Björk Haraldsdóttir – Skáldkonur

Storytelling has become important in Harraldsdóttir’s work, seeing the patterns as almost braille like, depicting stories and words from old literature and sometimes mythology.  The patterns are the stories and the vessels are their keepers.  This has not changed the concept of the work but the conversation and connection between the creative process and the final outcome is progressing all the time.

This new collection of work has story telling at its heart; it attempts to depict the mainly spoken but occasionally written word from the Nordic Saga era. Each piece is connected to a form of story telling from women swapping stories whilst travelling, Skáldkonur, to the more structured and written word of the Skaldic Verse and Edda poems.

The group of works known as ‘Skáldkonur‘, meaning ‘women who make stories‘ depicts the women in the time of the Sagas who travelled around the Icelandic countryside telling tales from other counties, sometimes true but also often made up. Their stories were not generally written down, but were told mouth to mouth over the centuries, thus recording events which otherwise might have been forgotten.  Each of the vessels represents a woman from this group of story-tellers, one of which is blue, a first for Harraldsdóttir, introducing this ‘special’ colour to her more usual monochrome palette, but also a colour that was thought to represent wisdom, power and magic. The women were often presumed to be witch-like due to their knowledge of others and possession of these traits and with the addition of Icelandic Lava and Indian silk seem to add a figurative feel to the vessels.

Other works such as Skaldic Verses are most representative of Harraldóttir’s understanding of pattern and how she imagines the manuscripts of the Skaldic Verses to have been, consisting of complex metrical structures, its riddling syntax, and the liberal application of an idiosyncratic form of metaphor known as the kenning.  The Fairytale pieces hark back to their rich heritage in Iceland with their forms reflecting the mountains and hills where the creatures or ‘Hidden people’ are believed to inhabit, only showing themselves to the chosen few on New Years Eve.



Bjork Haraldsdottir

- Present ]
Born in Reykjavík, Iceland, Haraldsdóttir’s works are inspired by Nordic pattern and folklore. Her family was originally from a small village on the Snaefellness Peninsular called Olafsvík in the shadow of the celebrated twin peaked glacial mountain that inspired Jules Verne’s novel Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

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