Blue Ribbon Budstikke

budstikke replica woodturning

What is a budstikke? And why does it have a blue ribbon.

Well, a budstikke is an ancient message stick used in Viking era Norway. It is a hollow tube with a spike. The message would be placed inside and then the budstikke would be thrust into a wooden post for the receiver to find. The post could be an entry door jamb of a house or a post in the village center. This is like a portable and reusable post box.

By the way, if your Google budstikke you will get results for Norwegian and Scandinavian newspapers. This gives a good idea of why budstikke means ‘message stick’. Huh!!

My mother was the daughter of Norwegian immigrants and so I have some heritage that I was curious about. I did a bit of digital research and found some reference material on the Norwegian budstikke. It seemed like something I could make. Woodturning is the process of making wooden objects using a wood lathe, lathe accessories and hand held woodturning tools. It is a simple spindle turned box with a bit of ornamentation and a metal spike. I used simple wood turning tools like a spindle gouge, roughing gouge, skew and parting tools.

blue ribbon

In my digital research I found the Vesterheim – The National Norwegian-American Museum & Heritage Center, which is located in Dekorah, IA. They have an annual National Norwegian-American Folk Art Exhibit which ran through June and July of this year. So I entered my ‘budstikke replica’ into their juried exhibition.

I won ‘blue ribbon’ which is first place in the category of woodworking.

National Norwegian-American Folk Art Exhibit 2018 Winners

There is a jury of three judges that critique and declare the category ribbon winners. This year they decided the video the critique and post it to YouTube. 

My budstikke has a new home now as it sold for a very fair price and coupled with my winnings for the blue ribbon I have a pocket full of happiness.  I am a little sad that I don’t have this one anymore but I will just have to make another. Out to the shop and sometime soon I will show you the new one.


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