Show and Tell: A Tonal Wizard

Tonal Wizard - Fossegrim

The Fossegrim

A Tonal Wizard

"The fossegrim (or grim) is the musician among Norwegian spirits, and his instrument is the violin – or rather the fiddle... The grim is to be found at waterfalls and mills. It is especially on dark evenings that his playing can be heard. The fossegrim is not unwilling to teach his skills to others, and many a fiddler is said to have taken lessons from him." 

~ Phantoms and Fairies from Norwegian Folklore by Tor Age Bringsvaerd

Fossegrim plan

This project was my first of many based on folklore and mythology. I had been reading a favourite book, Phantoms and Fairies from Norwegian Folklore by Tor Age Bringsvaerd. It is a great little book with dark and frightening stories that kept me awake at night. It was the beginning of an exciting and creative love affair with stories full of trolls, witches, and faeries. I used the stories for inspiration for several projects which will be featured in future posts.

In one of the stories I learned of a creature I had not heard of before... the fossegrim. The book has wonderful woodcut illustrations but I began to wonder how I would illustrate them if I were drawing. So I began to sketch a fossegrim and he became my first folklore project in a screenprinting class. If you want to learn more about the technique, visit Google or YouTube. This is a good site for printmaking help.

Fossegrim sketch

This is my sketchbook page with notes and original sketch and my color plan (seen above). While working on the project, someone saw it and recognized it as a fossegrim. A high compliment indeed!

The printed image is 10 ¾” x 8 ½” in a series of 8 on Arches Rives BFK paper.

Fossegrim progress 01
Half-way finished print


Fossegrim progress 02
Nearly finished

A Tonal Wizard - Fossegrim

This print was in a solo exhibit “The Hidden Folk” (February 2010) at Cafe Allegro in Werner Student Center, Western Oregon University and is now available on Etsy.


Tonal Wizard small