The Waldorf Child.

During my second semester at The Academy of Arts University I took a class in writing. My first big assignment was to write my autobiography with a focus on my artistic growth. Since it is quite personal, and my first attempt on "real" writing I wasn't sure if I wanted to share it on the blog yet. So it has been sitting untouched on my computer since I turned it in for school. Today I read it for the first time since March and knew that I wanted to share it here. There are a few kinks here and there, but overall I am happy with it.


I have absolutely no idea when I started drawing. I don’t remember not drawing so I suppose my hands have not been idle since I knew how to use them. When I was two years old my mother decided to put me in a Waldorf kindergarten. That decision, I believe, affected my entire life. It might have been there that I started my continuous scribbling. At least it was there that I became hooked on the exciting feeling of pulling something out of my mind and placing it on a paper. One of the main focus in Waldorf education is to nurture imagination and foster creativity. They managed to do that in my case. I blossomed in the beautiful environment, surrounded by silk, wooden toys and expressionless dolls. Every pebble or stick could become anything my heart desired and most everything I thought of ended up on my paper. When I was five my mother and I, with my moms new boyfriend and my little brother in her belly, moved to Denmark. There I continued my Waldorf education. I had the most wonderful teacher. Her name was Kirsten and she had beautiful gray hair that she always had in a braid that reached all the way down her back. She was the kindest person I have ever known and probably will ever know. She told us stories about mischievous nisser, graceful elves and of brave knights saving a beautiful princess from the terrifying dragon. Every christmas, just before we went on our holiday break, we would climb the creaking stairs in the back of the old apartment building that housed the kindergarten. We would climb all the way to the top to the dark and hidden attic that was filled with dust and hay and leave a bowl of rice pudding with lots of butter, cinnamon and cream for the nisse, so he would not be hungry while we were away. There was no doubt in my mind that the old little nisse - that I cared so much for - existed. A fairytale kingdom started to form in my head and I became certain that magic was not dead in our world. I would only have to draw to assure me of that. Anything could happen, as long as I could put it down on paper.

A few years later my family moved back to Iceland where I started school. From age seven until I was eleven I attended the Waldorf school in Iceland. There the interest and fascination for myths and mythology only got stronger. We studied the greek and nordic mythology and created our own books about everything we studied, so In school I was constantly required to draw. During these years my interest in character design started to grow. When I was eight I created my first fully developed character and he has stayed with me ever since. We were three girls in a secret society that had their headquarters in the closet underneath the stairs that went up to the second floor. There we created our own language, made secrets and told stories, but most of the time we drew odd little characters and silly comics. My first comic was made there and the main character was a little curly chicken called Krulli. I made a few comics about him and all of my classmates got a stapled book about him for their birthday. I filled books with my characters, drawing every possession they “owned” around them and giving each of them a long backstory in my head.
I vividly remember the moment I decided that when I would grow up I wanted to draw for a living. I was ten years old, waiting for my cello lesson to begin when I noticed a girl sitting on the floor in the hallway. She was older than me and she was drawing. I was a very shy kid, especially when it came to older kids. It took all my courage, but I sneaked up beside her and watched her draw the prettiest drawing of a kitten I had ever seen. I was determined to become as good as this girl to draw. That day it became my mission to get better. However I was certain that to become that good I would need a pink mechanical pencil like the girl used. It was a necessity.
I changed schools, went to a regular school and aced arts. I even got an award for outstanding performance in arts at my graduation. During my teenage years I went through a rough patch because I was dealing with my relationship with my father. All my life he had been distant but now I was getting old enough to realize how differently he treated me and my sister. I had always been left out. He had his perfect little family, a wife, a daughter and a son and I was the bastard that hurt his purse every month. I filled journals and empty papers with my feelings about him. I wrote out my thoughts and I drew like my life depended on it. In some way I think it did. In the rage and teenage angst I found a way to throw all of the hatred out. If I had been left in my self-pity with no way to get it out, I am not sure where I would have ended up. Instead of shrivelling up I dealt with my anger by sitting in my candlelit bedroom, with pen and paper in hand, listening to loud music and drawing images that were flooded with blood, tears and rage. Again I was living in my own world. Instead of nisser, elves and dragons, I had Jack the Pumpkin king, Johnny the Homicidal maniac and American McGees Alice.
In the end I grew up. I shook off my thoughts about my father and decided that I could only move forward. I started studying Multimedia design and met my husband. The fact that he was a US citizen helped me take the decision to move to San Francisco to pursue my dream and learn Illustration. We ended up working in San Francisco for some time before we started school. It was a hard year and we hit a lot of financial and emotional bumps along the road and ended up moving back to Iceland for the summer before we started school in the fall. During the fun Icelandic summer a little accident happened and when we finally went back to SF, refreshed and in a better mental state, to start school I had a little girl growing in my belly. It was a hiccup in my education, but I managed to finish my first semester at the Academy with really good grades.
Ylfa was born in March and put my education on hold for a year. I loved it. I was a stay at home mom with no responsibilities except for taking care of this little human being. I got a lot of opportunities to work on my drawing however, so it was not a completely quiet time in my artistic endeavours. When my sister-in-law got engaged I drew a caricature of her and her husband to be and gave them as an engagement present. They were extremely happy with the present. Later, she was blogging for an online magazine about her wedding preparations and posted about the image I drew of them. The post gets regular attention, so I got a requests for all over for drawing wedding invites. It was a step in the right decision to make my thirteen year old dream of drawing for a living, come true.
My daughter is now one years old. On Tuesday I am taking her to her first toddler class in the Waldorf school in San Francisco. It will be the beginning of her growth as a human and possibly even as an artist. I can’t help but feel like the cycle is repeating itself. Hopefully it will take me down a path of nostalgia and remind me of the world I created. Maybe nisser, elves and dragons will make a comeback in my drawings.


  1. Love it, and had no idea about most of this! Wonerful piece and insight into your life! Thank you for sharing!

  2. what a wonderful post! thank you so much!


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