HASHTAG: #FolkStoryFriday – Weekly Folklore Illustrations

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Illustration of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm's "Bruder Nickel” by artist Natalie Very B
Illustration of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s “Bruder Nickel” by artist Natalie Very B

#Folklore is on my list of regularly searched Instagram tags.  Imagine how excited I was when I discovered a new tag to explore each week:  #FolkStoryFriday.

The #FolkStoryFriday hashtag is a perfect coming together of two worlds:  folklore and the magical illustrations that bring them to life.

The artists behind #FolkStoryFriday, Natalie Very B. (@natalieveryb) and Maia Stark (@maiastarkk), first connected over a mutual admiration for each other’s work and a shared love of cats.

Illustration of Ernst Meier's "Deutsche Volksmärchen aus Schwaben" by artist Maia Stark
Illustration of Ernst Meier’s “Deutsche Volksmärchen aus Schwaben” by artist Maia Stark

It turned out they also both have a passion for folklore.

I really wanted to have an official reason to publish something significant every week; something that would keep me accountable to create a beautiful work of art.  Soon after, Maia started a catalogue of folklore and we kept on adding stories that touched us…Whenever it’s my turn, which is every other Friday, I reach to the cultural mash up of folklore and pick whatever quote speaks to me the most that week.  (Natalie Very B.)

The artists take turns choosing a folktale excerpt from their database, and they share the weekly prompt on Instagram.  On the following Friday, illustrators across Instagram participate by posting their own visual response to the prompt.

Illustration of "The Dark Daughter of the Norse King" by artist Katya Grikit
Illustration of “The Dark Daughter of the Norse King” by artist Katya Grikit
Illustration of Irish folktale "The King of Cats" by artist Natalie Very B
Illustration of Irish folktale “The King of Cats” by artist Natalie Very B
Illustration of Indian folktale "The Timid Hare and the Flight of the Beasts" by @clayhorsesdesign
Illustration of Indian folktale “The Timid Hare and the Flight of the Beasts” by @clayhorsesdesign

For artists who show their work online, it can sometimes be difficult to maintain inspiration and connect with others who are doing the same thing.

#FolkStoryFriday gives artists a way to participate in an online community while stretching their own creativity.

It allows me to try different styles, techniques, media, ideas. There’s something freeing about being tasked to draw a specific thing in a time limit. You have to quiet the doubtful part of your brain and just put yourself out there. I like thinking on the stories as I draw, it has a different feeling than when I’m making work as part of my usual practice, which I typically feel quite stressed about!  I think it challenges me to try different things and to reach out and form connections with other artists.

(Maia Stark)

The folktales these gals choose to explore range from the tale of a goddess from Northern Germany to the story of the King of Cats in Ireland.  By exploring this “cultural mash-up” of folklore, the artists are giving new life to tales that have existed for centuries, throughout the world.

Illustration of Clemens Brentano's "The Ballad Loreley" by artist Katy Drijber.
Illustration of Clemens Brentano’s “The Ballad Loreley” by artist Katy Drijber.

Illustration of Antoine Vérard's “Pucelle Venimeuse” by artist Maia Stark
Illustration of Antoine Vérard’s “Pucelle Venimeuse” by artist Maia Stark

The whole process revives the shared sense of community that is at the root of folklore and allows the stories to re-emerge in modern culture through the interpretation of illustrators.

We thought it would be fun to include others in our challenge, and to inspire a wider community of people. It’s important to me that more illustrators, both professional and emerging, hear about this project. I really want people to have a reason to create.

(Natalie Very B.)

If you are like me, you won’t be able to get enough of the varied artistic interpretations of these folktales.  My personal favorite of the prompts is the story of the goddess of Hertha Lake, a folktale from Northern Germany.

Not far from Hertha Castle there is a deep, black lake, surrounded by woods and hills. The goddess bathed there several times each year. She rode there in a carriage covered with a mysterious veil and drawn by two cows. Only her consecrated priest was allowed to accompany her. Slaves were also brought along to lead the draft animals, but they were drowned in the lake immediately upon completing their task, because any unconsecrated person who caught sight of the goddess would have to die. For this reason nothing more is known about the worship of this goddess.

(Hertha Lake, A Legend from Northern Germany)

Illustration of "Hertha Lake," a folktale from Northern Germany by artist @chateau.brutal
Illustration of “Hertha Lake,” a folktale from Northern Germany by artist @chateau.brutal
Illustration of "Hertha Lake," a folktale from Northern Germany by artist @clayhorsesdesign
Illustration of “Hertha Lake,” a folktale from Northern Germany by artist @clayhorsesdesign
Illustration of "Hertha Lake," a folktale from Northern Germany by artist Jesús Cortés
Illustration of “Hertha Lake,” a folktale from Northern Germany by artist Jesús Cortés
Illustration of "Hertha Lake," a folktale from Northern Germany by artist Katya Grikit
Illustration of “Hertha Lake,” a folktale from Northern Germany by artist Katya Grikit
Illustration of "Hertha Lake," a folktale from Northern Germany by artist Natalie Very B
Illustration of “Hertha Lake,” a folktale from Northern Germany by artist Natalie Very B

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If you want to explore this project further, be sure to search #FolkStoryFriday on Instagram and check out my Pinterest board dedicated to the hashtag. I am excited to see how this project expands and what these artists come up with next.

Illustration of folktale "When the Whole of England Was Overrun with Ghosts" by artist Maia Stark
Illustration of folktale “When the Whole of England Was Overrun with Ghosts” by artist Maia Stark

♥ All photos are owned by the artist to which they link. Please click on the photo of an item and you will be magically transported to its home on the web. ♥

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