Chris is one of the most skilled and experienced knife makers in the Baltic States. He has had a passion for blades since childhood.
He learned the craft as an apprentice to a master bladesmith for 10 years. He has studied history and has done extensive research in historical blades and techniques, focusing on Damascus and pattern welded steel in Scandinavian Viking weapons - swords, knives, and arrowheads. Chris is the designer of the knives that are being made by the crew.
Martin comes from a multigenerational family of bladesmiths.
He learned the craft from his grandfather and father since he was a boy. Martin continues the craft of bladesmithing and teaches it to the next generation.
Kaspar is a 3rd generation smith, continuing, with hard work and dedication, in the craft of his ancestors. Kaspar's view towards his work is as follows: "It is not possible to do such hard work without feeling love for it, without loving what you do, without passion." Kaspar is the youngest smith in our guild, yet very talented, skilled and careful.
With prior knowledge and skill in metal working, as a welder and his passion for knives, he is determined to learn the trade and become a master bladesmith himself.
Gregory has been a bladesmith since 2005 when he joined a smiths club of “Historical Reconstructions” where a historical replica of an old blade had to be made. His passion and interest to steel and blades followed himself since he was a boy.
He is one of the best Northern european masters of forging difficult and unique Damascus steel mosaic pattern blades. Gregory likes history, mostly old Slavic and Scandinavian traditions in bladesmithing.
"As a child I had no trouble getting lost in the epic worlds I read about in the classic books and stories I loved, igniting my imagination, creativity, & artistic abilities from a very young age. I loved listening to my family’s stories of our Norwegian and Germanic ancestral heritage, and the evocative and mythopoetic legends they all entailed. Countless nights were spent by the fireside up north with my Opa (grandfather) and father telling stories of our family’s lineage who immigrated to the States only a couple generations ago. I look back on my childhood with thankfulness towards my parents and loved ones, who created a limitless environment for my imagination to run wild and grow in. Today I hope that my work as an artist, and particularly as a swordsmith, evokes the same feelings I experienced when first reading Tolkien’s novels and experiencing the world he crafted, I hope my work ignites the same spark in people that I felt being ignited in me when I first heard lines of Beowulf being recited in Old English. I hope my art brings people the same joy that I experienced when I first read C.S. Lewis stories, G.K Chesterton’s “The Ballad of the White Horse“, or John Bunyan’s “Pilgrims Progress”. Since falling in love with those stories, and since choosing my path as a swordsmith and artist, I now strive to use my creativity as a tool. A tool to create a path to enter into those epic tales, learning from the themes and truths they spoke of.
Alongside the stories I love, I draw a huge amount of inspiration from the rustic environments and communities I grew up in and traveled through. Just behind my grandparent’s house, on the shore of Scandinavian-heritage-rich Door County, Wisconsin, lay a huge expanse of tall cedar forests where my brother and I would go exploring. This was one of the first places that sparked an unquenchable desire in me to take inspiration from landscapes and weave them into my work. Other places that moved me were those such as the iconic green fields of Ireland, the forests of England, and the Northern Highlands of Scotland, all of which I explored while traveling in my youth and then later re-visited with my wife. All of them have equally fed my creative drive, and have helped me sink my imaginative roots deeper into a foundation on which to develop my art. Its places like those that inspire me to try and capture the natural elements in my work, either by carving organic shapes, crafting with beautiful wood grains, or etching rough textures into the steels I use. Artistically, I hope these details portray a sense of antiquity and depth.
For some a sword may be just that, a sword. But for those that understand my perspective and my goal, you might also have those adventurous inclinations when you view or hold one of my swords. You may, I hope, feel inspired to live not in selfishness, violence, hatred and revenge, but instead with honor, respect, grace, and love towards other human beings. I believe in the idea that we are all living in a cosmic story that’s much larger than ourselves. I believe in beautifully-absolute and unchanging Truth in the reality of good and evil, and that the split between the two resides within all of our broken human-hearts, which yearn for redemption and freedom. I think the sword is a perfect symbol to explore those truths, and delve deep into what makes human beings truly human. I hope that through my work I might inspire others to use the God given talents that we all have for a good and positive purpose, whatever it may be. God bless – David DelaGardelle"
Siluan was born in a family of carpenters. He has also worked as a timber framer, log builder, and cabinet maker. The craftman has a passion for hand tools and traditional techniques of woodworking. Siluan grew up near the forests around the woodland areas of rural Latvia.
Master green woodworker
Richard is an experienced green wood worker, wood sculptor and dugouat canoe maker. Richard’s passion to green wood and solid wood creations has grown together with him since his childhood days. Richard’s father is also a wood worker and carpenter and has led his son into the beautiful world of working with wood. Richard has gone through all the traditional steps of becoming a master woodworker - starting from an apprentice, then journeyman and then receiving his Master degree in Latvian chamber of crafts. Richard’s passion to wood is not only sculpturing and carving it but also knowing the wood in a scientific level. So Richard has studied in Technical university as a student and reached his degree of Doctor in engineering materials science, so he has combined the craft, nature and science in his life and work. While working in furniture making during the studies, with making different kinds of difficult wood carving for Jugend, Barrocal, Renesance design style furniture, Richard has discovered that he tends to get back to more rustic, robust and natural forms of wood, so he created a park of massive wooden sculptures, wood crafts museum and live workshop where Richard lives and creates wooden bowls, plates, boats and accepts visitors to share his work and lifestyle.
Atty is one of the most experienced woodworkers in Northmen guild. He has been working with wood for over 20 years. His attention and attitude to his work, so does focus on the details are rarity nowadays. Even the most difficult shape of wood or complex joinery is not a challenger to his skills. His patience, humbleness and love to his craft always inspires others. He always leaves his mark of unparalleled quality on his creations. His motto of life is: Work hard, stay humble.
John liked creating, building and constructing things of wood since his childhood days. He gained professional skills in craftsman high school – he became a style furniture maker and woodcarver.
John continued to improve his skills and knowledge in University, where he received Master’s degree in wood processing technologies and design.
Further he made good cooperation with other craftsmen of the field, continuing to broaden his skills.
Woodwork has become his lifestyle and labour of love. Master implements feelings and in his masterpieces, which are all made by hand. Inner motivation makes him evolve and create every thing as best as possible.
John’s grandfather was a talented woodcarver. His professional skills are verified by a victory in a prestige competition in England of making a copy of Thomas Chippendale’s chair. Jury was unable to distinguish original from the copy.
Master carpenter, timber framer, log builder and forestry worker - Andrew. Andrew is one of the most experienced carpenters and traditional log house builders in our region. His love and patience to the craft, his skills, accuracy and attention to detail, are exceptional. He is also dedicated to using his hands and hand tools as an extension of his mind and soul. Andrew also works in forestry, knowing when the best time when to prepare logs for his buildings comes – that is, when they are sleeping in a deep winter by the new moon rising. Trees felled at this time become strong and durable, becoming harder and harder as time passes, says Andrew. Knowing the nature and the knowledge our ancestors knew is a real treasure nowadays and Andrew has captured them in his skills. Andrew says: “Carpentery transforms nature into the culture. Transforming logs into the beams, and beams into the houses, and the houses into homes. It has been so in the past old days and so it should have to be also today”.
Log and timber frame builder. His craft began with the want to make or build something that would serve for centuries. He now has many years of working experience, during which he has built numerous traditional buildings. Ansis has knowledge of several different log building styles and techniques, such as dovetail notch, saddle (Canadian) style of notching, square and round cross notch. Has worked as lecturer in Vidzeme University teaching Wooden and Eco house building.
Master carpenter/leather craftsman. Founder of Northmen, and designer of Northmen woodworking tools. He extensively researches historical hand tools. He learnt the crafts from local masters. Studied culture, ethnography and history of traditional woodworking and wooden architecture and building techniques in rural areas of Scandinavia and Baltic States. He has a love of wood and leather crafts since childhood. He has a passion for traditional crafts and hand tools, especially log buildings and timber frames. An independent photographer and filmmaker.
A second generation carpenter of an Irish master carpenter coach builder, has worked with wood since he was strong enough to swing a hammer. While living in isolation in the woods, Jack taught himself to hand craft tradtional log buildings, before coming to Latvia to develop his understanding and earn the tools with which he could develop his craft. He now works in England and Wales crafting traditional, hand finished timber frames and log buildings.
Since being guided by a Master forester in Wales, Jack now works to share and extend an understanding of carpentry that is grounded in forestry practise and a reverence for timber as it stands in nature. From taking time to be in the woods, he feels people are better guided to craft timber more beautifully and create buildings which ease harmoniously into their environment. The quality of Jack's workmanship is reflected by his respect for nature and an enthusiasm for crafting buildings which befit the beauty of the woods.
Master leather craftsman
Before he joined the Northmen guild he apprenticed in leather crafts for two years. He is also a passionate archer, musician and poet, with poems published in several books. He is the youngest brother of carpenter Jacob.
Master leather craftsman
He's a passionate leather craftsman and creates mostly leather belts and bags. He's also a woodworker in free time. Andy grew up living side by side with the wilderness of surrounding forests. He studied science of forestry for four years and he can tell every nuance of every tree and its wood. He has lived in the atmosphere of woodworking since childhood and his father is a skilled carpenter and log house builder, who passed down his love to handwork.
Master leather craftswoman
Collaboration with bowyer Vilisters, as well as self-education allowed her learning about the characteristics and processing of leather. Archery was the main reason why she decided working on the production of dense leather equipment. Though historical, it attained a modern design. The production of every component is a result of a detailed study of the mutual relation between the archer and the surrounding environment. As Ketija is an archer herself, every detail has been examined in practice. The craftswoman appreciates and respects the gifts the nature is capable of sharing.
Master leather craftswoman
A keen leather craftswoman. Studied and graduated languages and communication science, but has found a deep gratification in the craft of leather work. She began working with leather as an apprentice in Northmen, continuing learning the craft with Latvian leather technique and material Master Inga Beikule.
Being in the leather workshop and creating a leather piece into a tangible, useful and beautiful object by using hands is her passion.
A mother of two graceful daughters. Jacob’s – the woodworker’s wife.
Mr. A. Vilister
He started his woodworking career as a woodcarver and wood sculptor by the age of 14. He has been a passionate woodworker over 30 years. His bows have received praise by many professional archers from all over the world. He focuses on the smallest detail and each bow he crafts is a unique piece of art. He joined our crew to share his craftsmanship and unite the traditions of woodworking and bow making. He took 7th place in the 2013 World Archery 3D championships in Italy with his own crafted longbow "Firebird" model and 2nd place (Silver Medal) in EIAC 2013 - European Indoor Archery Championships in Spain with his own crafted longbow "Livonia" model.
Mr. M. Zvers
Maris has been making selfbows and historical bows for more than 13 years, at first as a hobby but for last 6 years as a half time and full time job. For first time bow making bug bite him when he was 8 years old at traditional Latvian ethnic heritage camp where he had a class about Latvian warriors through history. Real bow making started a few years later when he found bow making related forums on the internet. Since that day most of his spare time was spent making bows and learning how to make them even better.
After graduating from university and getting his transportation engineer degree he didn’t want to spent his life in city and work for someone else so he decided to come back to his small rural hometown and do what he does best – make bows. From his university studies he has very good understanding of different material, physical, mechanical properties, glues and gluing techniques and has good overall engineer thinking.
Watchmakers – jewelers
Master watchmaker, engraver
He started learning his craft when he was 8, working with amber and metal as an after school curriculum. After finishing school he began studying in Riga Design And Arts collage and continued to study in University of Latvia`s Faculty of Education, Art Department. During his free time he was honed his metalworking skills starting from small jewerly and working up to large metal constructions.
At the age of 40 he opened his own engraving workshop. At the same time the fascination for making watches was born as well. After dedicating himself to learning the dream slowly became reality. He visited other craftsmen such as Till Loterman - a watch master in Germany, and Roland Baptiste - a world famous engraver in Belgium, to gain even more knowledge and practice. Now, after all this time metalworking is still his hobby as well as his job. In his own words: "It is a magical feeling to witness a formless piece of metal take shape and become a practical work of art."
Master watchmaker, engineer
Master’s interest on fine mechanisms appeared in his early childhood. First all the things of interest were disassembled and researched. Nothing has changed up to now!
Ingus was born and lived in a woodworking craftsmen family. He gained his first knowledge from his grandfather and father, spending hours at their grandfather's workshop at a planer bench. Later, in adolescent years the interest in precision metalworking appeared. Ingus creates metal bending hand tools for roofers. Things and tools invented by Ingus can be seen in at least 18 countries around the world. He is developing a unique Northmen watch design and performance.