About the Artist – Sigrun Lara Shanko

Sigrun Lara Shanko wearing her Handpainted Silk Charmeuse CoatSince Sigrun Lara was introduced to silk painting,  in England by the Guils of Silk painters in 1995, it has been her passion. She new that she had found her medium to work with and since then has aimed to perfect her own style. Passionately driven for silk Sigrun Lara educated herself and taken various courses to advance her skills to approach the silk in her own unique way.  Sigrun Lara has worked as a professional artist since 2004.

Sigrun’s favorite works are wall hangings and the inspiration comes from the Icelandic Sagas, the Edda poems and Nors mythology.

The Vikings/Norsemen where heathen men mainly Danes, Norwegians and Swedes. The word “Viking” means “fighting men” or “bay men” and the Viking age is thought to be from ca. 780-1070. Vikings/Norsemen where great shipbuilders and navigators that sailed the high seas. They settled, amongst other places, Iceland and Greenland before continuing to New Foundland and eventually reaching New England, or Vinland around the year 1000. Also they settled in Ireland, England, Russia, France, Italy and Sicily. No Viking thought destiny could be changed as the fate of gods and men alike was already decided by the Norns. Both men and women expected their share of trouble, but nevertheless celebrated life and above all good friendship. Through bravery and loyalty they strived to win fame and a good name that would out live them.

The literature. The character of the Viking people is reflected in the myths and the poetry of Havamal and Voluspa, both from the elder Edda. Voluspa (Sibyl’s Prophecy) is one of the greatest literary achievements of the Germanic world. Powerful and moving poem describing the worlds creation, golden age and total destruction before starting new cycle. The elder Edda, or poetic Edda, is a title adopted for 34 poems unified by subject and form, thought to be contemporary with the old faith as they represent an original source for numerous myths. Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241) was a great poet and a landowner reciting in Iceland. He wrote “Heimskringla”, the history of Norway, from legendary origins up to his present time. But his most significant work is the Prose Edda, written about 1220 includes rules of poetic diction, quotes extensively from the scaldic poems that would otherwise been lost to us. The Icelandic sagas were written in the thirteen century. They reflect the spiritual philosophy and attitudes of their protagonist, illuminating some of the pre-Christian belief and practice.

The runes. For ca. eight hundred years the runes reigned supreme in Scandinavia, and then co-existed with the Roman writing system for hundreds of years after the introduction of Christianity. One of the oldest runic inscription was discovered in Gotland, Sweden, dating around AD 200. The runes, 24 characters in all, are known as the elder FUÞARK. Around the year 800 the system was simplified to 16 characters called the younger FUÞARK. The name FUÞARK is made of the first six characters in the rune-row. The runes were used either in single or in a group for religious secrets and magic but also for leaving messages such as the commemorative stones, describing some ones great achievement. Marking personal items including weapons and to enhance their power in battle by carving a particular god’s name on them and at last they where used for pure graffiti.

Sigrun Lara has taken part in exhibitions both in Iceland and abroad.  She is a member of the Icelandic Guild of Textile www.tex.is,  Association of Icelandic visual artists www.sim.is / www.umm.is and Surface Design Association www.sda.org.

Comissions are welcomed. Please contact the artist either by phone or by e-mail.

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