the shieldmaiden

Paradisaea # 39
Altogether Lovely Collection
Warp: handpainted thin mulberry silk
Weft: a merino wool, tussah silk and stellina sparkle blend

Size 4 + (ca. 360 cm STIH)
Fringed ends
Woven with the a 6-shaft faux crackle variation in a zig zag pattern




Letters to my daughter, part 14


One day
I’ll tell you all the tales.

I’ll tell you about Éowyn
I’ll tell you about Susan and Lucy,
I’ll tell you about Hermione
I’ll tell you about Katniss -

you see,
there’s a risk that they mistake you for something else
and if they come asking

you need to know
what you are made of
what you are made for.

I won’t raise you up to be an ornament,
I won’t let you be any other flower
than a wild one;

more like a force of nature
and woe to the ones
who try to capture the wind.


One day
I’ll tell you

that you don’t need anyone else
to wield your sword for you.

No knight in shining armour
is going to make you a bit more princess than you are already
and the only reason you’ll need him to be a fighter
is that no one else
would be worthy of you.

No, I’ll teach you to look them straight into the eye
I’ll teach you how to hold the shield.

See, there’s beauty in the wilderness;
hidden from the untrained eye,
and when you bloom

let them feel the earth shake
at your footsteps

let them try their hand against you
and then they’ll see;

let them feel your glory
and let them deal with it.

- K.V.



The Altogether Lovely collection is about daughters and their mothers; about princesses big and small. The first piece is called The Shieldmaiden, and it speaks of the princesses who are strong and bold.

You see, sometimes people have this urge to lock up princesses in towers. To make them wait for someone to come and rescue them; the damsels in distress.

There’s nothing wrong with rescuing. The more people there are willing to rescue the princess, the better;
but I want my princess to be one who is perfectly capable of fighting the fight herself, should she wish to - not locked up anywhere, not told to be silent and pretty and waiting, not told she’s incapable, not kept passive for tradition’s sake. Or for any other sake.

Let them be fighters, if they wish to. Teach them how to hold the sword. Tell them how glorious they are.

When weaving this piece I thought of all the princesses who were on a mission; all the women who’ve chosen to fight, may it be with a sword, with a pen, with a heart, with hands or with minds - or any other means. The Shieldmaiden is woven with sparkly merino-tussah-stellina;  it reminds me of the glimmer on a shield, the shine of an armour. Reminding me of it how it’s possible to be sweet and strong at the same time.