Long ago, people made their First Night oaths while placing a hand over a hog’s head at the last of the Yule feasts of the year. Modern Asatrúar usually use a ceremonial ring or hammer these days. However, I thought it would be fun to sculpt a hog’s head from salt dough to use in such a way, or at least use as an altar piece or table setting to remind us of our ancestors. Here is how I made it:
1. First, I mixed up a batch of salt dough. To make the dough go further, and dry faster, I wadded up a piece of aluminum foil to go in the middle and wrapped the dough around it.
2. To the ball shape, I added a snout.
3. I used my thumb to indent eyes on either side of the head, and inserted blue marbles for eyes.
4. The end of a fork made a nice tool for creating a bit of fur texture.
5. I used a butter knife to create ridges on top of the snout.
6. The butter knife was just the right size for making the nostrils as well.
7. For the tusks, I made little indentions in the sides with the end of a wooden spoon and attached little tapered coils of dough. (Remember to lightly wet dough when joining pieces.) I used the same method to make the ears.
8. To add more dimension to the fur texture, I snipped lightly into the dough all over, from front to back, with scissors.
Later, I cut a slit in the mouth and inserted a ball of dough to resemble an apple. When the project was completely dry, I painted it with water-based antiquing medium, and painted the apple barn red.