A company whose products are manufactured in Scotland and sell to consumers and TV production companies around the world is set to open its first retail outlet in York this summer – with a promise of a different shopping experience.
Jim and Cat Glazzard are the people behind Asgard, a company which specialises in manufacturing historically accurate replicas of Viking and Anglo-Saxon jewellery, armour and weaponry. Based in Dunoon in the south of Argyll and Bute, their creations are shipped around the globe. Pewter replicas are particularly popular with the re-enactment community and production designers on series live History Channel’s Vikings, where durability is as important as accuracy and style, but their purchasers are united in their love for Norse heritage. It is unsurprising that they selected the Viking capital of the North for their first venture into bricks-and-mortar retailing.
“York is where I developed my love for archaeology, earning a degree from the University of York, and first exploring re-enactment, before joining Jorvik Viking Centre in 1999 as a costumed interpreter. Here is where I started to look closely at the Viking-age artefacts, and I started to teach myself how to recreate designs of items that had been found here – combs, cloakpins and the like,” explains Jim. “As my skills improved, I developed a reputation for creating high-quality replicas, suitable for use in museum displays – indeed, you can handle examples, including a Viking padlock, at Jorvik today!”
A move up to Scotland in 2004 paved the way for the business to grow with larger premises for manufacture, and they now employ seven craftspeople in their workshop in Dunoon. They are regularly seen at trade fairs and historical events around the country, and Jim can often be seen using a small forge at the annual JORVIK Viking Festival, but from Friday 26 July, they’ll be regularly found on Little Stonegate, next door to the Art of Protest Gallery. The promise is for more than just a retail outlet, though, as Cat explains:
“Whilst we’ll be sourcing a few complimentary products such as fabric items that we don’t manufacture, we want to create a shopping experience – talking to people about how items are created, advising re-enactment enthusiasts on how to add to their existing collections,” she says. “We also want to encourage people to handle the products that they may have seen online – these are not lightweight, mass-produced items, but hand-crafted using traditional skills. We have a huge amount of confidence in our products, and we’re keen to share our knowledge and experience with them, whether devoted Viking fan, or a lover of a particular design of pendant or brooch.”
Jim and Cat have got a few surprises under their helmet for the launch event. “It almost goes without saying that there will be Vikings, but watch this space for the arrival of something very special onto Little Stonegate,” adds Jim.