Our new Nordic Heritage tartan was created for anyone who wishes to celebrate their Nordic/Norse/Scandinavian roots. As you probably know, Nordic peoples and Norse culture had a very strong influence on the history and cultures of Scotland and Ireland including technology, political and social structures and art. Viking settlements evolved into some of the greatest cities in the British Isles such as Dublin. Many Scottish clans trace their lineage back to the Viking settlers or marriage alliances with Viking families. (a great example being Somerled, ‘King of the Isles’, whose Nordic paternal line resulted in three major clans; MacDougall, MacAlistair and MacDonald) And of course here in North America many families have both Gaelic and Nordic ancestry.
With all these things in mind, we set out to create a tartan that encompasses the spirit of those peoples of the North. We chose a variety of colors that were used by Viking-age peoples, and which are still emblematic of contemporary culture. They represent both the flags of the Nordic Council nations and territories (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland) as well as the dramatic climate of the far north:
Blue - This color stands for many things including the oceans, the seas and the sky above. Judging by archaeological evidence and historical writings such as the Sagas, blue (usually derived from woad) seems to have been the single most popular color for Nordic clothing. Blue also represents the Norse god Odin - lord of Asgard and deity of wisdom.
White - Ice, snow, the caps of waves, silver and the ‘Sunstones’. Silver was the main trade metal and “money’ of the Vikings. Most jewelry found in archaeological sites is silver, not gold. The famous Sunstones were calcite crystals whose light-polarizing qualities allowed the Vikings to use them as compasses on their journeys.
Black and Grey - The night, the fjords of Norway, and rocky shores.
Red - Fire, passion, the warrior tradition of the Norse, and of course the god Thor who was noted for his bright red hair and bright red temper.
Gold - Gold was an important metal to the Nordic peoples. Our gold line also represents amber. Known as “Freyja’s tears” amber was prized for its use in jewelry. It was a major export of the northlands, as it still is today.
Marled yarn - In point of fact, most common people in the Viking age did not wear a lot of dyed cloth. Rather, farmers created patterned cloth by intermingling the yarn created from black, gray and white sheep. We selected a marled Gray yarn as a nod to this custom.
In considering this tartan, we found ourselves with an “embarrassment of riches” in terms of symbolism to include. How can one design encompass such a rich culture? Can you capture in cloth the drama of so much history? In the end we had to trust our instincts. We hope you will feel we “got it”. We hope that when you look at this tartan, you will get a feeling of adventure…of courageous deeds in a forbidding world…of a legacy as strong as a longship and deep as the ocean.