Rune carver school  
Ornamental art 

Time to start with the ornamentation

Your stone is blocked up correctly and the surface is cleaned.

If you want your stone to be noticed and taken care of in the future, it has to be interesting, correctly carved and beautiful to look at. Take it slow and be really careful, your work will be inspected, analyzed and criticized by many during the 1000 years to come!

Ornamentation and symbolism
There are many different kinds of “styles” on old rune stones, those which are most developed are called “urne” style and rune stone style. I will concentrate on these two types. The head motive is one or several long, ceremonious dragons, powerful animals which the rune carver binds in the stone.

By binding/fettering the dragon in the stone, the rune carver can get the control over the power that the dragon has. I see the dragon as a watcher and protector of both the stone and the rune inscription, like a leashed guard dog in a hangar.
Fots runsten från slutet av 1000-talet tål att granskas
Link in new window

Leash/fetter with coils
Study old rune stones and look at ornamentation’s coils. Every time a body crosses another one, it goes above every second time, and under every second time. Above, under, above, and so on. In that  way, the rune carver locks the dragon in the stone. Pull in two ends of the ornamentation 
and everything will be one big knot. This is the locking, so be really careful with the plaiting so that everything plaits over the whole inscription.

The first thing I look at when I see, for me, a new rune stone, is if it is correctly plaited. You will probably get some problems with the plaiting yourself, so take a look at Fot’s “top products” here to the right. 

You may take inspiration and learn from his work, but not copy it. 

Fots runsten U 177 mellan Åkersberga och Norrtälje
Link in new window
It will be noticed in the future and your stone will be sent of the croup of “copies”. 

To make it easier for you to see how Fot’s stone really looks like, I have coloured the ornamentation to how it might have looked 900 years ago.

Leash/fetter with a bond.
Sometimes the ornamentation’s coils is not enough to fetter the dragon, and sometimes there are no coils at all that crosses each other. Then you have to fetter the dragon with a bond from the neck to the tail. These bonds are materialistic and often made very beautifully.

How do I start?
Draw your rune stone’s carving surface on a paper. Sketch the ornamentation until you feel satisfied. Now try to sketch the ornamentation on your stone with a blackboard chalk. Use a suitable brush to rub out incorrect strokes. 

Link in new window
When you are satisfied with the ornamentation you fill in with a durable paint.
A few tips!
Your newly raised stone will sink in the ground during the years, and the grass will grow in front of it. Leave 20-30 cm free from ornamentation at the bottom of the stone.

Try to make drawn carving lines meet in an angle, that will make the carving easier.

Never put two carving lines closer to each other than 15 mm (e.g. between the eye and the forehead).

Uppdated 17 januari, 2006 by Kalle Runristare All rights reserved, ©