Today’s article in our series on the Kingdom’s Virtual Queen’s Prize Tourney is about an fascinating entry called the Birka Reproduction Tortoise Brooches, made by artisan Otilia von Passaw.

As we do not have the ability to converse with our entrants face to face, the Virtual Queen’s Prize Tourney has been offering the opportunity to drool over images and read the documentation on the Kingdom Ministry of Arts & Sciences website as well leave feedback. In order to learn a little more about the artisan and their thoughts behind their entry, the tourney organizers decided to broaden our traditional entry of object and documentation with personal interviews.


Birka Reproduction Tortoise Brooches made from pewter based on extant finds

Could you tell me a little about you, your persona.

My persona I play is a Viking in Birka, Sweden at about 970s Common Era. The tortoise brooches are something I would use.

What inspired you to make your entry?

I was inspired to make my brooches as a challenge to myself to make my kit closer to extant pieces and knowledge. I have been working in pewter for only a short time and find that it is pleasurable. In mundania, I have been a dental hygienist and assistant for more than two decades and have the understanding of negative/positive impressions and the tactile knowledge for carving. There is always a need for Viking brooches as new folks are putting together their kits. I plan on making several more sets of these to give out. This pewter project was my fifth but also the largest and most complex that I have undertaken.

What is your intention with your entry?

My intent in making my entry first was to give them away for the Æthelmearc Gift Exchange as I had all of the supplies and this put me within the money parameters for the exchange. I do wish to continue to make and refine these.

Did the entry throw up any unexpected issues?

No, unexpected issues arose during the making of my entry that increased skill won’t take care of.

Did you learn something specific, something you would do differently, or would recommend others to do again?

I would not procrastinate creating my documentation.

What motivated you to enter the Virtual Queen’s Prize Tourney?

I entered a Birka Viking wallet several years ago and had a great learning experience. I appreciated the SCA members who have been creating for much longer than I have. I will admit seeing all of the creations in person at an event was phenomenal. Our virtual format is what is required at this time and can reach many more people. This, too, is a noble undertaking and appreciate those that set this up. I have had no down time as a nurse, so this was made around my COVID-19 work schedule.

A giant thank you again to all that have been instrumental in allowing the Queen’s Prize Tourney to continue with all of the constraints.

Thank you, Otilia von Passaw, for sharing your wonderful work with our Kingdom’s artisans and populace!

If you would like to see Lady Otilia’s entry, follow this link. And if you liked her work, have a question to ask, or a tip to share – please leave your comments with her entry! You can “Leave a Reply” at the bottom of the entry’s page. (Their Majesties announced the winners in Virtual Court at the Æthelmearc Æcademy on July 11.)