About this project
Fateful Signs is what Odin saw as he hung from the World Tree. They are the legends of the Gods and Ancestors carried down through our deeds. They can be sought with runes, carved and made red.
Fateful Signs presents "The Illustrated Hávamál," a collection of art by Sam Flegal. This 104-page book explores the meaning behind the ancient collection of Norse wisdom through a series of meditative ink drawings.
With your support, I will be able to create a truly beautiful art book that honors both the original text, translated by Henry Adams Bellows in 1936, and the time and energy I've placed in interpreting the verses through illustration.
Tell me more about The Hávamál
"The Hávamál" is a collection of ancient Norse wisdom, thought to have been written down in about 1270 CE. The title, Hávamál, translates as “Sayings of Har.” Har is the High One, another name for Odin, hence the ancient text means “Sayings of the High One.” These sayings are a collection of poetry, offering insights and wisdom to help one lead an honorable life.
One theory about "The Hávamál" is that before it was written down, it represented a way to pass knowledge from one generation to the next. These wise sayings were done in verse in order to work as a mnemonic devise. As a youth transitioned to adulthood, part of his rite of passage would be to memorize the lore of his people. The same way that songs and rhymes make things easier to remember today, much of the lore and wisdom of the tribe was passed down in verse.
With the Christianization of the North, scholars took it upon themselves to preserve their ancient culture by writing down these verses. The greatest collection of preserved poetry is "The Poetic Edda," one section of which is "The Hávamál."
How did this project start?
Starting in December 2015, I dedicated a month to illustrate "The Hávamál." Each day I did a different ink drawing based on a verse from the ancient Norse text. In order to harness inspiration, I started with random ink blobs, and then meditated on the text. Once things felt right, I approached the ink blobs, and with the text in mind began to find shapes and forms within the randomness. Each drawing was made using brush and ink. Even though it took me a little longer than a month, I managed to complete 31 ink drawings. In preparation for this book, I'm doing 12 more ink drawings!
The Illustrated Hávamál will be a cloth-bound hardback book, measuring 9"x12", with a gold foil embossed cover. It will have 104 pages with over 40 illustrations and the complete text from "The Hávamál" as translated by Henry Adams Bellows, including his notes. In addition it will include a deluxe bookmark ribbon attached to the book to aid in finding where you left off, or saving your favorite passage.
Why the Bellows Translation?
The astute scholar of ancient Norse wisdom will note that there are many different translations of "The Hávamál." This is not surprising, as a text this important draws many a scholarly pursuit. I chose the Bellows translation for two reasons. Firstly, the text is in the public domain. Many of the more modern and arguably more accurate translations are the creative property of their translators. Secondly, because Bellows translated with a mind towards poetry and rhythm of verse. After all, this is a collection of Old Norse poetry—the English language version should sound like poetry to give the reader the full experience of the text.
This is an art book, so I wanted the text to have an artistic poetic quality that some of the more academic translations lack.
Now Including Original Old Norse Text
The most requested addition for the book was for us to add the original language version of "The Hávamál" to "The Illustrated Hávamál." We listened! The book will now include the original Old Norse text. Here is a sample page:
Add-on pricing includes shipping.
• T-Shirt: Odin on a Windy Tree - $25
• T-Shirt: Runes Shalt You Find - $25
• Limited Edition 18" x 24" Silk Screen Print - $60
• Fateful Signs: Drawings - Volume 2, The Hávamál Process - $20
• Drinking Horn with Hand-Carved Logo - $200
• Additional Book - Unsigned - $40
• Additional Book - Signed with print "Dead Man's Deeds" - $50
Each shirt will be silk screened on high quality Ringspun Cotton Tees.
Limited Edition Silk Screen Print
This Limited Edition Silk Screen print will measure 18"x24" and will be printed on 100# Kraft Tone Paper from French Paper. The Limited Edition run will be based off of the number sold in this Kickstarter. Each print will be signed and numbered by artist Sam Flegal.
The Hávamál Process - Sketch Book
The sequel to last year's Fateful Signs: Drawings Volume 1, I present you with Fateful Signs: Drawings, The Hávamál Process, Volume 2! This 5.5"x8.5" book will contain an estimated 56 pages filled with both the initial "ink blobs" and the final ink drawings for many of the illustrations created for The Illustrated Hávamál. It will also include a detailed description of my process for meditation and creation of The Hávamál ink drawings.
Hand-Carved Drinking Horn
Each Drinking Horn will be hand carved by Brian Marshall of Where The Gods Live and will be made from a hand picked bull's horn, sanitized and sealed with beeswax, as is traditional. Since each horn is unique, the size and coloring will vary, but will range from 16 to 19 inches in length and hold around 10 to 20 ounces worth of liquid.
Risks and challenges
With the help of the Kickstarter community I have created 5 successful Kickstarter Campaigns. To date I have delivered all the rewards to the satisfaction of my backers.
This book is the biggest project I have ever attempted. I'm working with On the Mark printing to create a truly special project. I've done smaller book projects in the past, but never anything of this quality and scope.
With the help of my wife, who is a graphic designer for a very successful ad agency in Nashville, TN, I am confident that I can overcome any challenges presented by this project. The art is finished and the book layout is coming along and looks amazing, but the main hurdle is generating the funds to print such a high quality book.
International Shipping is a challenge. I have researched the rates, and due to the recent price increase, I must charge a premium to ship outside the USA.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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