoor event of the season.

Arts Installations


One of our community engagement tools is a large skin boat.

It was made one summer on the banks of loch ken as a community art installation. People dropped in (walking, driving, and boating) to take part in early medieval crafts and to help build the boat.

This was funded by Catstrand, and the loch was loch Ken, so the finished boat is called Catken.

She is in the workshop just now for some much needed repairs. Hopefully we will have her on the water again before the end of the summer! Before that she will help interpret the Archaeology of Carlingwark Loch this weekend in Castle Douglas as part of a land based display though.


A Viking Holiday

Cluaran has argued that the sea is a means to travel rather than a boundary. So, when not visiting Scottish Schools to introduce Scots to the Norwegian heritage of Scotland, our members sometimes go to Norway.

This year was a special year, as the west coast of Norway was celebrating the “Rikssamlingen” or “Forging of the Nation” by Harald Fairhair.

It is said that some of those who were not over keen on this left in their longships to find new places to settle, like Scotland, Iceland and anywhere else the sea reaches.

You can read more here in an article we were kindly sent by a Norwegian friend: