Bodgit & Bendit produce a range of fine replicas, pottery, jewellery and other metalwork from the Bronze Age to the Medieval period. These include items made from bone, antler, wood and leather as well as hand sewn clothing and shoes. Orders from clients have included replica cheeses, hams and even log boats.
Originally specialising in objects from the Anglo-Saxon and Viking period, we began producing everything that a self respecting Early Medieval person could wish for. Over the last 15 years we have branched out to include many other eras and peoples - Egyptians being our latest venture.
All our jewellery is cast in the same manner as the originals were, using the 'lost wax' process. All pins are spring steel (unless specifically requested otherwise - some pieces always had pins made of silver or bronze for example) and are anchored using the same methods that were used at the time. Although our silver items are all made in sterling silver, they are supplied unhallmarked in the interests of authenticity. However, any precious metal item can be hallmarked if required (P.O.A) Hallmarking can result in a slight delay to normal production as it has to be sent away for assaying etc and will incur an extra cost. All our jewellery is available in bronze, silver, gold and can be hard gilt or gilded to replicate items originally made of gold - a huge saving... Some pieces can be made using lead free pewter - but this would be where the original piece was already in base metal. Pewter may be cheaper than bronze etc, but it is far more fragile and not suited to replacing all items originally made of stouter metals. We are happy to consider and quote for any and all commissions.
All our pottery is copied accurately from surviving finds and is based on examples from prehistory to the medieval period. These include both coil built and wheel thrown wares. Most of the glazes from the early medieval period onwards were lead based, giving a slight risk since prolonged use of the pottery could cause the lead to be leached out into the pot's contents... Fortunately, all our glazes are safe and remain accurate in appearance. The majority of the early medieval pottery would have been unglazed (with only the Stamford and Winchester wares commonly glazed originally for instance). In the interests of modern usage, most of our pots are available with a subtle glaze unless it is particularly inappropriate such as with Neolithic pottery for example.
Many of the objects that we replicate are made from the same materials as they were originally. Wood, leather, bone etc are all sturdy and long lived mediums and in many cases are quite unique and suprising additions to handling collections. Most children have never touched, let alone seen objects made from materials such as antler, horn or bone. A vast number of the larger objects are made from groups of materials and not always just from one particular one - even an antler comb has iron rivets holding it together.
All of the objects we make are quite servicable whatever material they are made from so that log boats float, pots may be cooked with over a fire and bellows will 'bellow'. Only in exceptional circumstances do we alter the materials any artefact is made from. As mentioned above, silver can be plated with gold, however ivory and certain gemstones are either far too expensive or banned. Mercury gilding could kill you and wolf teeth are just unavailable; also eagle feathers cost the earth - but we will attempt wherever we can to use the original materials if they can be had.
Some aspects of making replicas can be used as the basis for demonstrations and talks. Roman shoe making is one activity that people of all ages and walks of life can relate to in many ways. It has historical relevance as few people today have any experience of shoes being hand made whereas older retired people can often recall their fathers mending their shoes when they were children. This could be in the form of a 'Roman shoe maker' or as a workshop where the visitors get to make a simple Roman shoe. In addition to the shoe making, the process of leather production is explained in all its gory details. Bone and antler working is intruiging and relates to plastics we might use instead today. Stone carving is another activity that most people have never seen and yet so many monuments are made of stone that has lasted for centuries.
Workshops can be tailored to objects held in the museum to add additional interest - children can then be inspired to hunt for the original or something like it in the cases. They can then report back on what they have found.
Some children can't wait to be painted up as 'Celts' so that they can rampage about and rebel against the Roman yoke - or perhaps they just like to be painted and look strange... not that the look is confined to just children. Adults can be painted too if they are brave enough to carry it off when they get back outside the museum. The unexpected effect of this is that people outside become extremely curious about what is going on inside the museum and help add to the throng.
To obtain a catalogue containing over 200 items of jewellery and pottery from the stone age to the 15th century, we would recommend that you request via e-mail a CD with a PDF version of the catalogue and an album of images of previous commissions, or download the catalogue from this PDF link - BBcat2006.pdf. There is also a more comprehensive online gallery with comments and descriptions about the build etc that can be made accessible to you via this link - Replicated Artefacts, which we hope will give you an idea of the large and varied range of objects that we have made. All items are made to order and lead times vary greatly depending upon your requirements. Jewellery that is selected from the catalogue normally takes four weeks to produce.