9 Realms Viking Showcase: featuring Heather Burns (artist)

29 Apr

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19 Poets, 23 artists, 3 musicians and a Viking boat



Heather Burns

(Realm artist for Vanaheim)

Question: what piece of your art best represents you at the moment?


woven landscape close-up

Woven Landscape (close -up)

 acrylic and graphite with mixed media on canvas, A1 size 20/2/2015

      This piece was made in response to the challenge of interpreting the realm of Vanaheim visually for the Norse Myth collaboration for ArtiPeeps. I arrived at this response having explored the male and female nude in landscape settings after researching written material on the realm. I found it strangely illusive though, and difficult to visualise. It constantly slid away from any concrete image. The only thing that did stay with me was Freyja’s necklace, or Brisingamen, which was stolen from her by Loki, and which is central to her story. The explorations of this precious thing that stimulated the Goddess’s greed and actions that had huge consequences for her community fascinated me. Having also gone on a field trip to explore the Viking and Christian Gosforth Cross in Cumbria, with its mix of iconography from those cultures, I felt the need to blend these aspects. Great Gable mountain in Wasdale known as Odin’s Mountain, is also in there as well as a motif relating to Norse cable designs for knitting. 

Next, the interlocking Yggdrasil tree of life carving from the base of the Gosforth Cross suggested notions of family and community so central to the Vanaheimers as I imagine them. These aspects all come into focus and disappear much as my explorations have done. I accept the illusive nature of the realm in my response; it is part of it all. However, I am fascinated by concrete aspects available to me especially evidence of a Viking presence in Cumbria. Finally, the necklace itself which I painted at Christmas, was a gift from my sister-in-law Mara who is half Orcadian. The Orkneys also being a special place of colonisation for the Norse explorers. The piece reflects this weave of influence, narrative and history as well as being a treasure itself both physical and metaphoric.



Heather Burns is a practising artist and art teacher with an interest in landscape and  a sense of place combined with gestural marks and colour. She studied Fine Art at Leeds University, became a mother, took a teaching post in teaching English as a foreign language in Cambridgeshire whilst continuing to paint throughout. Now settled in Clitheroe Lancashire she is experimenting with oils again after a period exploring acrylics, and has recently had an exhibition at her brother’s gallery in the Lake-district. You can find more out about her via www.heatherburns.co.uk@Heatherburns201 





*Vanaheim is the realm of the Vanir Gods. You can read the realm overview here

* You can find more information about The Nine Realms here


Please do take a look at our Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign for our Viking Boat.

We have some great Viking Rewards:


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2 Responses to “9 Realms Viking Showcase: featuring Heather Burns (artist)”

  1. Gill Offley April 29, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    What a beautiful piece, Heather. I see the feminine power of your work, as with your Transformations Medea creation last year. How serendipitous are your surroundings in your part of the country too! I have found “my” realm illusive too in terms of story, although I have settled on one and have started to see that they are there! But I have found it more of a feeling and mood and your description feels familiar in experience to mine. I think the necklace, whether your own or Freyja’s is a wonderful focus. Hope to see you in September. Best of wishes, Gill

    • heather burns April 29, 2015 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks so much Gill for this wonderful feedback. The best of luck in your response and appreciate how you must be feeling too. It’s difficult! Just stay open to the creative flow and something will happen. Look forward to seeing you and your art again and thanks for your kind thoughts about Medea. That was all very dark too!

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