I grew up with stor of the Vikings where creatures of all sorts were very much a part of life. Those stories didn´t always have a happy ending; they were certainly not Disney fairytales, but they did often include a deeper meaning or message and women portrayed as powerful beings as opposed to damsels in distress.
When I started working on this collection, I wanted to look at creatures that rarely were looked upon as inspirational yet had some adamant characteristics. They are powerful female deities, some of the godly origin while others were daughters of giants, sides of wolfs and serpents. I wanted something different from a typical nymph, goddess of love or the mother, quite the opposite. Depts of death, cold mountains, and stormy seas. Those are the inspirations for this collection.
Hel – Goddess of the Underworld
The first character I looked at was Hel. She is a woman who was punished for the sins of her parents and sentenced upon what might be rather than what was. With her father being the mischievous Loki and her mother being Angurboda, a creature of misery, Hel was cast into Helheim and made the ruler of the dead. She has described as half human and half monster – something I find inspiring as I believe we all have a monster inside us. When I was working on her outfit, I wanted to use materials that were quite connected to her characteristics, so I made a headpiece for her made out of Ravens feathers, fish leather, and volcanic ash. I wanted her beauty to come through as death is often the beginning of something. Without life, there is no death.
Skadi – Goddess of Winter
The second character I wanted to interpret is the giantess Skadi. A giantess who lost her father in a battle of wits and who was taught a lesson in vanity when given an offer of a husband – but had to choose him by his feet alone. As a goddess of winter, bowhunting and mountains, it wasn´t a match when her choice turned out to be Njord, the god of the sea. A game between the sea, mountains, the wind, and snow, can never be a peaceful union. I wanted to show her in her pure form as her life took on a route which was not of her doing but was a consequence of the choices of others. As a result, she has a fierce passion against injustice which is why I chose to display her in somewhat of angelic yet with rivers of water almost contaminating her yet the triangle of the past, the present, and the future bringing in hope as well.
Ran – Giantess of the sea
The third character came to me in a dream and reminded me of her existence that way. I have always had a huge connection, deep love and yet incredible fear of the sea but I was also married to trawler fisherman for many years and for any woman who has a husband at sea, Ran is the creature that you fear the most. She is the giantess of the sea who along with her nine daughters (sea waves) roams the deep waters in search for men. The girl crash into the boats in the hope that a man falls overboard where Ran awaits with her black net to draw him to the bottom of the sea where he becomes hers – never to return to land. The colors of the sea were something that I wanted to capture in her dress, along with the waves, so her dress became a roaring ocean. The top of her dress made from sustainable fish leather. As the sea is what connects all our lands, I asked family and friends from around the world to send the dress an offering of a gift from the sea wherever they live or of. It ended up with an incredible selection of shells, fish, glass, etc. arriving from Thailand, Australia, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, England, America, and Turkey. I used those gifts to create her headpiece, necklace, and her black net.