Victorias version is based on Jon Arnason 1, 81-82 from the book:- J.M. Bedell, 'Hildur, Queen of the Elves and Other Icelandic Legends', 2006, Interlink Publishing Group.
Like all fairy tales and folk tales with vivid descriptions and metaphors, there is always a lot left for the imagination to conjure up. I found this story fascinating and the specifics of the red head from the red cap a funny detail that makes the story interesting in my eyes. I edited the ending as the original says ‘And in any case you doubt the truth of this story, you should know that mighty whale bones were found washed ashore on the beaches of Lake Hvalsnes.’ Whereas I wanted to include the red cap as the pivotal evidence that this story might in fact be true.
My illustrations are made from lino carving stamps. I have made a whole lunchbox full of lino stamps from the story that means I can re-create the fairy tale in parts or as a whole wherever or whenever I please. I have focused in on one part of the story where the whale-man is terrorizing the fishermen in its new form as an enormous whale. Its red head a flicker of the life it had before.
The folklore exhibition ‘Illustrated Stories of the World’ at Hamilton House was an Open Call exhibition curated by Gordy Wright who invited illustrators from all over the social media world to apply. An invitation on Twitter gathered a collection of artists from the UK to USA, Canada to Argentina and beyond, with folktales from all over the world to be illustrated. Illustrators and artists responded to their favourite folklore, myth or legend in whichever way they wanted to represent their chosen narrative. Each culture has their own unique stories which have been passed down through their history; leading to an endless diverse choice of inspiration. The show brought together a variety of illustrators and their different styles and influences with an underlining thread of folklore to tie it all together. A golden thread of folklore, I should say.
Artists included in the show:
Janie Anderson, Patrick Atkins, Abi Bailey, Ballawaves, Mhairi Braden, Josh Burgess, Shafer Brown, James Boswell, Camilla Cacciari, Robbie Cathro, Allissa Chan, Geov Chouteau, Elisa Cunningham, Lisa Marie Davies, Draw James Draw, Chloe Dominique, Owen Gent, Jack Goddard, Akhran Girmay, Freya Hartas, Rachel V Hillis, Lara Hawthorne, Ruby Hinton, Lean Hound, Matt Hayton, Jessica Heitzenrater, Jesse Hodgson, Hanna Lee Joshi, Grace Kim, Molley May, Harriet Lee Merrion, Of Ink and Earth, Haejin Park, Adam Pritchett, Ang Hui Qing, Bailie Rosenlund, Simon H Reid, Sophie Robin, Eli Spencer, Eoin O Sullivan, Heather Savage, Ed Stockham, Marcos Santos, Mish Scott, Jay Arthur Simpson, Kim Tillyer, Raven Warner, Victoria Willmott, Louis Wood, Gordy Wright.
The exhibition ran from 6th April to 18th April 2018 at Hamilton House, Bristol