Skull illustration
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Skull illustration

Ugliggs - our story

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Fast forward to the present day and I'd applied to attend a Christmas Craft Fair a couple of years ago. As part of the application process I was asked to submit three photographs of my work, with a view to publishing just one in the brochure. I'd seen a Tomte gnome online from Scandinavia which reminded me of my little decorated egg and thought, why not! I'd been waiting many decades to make another and this was my chance. So I made a couple of cardboard gnomes, just to show I made festive items 

For me, the purpose of the fair was to showcase my stone work, so I submitted high quality photos of my stone, along with my least preferred photographs of the Tomte gnomes, now called Scandi Elves. They published the Scandi Elves photograph to promote my company! Suddenly, I had to swiftly make 'proper' ones to display on the stall, without any knowledge of how I was going to make them. I just knew they would have to be made well. The buzz surrounding them at the fair was the same as my egg. So it had sown the seeds for what was to come

Returning from the craft fair, I immediately started designing the new generation of Elves. I already knew what I wanted to create with them, it was just finding a way. It took a lot of head scratching and lots of mistakes along the way. I hadn't told any family or friends about them as I wanted an honest reaction when I finally revealed them. All the prototypes were given as presents to friends and family members. And I wasn't disappointed. Their reaction was even better than I'd anticipated. Time to unleash them on the public

But I still needed a name. The amount of research I had done to replicate all of their clothing, hairstyles, beliefs and myths led me back to the Nordics, predominantly the Vikings. I read that they would call each other Ugliggr as an insult, the english word 'ugly' originates from there. which I found amusing. And there it was!  Ugliggs

The Ugliggs are a combination of many different tales, folklore, cultures and historical findings, with a little bit of imagination thrown in, from around the world. There are also elements of historical value in each of the Ugligg tribe, through their costume, and hairstyles to some extent, but as you can see they are by no means an accurate representation of what may have passed in history. They are made purely for fun

I find them so enjoyable to make. From searching through historical findings, myths and folklore, designing and making the patterns and costumes, to the making, dressing and final finishing. I've never made two the same which even makes me excited to see how the final Ugligg will look. And I never stop thinking how I'm going to make the next member of the tribe