Hollywood’s portrayal of fierce Viking warriors in movies and T.V. shows during the middle ages has increased the world’s fascination with these Scandinavian Norsemen in the last decade.
Vikings, with their ornate carved shields, terrorized and colonized England for more than three centuries before their demise in 1066. When you think of a Viking, you picture ruthlessness and fearlessness.
“I certainly believe Hollywood can take credit for the Viking era becoming popular in pop culture in 2022,” stated Lenior, N.C. artist Jeremy Buchholz, who created the family’s Klan Rúnda business, along with his wife, Bekah, in 2019. “We feel blessed to have this non-traditional career we carved out for ourselves and love. It’s been an exciting three years, and we are honored to be part of the Village of Yesteryear at the N.C. State Fair so soon after establishing ourselves as working artists in this niche.”
Buchholz always dabbled in woodwork, even when he worked in law enforcement and sold his creations online as a side gig. Bekah was fond of Celtic art history, and together they created a few wood pieces featuring Celtic art in their online shop. The business now focuses on Celtic, Viking, and Norse wood art.
“Bekah suffers from a chronic illness, and I suffer from P.T.S.D.,” explained Buchholz. “We tried the traditional 9-to-5 careers, but life circumstances made it difficult for us to sustain. With Klan Rúnda, we can create art we love and, amazingly, share it with the world in a showstopping style. We make quite an entrance with our colorful wood shields and Nordic apparel at Renaissance Faires.”.
Buchholz’s son, Jerettt, has also joined the family business, “I do most of the artwork and design,” added Buchholz when talking about the creative process. Bekah mainly does painting, sewing, and finishing touches. Jerett is our production guy when we need to keep an inventory of a specific piece.
Even Dorsey, the family’s golden retriever, is part of the business.
“Dorsey models our Nordic-inspired dog house designs, but he is a medical assistance dog who helps monitor Bekah’s health and my anxiety,” remarked Buchholz.
The Buchholzes donate a portion of each sale to Paws4People.org, a non-profit organization with the mission to educate and empower individuals to utilize Assistance dogs to transform their lives.
The Runestone Viking chairs, one of their most popular artwork pieces, were designed with the purpose of Bekah to use during artisan shows. “Her illness causes her to faint if she stands for long periods,” explained Buchholz. “They are replicas of the Runestone U-460 found in Sweden. They are at the perfect angle and allow for the spine to elongate. People are surprised when they sit in one for the first time.”
Klan Rúnda specializes in functional pieces and furniture. They raise Icelandic sheep in the Appalachian mountains. Bekah used their wool for her hats and other garments in their shop.
In between public artisan exhibits like the Village of Yesteryear, the couple is developing and raising funds to establish a Viking Settlement for the public to enjoy near Lenoir.
You can learn more about Klan Rúnda on its website.
You will find the Village of Yesteryear in the Holshouser building on the N.C. State Fairground. This interactive exhibit encourages the continuation of artisan skills. Vendors also take custom orders.
The Village of Yesteryear operates from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, except on Thursday, Oct. 13, when the exhibit will open at 12 p.m