I'm excited to let you know that the interview in the Yule Asatru Herald that I've mentioned earlier, has just been published! Click here to read the full magazine!
The interview starts at page 27.
Thank you, Frigga! :)
(Or read the full interview down below)
First of all, thank you for inviting me. My name is Charlotte Boer and I am currently working as Atelier Solawende or Solawende Tattoo.
I am 26 years old, turning 27 with the upcoming winter solstice and am currently living in Bentveld, a small town in the dunes near Haarlem. A few years ago I graduated from art school with a degree in illustrative design and ever since I've been trying to develop my sense of what to do next. I work in a so-called new age shop three days a week and spend the other days improving my illustrative art and handpoked tattoos. My focus right now is to become more and more self sufficient with my art and tattooing and to hopefully open my own shop. This shop is for receiving clients for tattoos or illustration projects, but also as shared space and showcase for other creators. We could do lectures, workshops, story telling... I have a lot in mind for this place. It should be a place of art in so many ways; a place where art and (historical) culture meet and inspire.
- Has art always been a part of your life? What forms of art? -
Art always has been part of my life. Ever since I was young, I felt drawn towards the mythical side of life. While my little brother was collecting cars to play with, I collected trolls. My favorite movies to watch were the ones with fairytale stories and creatures. At the schoolplay I desperately wanted the role of the medieval witch. I loved history and the stories of the old gods and cultures. Combine these fascinations with the love for drawing and crafting and there you find the base of my work.
I've experimented with a lot of art forms over the years. Clay, wool felt, oil paints, watercolors, etching, book binding, photography, pyrography, collage, to name a few. The one consistent was drawing. Though I feel the need for cross-overs often(which drove the teachers at art school nuts haha!) and create something new.
I tend to feel into the story that I'd like to tell, collect a moodboard, let it brew for a while and then at the right moment of inspiration: start drawing. Usually the end result is pretty close to the first sketch I do, as I've adjusted and 'see' all the lines and symbolism already in my imagination. I sketch it down, perfect some of the lines or move around with composition and then keep it that way. For me this is the purest form to transfer thoughts or mood to paper.
I love to look at many different artforms, but one ingredient that I am always searching for is the right atmosphere. I want the artist to draw me into their world and show me what is there. Which is also what I hope to do with my own work, with anything that I do. Create an experience and to pull you away from your troubles for a little while.
- Where do you find inspiration for your art? -
My inspiration comes from many sources but most of all from the natural world and (Northern) European folklore. I cannot think of a drawing that does not at least include some leafs or animals or has a reference to a story of old. I tend to zoom in; admire structures and the landscape that, for example a piece of rock, shows for me to draw creatures or landscapes over. I create with what I find and find myself working with themes of light and dark. Life and death. The space in between and beyond.
- What part has heathenry in your life?-
The path of heathenry is one that has developed a lot over the years. When I was about 10 years old, I was hugely fascinated with the ancient Egyptians. I think I had borrowed and read all books the library had to offer at that time. I was hugely fascinated with the concept of the afterlife, multiple gods and goddesses and rituals. Now that I think of it, it is funny for it never merged with my drawings at the time. It was something that sparked for me on the inside, but I wasn't quite at home yet.
A few years later during high school I entered the world of fantasy fairs and became more drawn towards the Celtic mythology. Also the stone- and iron age inspired me a lot. This started to show in my drawings but I still wasn't quite there. I came across some introductions to the Germanic gods and at the time thought their pantheon was way too complicated and dramatic, haha! I thought of them as any other did; rude, extrovert, silly, like the heroes you see in movies. Where was the magic that I loved so much of the celtic druids..? ;-)
It wasn't until I stumbled upon the music of Wardruna in 2010 that my eyes were opened. I thought it was a little unusual but loved the raw dark feeling of it. Inspired I began exploring the runes and with them the stories and sagas. They grew on me slowly and then I found myself in a place where my life was intwined with germanic heathenry. I didn't really have a name for it then but noticed things were starting to fall into place. I found a group of people that were also searching for more depth and shared my interests. A few years ago we met at the medieval farm in Amersfoort where we had our first introduction to seidr and galdr by Einar Selvik and Lars Magnar Enoksen. There the circle was complete. We were bound as a group and from what we've experienced there, I knew that something had changed within me. I was home. A year later a second seidr weekend was held in which we deepened our roots and got even more curious. We've always kept in touch with each other and I find a lot of strength with these people. We continued learning.
Heathenry now is intwined with my daily life by the contact with the gods. The art I create inspired by the old wisdom or teachings or magic. The tools of galdr that I now know how to use when I need to. Use it for other people. The curiosity to more information on practices or historical finds and theories. The symbols that I use and wear. The experiences that I want to create for other people. The workshops that I give based upon my own experiences. And of course the many friends I found along this path. I cannot think of myself without them or heathenry.
-Tell us a bit about Solawende?-
Solawende is the name with which I create. Drawings, dotwork altar pieces or handpoked tattoos. It is a mashup from “Soli (har) venda”; which we can translate to 'the sun is turning' or 'the sun has turned'. It is a line that is sung in Jara, by Wardruna(Gap Var Ginnungap, 2009).
Like I mentioned earlier; I like the balance between light and dark. Day and night. The time of solstice when we are in between two seasons. This 'in between' is something I'm drawn towards.
As a nice coincidence, I am born on the 22th of december, around the time of the midwinter solstice.
Earlier I used to work as “Simbelmyne Hills”; the flowers that were said to grow on the burial hills of Rohan, in the Lord of the Rings series. Also a theme where the flowers work as the medium between the underworld and our- or upper world. Digging with their roots into the dark soil so their petals reach the sun. But this name was too confusing for most people and to be honest I found it a bit too nerdy too.
When searching for a better name it didn't take long until I took inspiration from 'Soli har venda' and came up with 'Solawende'. In honor of the balance between life and death and therefore life itself. Celebrating life and wonder.