We Herts Folklorists 4!
Here is our fourth and final post for a special weekly blog series we’ll be running over the next few weeks, showcasing some of the wonderful talent of people who have recently completed or are currently undertaking the MA in Folklore Studies at the University of Hertfordshire. Throughout this series you will see some great folklore-inspired work, ranging from blogs to art.
This week, we meet Hildegunn Traa!
I grew up in Northern Norway way above the Arctic Circle with many tales of trolls, draguen, huldr and other creatures. I always had an interest in art, music and literature and this was reflected in my educational choices. In 2014 I finished a Prosthetic Makeup Course and migrated to the UK to complete a BA(Hons) in Model Design: Character and Creative effects. After graduating in 2016, I worked as a freelance Prosthetic/Creature technician and artist in the film industry. The work was challenging, but I still felt something was missing. In 2019 I found the MA in Folklore Studies and everything fell into place, my interests for mythological creatures, ghost stories and all the tales I grew up with. Even my final project for my BA was based on Huldra. I decided to apply and have had an amazing year and met a community I feel welcomed and at home in. I completed the MA in September 2020 with a dissertation with the title: Depicting Disease – Folkloric Motif of Plague and Pestilence Represented in Western Culture from The Black Death to COVID-19.
My folklore interests include topics on folk medicine, tales and depictions of disease, WWII hauntings, mirror lore, internet memes, sea serpents and folkloric representations of mental health. I use folklore in my art and make custom sculpture or paintings. I also use folk remedies in my soaps and will release a ‘Folklore-range’ of handmade soaps later this year. I continue to work freelance as a writer and artist. I hope to continue to combine my art and academic writing, with the ambition to create interesting and educational papers and exhibitions in the future.
You can see Hildegunn’s art on her Instagram account @hildiestroemseng_art