Giant wooden troll sculpture coming to Ballard this summer

Ballard will soon be home to a large troll sculpture.

Danish artist Thomas Dambo is the man behind the sculpture project Northwest Trolls: Way of the Bird King, and he’s building six of them with a team of volunteers in the Pacific Northwest. Five will be installed in the Puget Sound region and one in Portland.

Dambo is an environmental artist; the six sculptures will all tell an environmental story unique to their location.

Scan Design Foundation is managing the collaborative sculpture effort with funding, media, and site partners from across the Northwest, including funding from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.

Dambo has created 100 troll sculptures all over the world, all made out of recycled materials.

“I want people to know that trash has value. My trolls do that, and also help me tell stories, like the legends I grew up with,” Dambo said in a statement about the project. “In nature, there is no landfill. Nature is circular, everything has a meaning and everything is recycled.”

The Northwest Troll project “celebrates the human experience of art by amplifying the network of cultural heritage between Coast Salish tribal communities and Danish and Scandinavian traditions,” according to the Scan Design Foundation. The trolls will be located on Coast Salish territories, so the project will include collaboration from both the Muckleshoot and Snoqualmie tribes.

Scan Design will also launch a companion map and app to help the public find each of the trolls which will be located in Ballard, Bainbridge Island, Vashon Island, Issaquah, West Seattle, and Portland.

Each site location will only be revealed at the end of each build process, between August 1 and September 17. The sculptures will remain at each site for at least three years.

Dambo doesn’t build the sculptures alone: Over 200 volunteers will be helping complete the six new trolls, from breaking down wooden pallets to cutting up pieces of wood to screwing and hammering parts together.

The projects will start in August; we’ll update you when we learn more about the Ballard location.

Photos courtesy Scan Design Foundation