Welcome and thank you for taking an interest in what I do.
My name is Elizabeth, or Hlif when I’m being a Viking but a lot of people just know me now as ‘The Happy Viking’.
I am a leather artist, not a manufacturer. My passion lies in ‘keeping the old skills alive’ and by this I mean creating by hand! There are no machines involved in my work and I don’t believe in creating a design and then having it sent overseas to be mass produced.
I am also a Viking re-enactor and merchant, reader of Runes and a small business owner, as well as being mum to two beautiful teenage children (boy and girl), a lover of music, a keen gardener (who doesn’t get out into the garden as often as I’d like to) and a lover of the beach (not baking myself in the sun though). I love hanging out with my friends and spending time with my loyal companion, Mynni Fat Chops – my miniature English Bull Terrier.
I’m a positive person, a big believer in the Law of Attraction and going for what I want in life. I also believe that happiness is a choice. Saying that, I choose to live my life as happily as I possibly can by spending my time doing what I love and being with people I love. I appreciate the small things in life – like watching the sunset (especially over the ocean) or seeing the beauty in the weed flowers covering the back yard and having a picnic amongst them with my daughter. 🙂 I live in one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to – Maleny, in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, Queensland with my two gorgeous kids, my dog and cat.
I’ve always been fascinated by Medieval times but I clearly remember THE day that I ‘discovered’ Vikings – at the Abbey Medieval Festival in 2006. I sat down with a group called “Saga Vikings” and felt like I’d finally come home. I joined my new Viking family not long after and have been a Viking re-enactor ever since.
Leatherwork didn’t give me quite that same feeling … in the beginning. My first project (a pair of Viking shoes) felt like a nightmare but my second project (a Viking bag) – well, that was a completely different story! As soon as I started tooling the leather, it felt like something was stirring in my blood and once I started, I couldn’t stop.
For the next 5 years I kept on working in my “real” job, creating leather pieces whenever I could and dreaming of one day being able to make a living from doing what I love. I do believe that happiness is a choice, that we should all follow our dreams and do what feels right in our heart so one day, I made a choice. I decided to combine my two passions into one and start my own business … “The Happy Viking” was born! 🙂
I am extremely passionate about leatherwork, as I am with ‘keeping the old skills alive’ and promoting handcrafted products. I’m tired of this throw away society. I hate the thought of kids growing up, thinking that if something breaks it’s ok; they can just go out and buy a replacement. What ever happened to making things that last?
I taught my kids, from a very young age (as I was taught when I was young) that it’s not worth buying something cheap that’s only going to last 10 minutes. It’s better to save your money and spend it on a product that’s made well and is going to last 10 years or more.
To me, keeping the old skills alive is more than passing on knowledge and showing people how to make handcrafted products. It’s about discovering the meaning of true craftsmanship, having respect for the animal whose skin we are now using for our art and learning to use it resourcefully. It involves creativity, planning and problem solving. It’s about understanding value and passion.
There’s also another element to creating long lasting products that I’m passionate about – the enviroment. I often wonder how many people actually stop and think about where all their throw away products end up. Don’t they know about the Great Pacific garbage patch? I feel that there are too many people concerned about their own life; they just don’t seem to care about the future generations or the world we live in.
I love to share what feels good – whether it’s making a leatherwork piece for someone that they will love, teaching leatherwork and seeing the enjoyment that people experience from being creative, or sharing inspirational stories or things that I’ve discovered. I love my life and I am grateful every day for all that I have and all that I am.
Thank you for visiting my website. I love connecting with people so please contact me or come and say hello if you see me at a festival.
The Happy Viking 🙂
“Home” Header Photo: Brigette Grant Photograph