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The Knitting Troll

I’m working on the next coloring book- trolls! They are all based the real troll sculptures in Mount Horeb. Feel free to print this one and color it, or share it with friends. 

Side note: Professor Batty came to visit a few months ago, and we went to the Cat and Crow together (the yarn shop where this wool sculpture of a troll stands). He introduced himself as “Shoshanah’s internet stalker.” Melissa and Rebecca seemed amused. Professor Batty then said that he had purchased a skein of yarn in their shop there, years ago.

“Oh, thank goodness,” said Melissa. “We would have gone out of business, without that.”


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When Your Work Outlives You

The Viking Troll is one of three trolls made by the late Greg Hartman. The other two were: a troll smoking a pipe and a troll giving the peace sign (the trolls seem to give hints to his actual character in real life). The peace troll and the pipe smoking troll have moved to Maine, where their owner now lives. But we in the Village of Mount Horeb can still enjoy the Viking Troll, who stands in front of the Grandstay Hotel (“the New Hotel,” as we locals call it):

The Viking Troll by Greg Hartman

So, Greg Hartman did pass away, but I still felt like researching this troll a bit. My friend Lori, thankfully, knew all about it, and so this afternoon, I found myself at the Main Street Pub and Grill, talking with Hartman’s daughter, Hailey. Hailey is only nineteen, but she has the maturity of someone who has lost one parent and is looking after another. (She talked about convincing her mom to drink fruit smoothies for her health.) Hailey seemed really happy to know that her dad’s troll would be in a coloring book that children would be coloring. It seems to give her some satisfaction to see her father’s art live on.

It got me thinking, about art and mortality. This week, two fellow bloggers have died (Arbroath and Jacqueline). But their blogs are out there, indefinitely, voices in the night. Cracks of light in the darkness. I find that comforting.

I’m also glad that I’m publishing all of my silly works of art, so I, too, can leave things out there, indefinitely, living lives of their own. They’re like children, only more obedient. I’ll be long dead, and in a bargain book bin somewhere, a person will pick up a copy of “Birds in Beards Coloring Book” or “Avoiding Sex with Frenchmen” and say, “What the -?” Imagining that scene lightens my fear of death.

Greg Hartman, wherever you are, I hope I can do your troll justice.


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Six Things I Bet You Didn’t Know About the Trolls of Mount Horeb

My next big project is a coloring book, “The Trolls of Mount Horeb.” The Mount Horeb Historical Society contacted me, saying that they would like an original coloring book to sell in their new Driftless Museum (or is it the Driftless Historium?) opening this June. (HOW COOL IS THAT?????) Since Mount Horeb is now billing itself as “The Troll Capital of the World,” it seemed fitting to make a coloring book of all of the trolls here.

In case you have never been to Mount Horeb, let me just explain for a moment: All over town, there are these statues, mostly of wood. They tend to be two to ten feet high, and they are all of these creatures, these trolls, doing different things. They’re really cute. You can take a selfie with them. It’s fun. (Read about the history of the trolls here.) They were created by a few different artists. I’ve been calling all of those artists and getting their permission to draw their work for the coloring book, and to learn a little bit about their work. Today, I called Bob Younger, creator of the troll at Culver’s, the troll at Village Smile Care, and the troll at Farmers Savings Bank, all in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin.

Bob Younger is such a wealth of information! Let me just list some of the things I learned about trolls from Bob Younger:

  1. The type of trolls we have sculptures of in Mount Horeb are called, “Land Trolls.”farmers bank troll
  2. Land Trolls are independently wealthy. They just work and interact with us to keep busy. This troll looks a little bit like he’s robbing the bank, but actually he just has all of that money, himself. He would have no reason at all to steal money.
  3. Land Trolls are the most social of all trolls. The Bridge Trolls are second most social, and the Underground Trolls are the least social of all.
  4. Land Trolls are also the largest of the three types of trolls, unless you count the Bridge Trolls living under large bridges- because a Bridge Trolls’ size depends on the size of the bridge he lives under, of course. Bridge Trolls can actually be quite massive.Toothbrush Troll
  5. This troll takes care of the teeth of all mystical beasts and creatures. The toothbrush he is holding is for a small dragon. Of all of the mystical creatures, he has the most trouble taking care of the fairies, because he has a hard time getting his big hands to fit in their tiny little mouths. Culver's Troll
  6. Trolls like butter burgers and frozen custard. This troll was stopping by for a snack, just like you or I would.

Well, I hope you’ve learned a lot! I know I have. All of these trolls pictured today are by Bob Younger. He is still a working artist, making wooden sculptures of all sorts of things. Click on his name to see more of his awesome creations!