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2017 Vesterheim Textile Tour to Denmark and Norway

By Robbie LaFleur and Laurann Gilbertson

The 2017 Textile Tour sponsored by the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in June was the first one to add travel to Denmark as well as Norwegian destinations. This brief overview should give you an idea of why these tours sell out as soon as they are announced. 

Copenhagen was our first stop, and our learning and inspiration began with a visit to Christiansborg Palace, the only government building in the world that houses all three branches of a country’s government. We toured the Royal Reception Rooms to get an overview of 1,100 years of Danish history through tapestries designed by Bjørn Nørgaard. The tapestries depict scenes from Viking times to today and were presented to Queen Margrethe II for her fiftieth birthday in 1990. The guide planned to visit other rooms, but the weavers in the group, in particular, were entranced by observing the tapestries and reading about the historical events depicted in them.  Laurann asked the guide, “Is it OK if we just stay here instead?”

Lapidarium of Kings.  Frederick V, King of Denmark-Norway, commissioned life-sized statues of Norwegian and Faroese farmers and fishermen for his palace grounds. Completed in about 1773, the figures from Nordmandsdalen (Valley of the Norsemen) are used today by researchers to understand the clothing worn in rural Norway in the past. 

The number of tour participants is small enough that we can take advantage of visiting artist studios and sights that would’t be possible for huge groups.  Our group divided in two for a visit to Knitwear Designer Geske Svensson.  Read about that experience in the article by Marilyn Huset

Our stay in Copenhagen was short, and we headed off to visit Greve Museum to learn about Hedebosom. Some even took a mini-course.  Read Edi Torstensson’s account of the museum in a separate article, here

Through gorgeous, trim countryside (and once having to change course because the bus was too big for the road), we reached Sagnlandet Lejre.  Solving Pollei wrote about the experience, here

Heading across country, we stopped at the High School for Design and Handwork in Skals for their annual summer exhibition and market, with fabulous exhibits of student work in weaving, clothing design, embroidery, hand- and machine-knitting, leather work, and ceramics. In tents in the sunny courtyard outside the school, leading Danish designers sold their work.  Molly Miles was struck by beautiful embroidered towels with hearts, and Ingebjørg Monsen loved a cleverly embroidered coat. She commented, “So happy young people take embroidery to a new level, but the quality prevails!”

Our final stop in Denmark was at Hørvævmuseet, a linen weaving museum in the heart of Denmark.  The museum is staffed by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the collection of jacquard looms, with educating visitors about the processing of flax to linen, and the history of linen production in Denmark.  This stop was a highlight of Elizabeth Hunter’s tour, and she described our guides as “a couple who are the oldest and most charming hosts ever!” The museum is housed in a former cowshed of a large estate. The looms and equipment, from a linen mill that closed in 1972, sat unused for 33 years until it gained new life. And after our group left, the gift shop staff had some serious re-stocking to do.  

Molly Miles loved the jacquard cards used on the looms to create letters.

After the Linen Museum we traveled by ferry over the Skagerrak, the strait between Denmark and Norway. The food was great on the boat, but the crashing, bumpy waves made the ride one that several of our group would like to forget. 

On a sunny Sunday morning the group traveled by rowboat ferry out to  Bragdøy, an island outside of Kristiansand, for a lecture and class with Annemor Sundbø. Annemor was awarded the King’s Medal of Merit in 2013 for her work to research, share, and preserve Norway’s knitting history. Her latest book is on the native short-tailed spelsau sheep. After giving a talk about the spelsau in folk belief, art, and everyday tradition, she gave a short class on knitting right from the sheep; in other words, the students sat in front of a giant pile of fleece and pulled strands into instant yarn and knitted it up.  This day was a highlight for Linda Devitt, who later translated her memories to a painting of sheep (above), which she gave to her tour roommate, Carole Johnson. 

Molly Miles noted that one of her highlights was watching Annemor guide Kay Larson through the fleece-washing process. 

We visited the Kristiansand Museum learn about regional textile traditions, including danskbrogd, a boundweave variation done only in Norway. When we toured the historic buildings moved in from rural Vest-Agder County the guide did her best to pull out all of the textiles, since she knew we were interested. 

We visited Sjølingstad Uldvarefabrikk in Mandal, a working textile mill museum that interprets the history of commercial spinning, dyeing, and weaving. 

In the village of Moi, which for years has been a center for the production of spinning wheels, we learned about spinning and the special Moi-style wheel at Lund Bygdemuseum.

After a drive with breathtaking scenery of the Jøssingfjord, we stopped for lunch in Sogndalstrand. This tiny seaport village is the only place in Norway where old wooden buildings and the surrounding landscape are protected as a cultural heritage site. The food was amazing at the Sogndalstrand Hotel. 

 

Floral detail from a Frida Hansen tapestry

In Stavanger we concentrated on Frida Hansen (1855-1931), a tapestry weaver who captured the essence of both Norway’s nationalistic movement and Art Nouveau style in her tapestries, including her patented transparent tapestries. We toured her house to learn more about her life, then continued on to Stavanger Kunstmuseum to learn more about her work. Elizabeth Hunter loved the lecture in the gallery with Frida Hansen’s work.  ” It was brief, but so insightful!!” Elizabeth is following up now, by reading  Japanomania in the Nordic Countries 1875-1918.  

 

 

We traveled on an often ocean-side route to Bergen, and the group appreciated the fact that our bus driver, when faced with the choice of two roads, always opted for the more scenic route.  In Bergen, our first stop was USF (United Sardine Factory), home to 200 artists, musicians, dancers, architects, and filmmakers, as well as offices for cultural organizations and performance spaces. We met several artists in their studios, including Kari Aasen, Åse Ljones, Sissel Blystad, and Kari Myrdal. A favorite of many was the artist Marta Nerhus, who crafted life-sized flat figures in metal wire. 

North of Bergen, we visited the Osterøy Museum. Our group arrived at a good time; the Museum recently set up a beautiful new permanent exhibition featuring local craft traditions, including warp-weighted loom weaving, knitting, and beadwork. Marta Kløve Juuhl shared her current project, a 91-foot weaving in the museum’s main exhibit hall, one that was described in previous issues of the Norwegian Textile Letter (here and here).  It stretches over a whole wall and down the long, tall room. And aren’t visits even better with food?  We enjoyed coffee and a local treat, stompekake. 

It would be interesting to know how many projects are completed by tour participants after a tour, based on inspiration from pieces seen in museums and shops and studios along the way.  Martha Schumann wrote, “Even though my favorite hobby is knitting, I only took one picture of a knitted item – a mitten at the Osterøy Museum.  It has a flame colorway in the patterning instead of being knit in two colors.  As soon as I saw it, I knew would like to copy it, so I took a picture.” 

Oleana sweaters are renowned in Norway and the U.S. In business since 1992, Oleana A/S is the only knitwear factory that knits and sews all their products in Norway. Combining art, culture, and good design, Oleana creates sweaters of fine wool and silk from Solveig Hisdal’s award-winning designs. The group toured the factory and explored the outlet store. 

The farewell dinner was prepared by chef Ingvild Bøge of Spisekroken i Bergen, who uses local products to create rustic food with a contemporary twist. If you travel to Bergen, you should eat there. 

Carol Johnson wrote that the highlight of the tour for her was the people. From her comment, you can see that her enjoyment of the trip began in the airport! 

The highlight of Vesterheim’s Textile Tour for me was the people.  There was the buzz in the MSP gate area as travelers checked in with Laurann, greeted old friends and got acquainted with new ones.  Arriving in Copenhagen, we were met with hugs from IngebjØrg and met more tour members who had flown directly there.  During meals and breaks, stories were shared on a variety of topics.  One learns that the spectrum of textile interest within the group ranges from awesome textile experts, some internationally known, to those of us who are merely textile spectators. It was energizing to meet textile designers, curators at small local museums and volunteers and staffs at small textile mills, all passionate about keeping traditional techniques alive, sometimes in new formats.  

Who planned this fabulous trip for us?

Tour Leader Laurann Gilbertson has been Textile Curator for 19 years and is now Chief Curator at Vesterheim. She holds a B.A. in anthropology and an M.S. in textiles and clothing from Iowa State University. She cares for the museum’s collections, curates exhibitions, and has planned and led seven textile study tours to Norway (with Sweden, Iceland, and Finland).

Tour Guide Ingebjørg Monsen is an electrical engineer, but is enjoying a second career in textiles. She teaches classes in weaving and sewing and specializes in constructing men’s bunader (national costumes). She has been president of the Bergen Husflidslag (handcraft association) and has planned and led them on tours in Norway, Iceland, and Denmark. Ingebjørg has offered textile instruction, interesting tour information, and lots of fun on Vesterheim’s seven previous textile tours.

National Exhibition of Weaving in the Norwegian Tradition, 2017: Even More Inspiration

Since The Norwegian Textile Letter is published as an online newsletter, we can include ALL the entries in the annual National Exhibition of Weaving the in the Norwegian Tradition.  Years ago, when print was our only choice, only a few photos of the top ribbon weavers were included.  The non-ribbon winners are of high quality as well! Also, pieces submitted by weavers who have earned a Gold Medal in weaving are not eligible for judging. Enjoy these excellent and varied entries, too. 

Gold Medalist Veronna Capone, from Brookings, SD,  entered “Slowly/Light Grows/Then Closes,” a wall hanging in pick-and-pick technique.

 Jan Mostrom, a Gold Medalist from Chanhassen MN, wove “Crossing Borders,” a wall hanging in Sjonbragd technique.

 Melissa Brown, Decorah IA, wove a table runner in Monk’s Belt Technique.

 Judy Ness, Gold Medalist from Eugene, OR, wove “Intention” bound weave rug.

 Lisa Anne Bauch from Bloomington, MN, wove a rya wall hanging, “Three Little Birds.” 

Meredith Bennett from Free Union VA, wove the rya “Confetti.”

Andrea Myklebust from Stockholm, WI, wove yardage in twill weave. 

 Nancy Ellison from Zumbrota, MN, wove a weavers flag in “Ja Vi Elsker (Yes We Love Wool).” 

“Lars” the sheep was commemorated in Nancy Ellison’s wall hanging with natural fleece rya.  Nancy (and Lars) live in Zumbrota, Minnesota. 

 Rosemary Roehl, a Gold Medalist from St. Cloud MN, wove “Fall,” in figurative bound weave.

Rosemary Roehl, Gold Medalist from St. Cloud, MN, also celebrated “Spring” in figurative bound weave.

See photos of the ribbon winners in this year’s exhibition, here. 

National Exhibition of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition, 2017: Award Winners

 

By Laurann Gilbertson, Curator

We have come to expect technical and artistic excellence from weaving entries in the National Exhibition of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition at Vesterheim.  And once again, in 2017, we were not disappointed.  The artists provided traditional and contemporary works in a wide range of Norwegian and Scandinavian techniques.  Several artists included some interpretation to go with their works.  Jan Mostrom’s wall hanging was woven entirely from yarn hand dyed with natural dyes, creating surprisingly bright colors. (See detail at left.) She wrote, “Weaving with these natural dyed yarns connected me with weavers of the past as I had to adapt if I ran short of a certain color of yarn. At times I used a different yarn and I occasionally had to change my original plan.”  Nancy Ellison used natural wool locks from from Lars, a white Icelandic-Gotland cross ram in her flock, for a charming handwoven image of the ram himself.  And Andrea Myklebust used flax she had grown and processed.

I had to interpret for one entry in the exhibition, a monksbelt table runner by Laura Demuth. It was displayed near the table where staff were stationed.  When visitors read the label, they looked up at me and raised eyebrows or asked, “Why is it thanks to you?”  Laura didn’t provide any explanation for the public, but I’m happy to share the story here.  As Laura was planning a beginning weaving class for Vesterheim, she came to get ideas from the collection.  She had decided on monksbelt and wondered what we had.  We had several beautiful, but basic monksbelt coverlets, so I pulled a more “advanced” one at the end.  From Lila Nelson’s personal collection, we have a monksbelt coverlet with four-sided border. The weaver changed from green on the edge to red for the center, while making a zigzag line between colors.  It was the perfect challenge for an experienced weaver.  I say thanks to Laura, and all the artists who helped make the 2017 exhibition a beautiful and inspirational show.  

As a Gold Medal weaver, Laura’s piece was not part of the judging.  She was on the other side of the table, serving as a judge for the exhibition, along with Doug Eckheart, Professor of Art (retired) from Luther College, Decorah, IA. Laura’s piece was still in the running for the annual “People’s Choice” award, and she won! 

A blue ribbon was awarded to Corwyn Knutson, Roseville, MN,  for “Nordlys,”  wool Rya wall hanging. It was also awarded BEST OF SHOW. Congratulations, Corwyn. 

 

Donna Laken, from Rockford, IL,won a red ribbon for “Simply Scandinavian,” a rug in bound rosepath. 

A white ribbon was awarded to Kathryn Evans from Lena, IL, for a slit tapestry wall hanging.   Slit tapestry is usually found in narrower bands. Her finishing techniques were original and beautiful, as seen in this detail. 

 

Winnie Johnson received an honorable mention for her boundweave rug. 

Helen Scherer, from Shawnee, KS, received an Honorable Mention for “When I grow up, I want to be like the Døvleteppe!,”  a table runner in Vestfold technique.

Andrea Myklebust, Stockholm, WI, won an Honorable Mention for her linen table runner in block Damask technique.  Andrea should get extra points for also displaying a carved distaff in the exhibition, writing, “I made this distaff for use on one of my spinning wheels. I’ve included a hank of my own hand-spun flax, which is the material used for this tool. It is an arrogant distaff because it is very tall to show off my long line flax.” 

 

See entries from Vesterheim Gold Medal weavers and other entrants in this year’s exhibition, here

 

 

 
 

 

 

Sagnlandet Lejre – the Land of Legends (and Textiles)

By Solveig Pollei

“Check out and turn in the key. Take your bag to the bus. Bus departs at 9:00 am for Lejre.” And so another adventure begins.

As we continue to practice our ‘bus-riding’ skills, the roads become smaller and less traveled. Then a turn into an area with tall trees, thatched buildings with moss accents and open fields – all just beyond a building with banners inviting us to experience the Stone Age, the Iron Age, the Viking Age, to visit the smallholder, to take historical workshops. We have arrived at Sagnlandet Lejre – the Land of Legends!

Dividing into groups, we follow our guides into the sunshine. Over hills, around a boat landing, ducks announcing our arrival, we walk to an Iron Age long house. Our guide is an archaeology student in period dress and she helps us imagine a world of people, animals, trade. A world where everyone works for the survival of the community. A world which helps build into our world.

Leaving the darkness of the house, we step out and walk past the tended garden. As is often the case, we take a few moments to check out the plants! Our guide continues to show other points of interest as we walk toward our next presentation at the Dragtvaeksted. Our walk takes us into a more wooded area with the last tendrils of a morning mist rising to disappear in the morning sun. One wonders if Grendel might appear.

For those walking toward the back of our group, the ‘oohs and ahhs’ drifting back to our ears make us quicken our steps. As you can see, it is a sight to gladden the heart of any textile addict! A warp-weighted loom resting against the side, a garden of dye plants reaching for the sunshine, and hanks of richly-dyed wool by the door. A glorious hint of what awaited us.

Inside the cycle of textiles awaited: Fiber. Spinde. Farve. Vaeve. Sy. A quick glance showed the raw fibers, spindles/spinning wheel, glorious dye colors, looms, and sewn clothing. From words to hands.

 

From Ida Demant we learned of the progression from animal skin to woven fabrics. Of how the construction of garments evolved from what worked best for sewing animal skins to what was best for the fiber/cloth. Clever ideas. We were taught how to prepare nettles for the cycle. It didn’t seem possible that the resulting cloth would have such a smooth hand. There was so much to see and our presenter was so very knowledgeable, that it was very hard to leave! But there was another presentation so we made our way to the Farver Laden – the colour barn!

We were greeted by our presenter, Fria Gemynthe, who proceeded to show us ongoing dye experiments, a terraced dye garden with the plants clearly marked and then the A-frame barn. Another slice of textile heaven! Hanks of wool dyed with madder, birch, indigo, cochineal, walnut and others.

Each was carefully noted for dye, mordant, etc. And in a corner of the barn, a posterboard with half the dyed skein visible and half under another piece of posterboard in order to test lightfastness. So much to learn. But there are deadlines, so we heed the call for lunch and head to the museum cafe.

After lunch, the shop awaits. (Were you surprised?) One slight change to the shopping experience however. A swan family were resting in the sun and as we made our way to the shop, the cob made his displeasure known in voice and body-posture!

Shopping completed, we made our way to the bus, some more dry than others in a sudden rain shower. Our next stop would be a linen weaving museum. But for now, our thoughts and conversations were on our wonderful time at the Land of Legends.

Celebrating Tapestry Artist Brita Been

By Karianne H. Sand,  January 14, 2017

Editor’s note: One of the problems with seeing notices on the Web for tempting exhibits of work by Norwegian textile artists is that, well, Norway is far away! Early this year an exhibit of the monumental tapestries of Brita Been opened in Skien, Norway. Karianne H. Sand delivered the welcoming remarks and she shared her talk with us, so we can imagine being there in person. These two photo collages were posted in a blog entry about the opening from the Skien Kunstforening, sponsor of the exhibit. Robbie LaFleur

been-collage-4_orig

collagebeen-3_orig

 

Dear everyone.  Dear Brita.

I wish to congratulate both Brita Been and the Skien Art Association–Brita for her 70 years and for her fantastic exhibit.  This year the professional organization Norwegian Textile Artists celebrates its 40th year, and it is this organization for which I serve as director.  Brita Been, too, is a member, and it is a great honor for me to be allowed to open this year of celebration with a textile celebration in her name.

This exhibit is called Arvestykker [“Heirlooms”], named for one of Brita’s woven series on display.  The exhibit also includes the series Skybragd [“Cloud Pattern”] and Repetisjoner [“Repetitions”].

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Rugs in the Repetisjoner series. Photo from the Skien Kunstnerforbundet

The series Repetisjoner is the earliest of the series in this exhibit.  And, where there is weaving, there surely is repetition.  Brita herself says that she creates three to four pieces per year, which speaks to how time consuming the process is.   It is time consuming and filled with repetition—the same motion over and over again.  Weaving is mathematics and geometry, something the works in this series reflect in their images.  Here one sees the repetitions, the mathematics and geometric shapes. Brita’s design language has clear references to the Bauhaus school and functionalism.  She constructs surfaces and creates space using color and design alone.  Patterns have no beginning and no end, like a machine that roars into motion.  But in the midst of all this, Brita sits and weaves with her hands—and with this closeness to her materials, she creates a fantastic energy and pulse in the tapestries.

repetisjon

A detail from the Repetisjoner series, from Britabeen.no

Brita has an impressive curriculum vita, and I shall not even attempt to list the most important places where she has had her work exhibited—yet I feel it revolves around her having had one-woman shows at the Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum [the National Museum of Decorative Arts, Trondheim], Kunstnerforbundet [contemporary art gallery, Oslo], Hå gamle Prestegård [Hå old parsonage farm, Jæren, Western Norway, now an art and historical culture center] and, last but not least, SOFT Gallery [the gallery of Norwegian Textile Artists, Oslo], where I work, and, of course, the Skien Kunstforening [Skien Art Association].  She has also exhibited in several locations around the world.

Chinese-inspired clouds

Chinese-inspired clouds, from Britabeen.no

One of several old Norwegian skybragd weavings in the Norwegian Digital Museum, at: https://digitaltmuseum.no/011023238942/putetrekk

One of several old Norwegian skybragd weavings in the Norwegian Digital Museum, at: https://digitaltmuseum.no/011023238942/putetrekk

I wish to draw attention to one biennial event in which she has participated no fewer than four times, the International Fiber Art Biennial, which takes place in China.  It is from this meeting with the East that the inspiration for the series Skybragd comes.  Here, Brita became fascinated with the reliefs carved in marble of variations of the cloud motif, and she then combined this with the old, traditional pattern, skybragd, that was used in earlier Norwegian weaving tradition.  In the National Museum’s archives, I found one piece with that title dating from between 1700 and 1760.  It appears that this pattern, based on the pomegranate and palmette motifs, is a universal motif that has moved across cultures and through time.  Here, Brita weaves together the West and the East.  Everything is connected.

The series Arvestykker began when Brita was given a commission to decorate the Bø Hospital retirement home.  She wanted the tapestries to give both residents and visitors a sense of belonging and recognition.  Therefore, she took as her point of reference Telemark’s strong folk costume culture.  It has, of course, been known for a long time that the most beautiful costumes of all come from there.  And, if any of you are in West Oslo on the 17th of May, you will see that everyone there originally comes from Telemark…*  But, there is a reason why this costume is so popular, for it is rich and colorful, with beautiful details.

Detail from the an Arvestykker tapestry

Detail from the an Arvestykker tapestry, from BritaBeen,no

In this series, Brita has taken as her reference the embroidery on the costume’s stockings and shirts and translated them to another strong folk tradition—that is, weaving.  The lovely details from the folk costume are now allowed to play the lead role in Brita’s work.  The powerful handwork that took hours to embroider now gets to be not just a decoration and pretty detail but the work itself.  Brita herself says, “These tapestries are a celebration of women’s creative work, their time and patience.”

The exhibition shows three different series, but at the same time as Brita manages to constantly renew herself, she also remains true to herself.  There is no doubt when one encounters a Brita Been tapestry that it is her creation.  The same is true for the woman herself—when one meets Brita Been, one knows that it is Brita Been.  I still remember the first time I met you ten years ago at the exhibit honoring stipend award-winners held at City Hall.  I remember you, dressed entirely in bright pink stripes, your dark page-boy haircut, and, not least of all, your incredibly joyful and energetic radiance.  I remember I thought then what I think now—this is an incredibly cool lady.

Warm congratulations, Brita, for the year, the day, and the exhibit.

*The reference to everyone coming from Telemark is because the Telemark-style folk costume is so popular and worn by many Norwegians, regardless of where their families originally lived.

Karianne H. Sand is an art historian and the head of Norske Tekstilkunstnere (Norwegian Textile Artists) and the SOFT Gallery in Oslo, the site of frequent cutting-edge textile exhibits.
Translated by Edi Thorstensson

Read more about the work of Brita Been on her site, britabeen.no, including an article from a 2015 issue of the Swedish Väv Magasin that gives interesting details about her weaving technique as well as her inspiration. Several of her tapestries are found on the Norwegian Absolute Tapestry site, here.

Monster Weaving Update

Marta Kløve Juuhl recently reported that the “monster weaving” at the Osterøy Museum has reached the ceiling. Enjoy these photos, and if you missed the description of the seat-belt-webbing weaving, read it here: “Weaving on the Ceiling: A New Exhibit and Installation at the Osterøy Museum.”

Perhaps this scaffolding, as a support structure for weaving, could be considered a sort of loom?

Perhaps this scaffolding, as a support structure for weaving, could be considered a sort of loom?

Marta Kløve Juuhl under the Norwegian star

Marta Kløve Juuhl under the Norwegian star

Perhaps Monika Ravnanger  had tired arms after waving above her head?

Perhaps Monika Ravnanger had tired arms after weaving above her head?

This photo showing the wall and ceiling gives a good sense of the huge scale of this project

This photo showing the wall and ceiling gives a good sense of the huge scale of this project

Exhibit: Historical Scandinavian Textiles (Part One)

By Robbie LaFleur

At every meeting of the long-standing Scandinavian Weavers Study Group of the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, members and guests bring weavings for show and tell. Usually we discuss our own creations, but often members bring pieces they have purchased or otherwise acquired.  These pieces are admired and studied, and in may cases, inspire new adaptations by group members.

Members of the group have seen many fabulous textiles over the years, and now we are sharing the opportunity to see them in person with visitors to the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, and digitally to the readers of the Norwegian Textile Letter.

These treasures from the collections of the study group members are a motley bunch, considering technique, materials, and method of acquisition.  What they share is good design and owners who appreciate and treasure them.

The pieces featured in this article, arranged by owner, are on display at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota until the end of December.

Where do the textiles come from?

Several pieces in the show are Swedish weavings gifted to Melba Granlund by her friend from church who knew that Melba would understand them and value them.

Some of our members are veteran scanners of online sales and recognize treasures. Sylvia Mohn bought mid-century Finnish transparencies. Jane Connett knew quite well that a tapestry reproduction of a row of Wise and Foolish Virgins was not an Albanian kelim, as was advertised on Ebay!

While buying Scandinavian dining room chairs, Phyllis Waggoner spotted rag rugs that had been used in shipping containers from Sweden, and bought them for a song.

Judy Larson shared a tapestry from a Swedish weaver who inspired her weaving journey. And finally, Karin Maahs shares family pieces she has known and loved her whole life.

Prepare to be inspired!

Phyllis Waggoner Recognized Rag Rug Treasures

Long Rag rug: plain weave. Warp: cotton seine twine sett at 9 epi.  Weft: rags, 2 cm wide of various fibers. Warp ends covered with fabric binding. 12’ 6” long, 21” wide.

long-rug

This was a serendipitous purchases from the International Design Center, importers of mid-century Modern Scandinavian furniture, about 1998. Well-worn rag rugs were used to wrap the furniture that was shipped from Scandinavia to the US. Phyllis paid about $10 each for four Swedish rag rugs.

img_0214-1The rugs were in a big pile at the corner of the showroom where I was shopping for dining room chairs to go with our teak table. Not surprisingly, the mound caught my attention and I asked the salesman about the rugs and he explained how they came to his showroom.

Smaller Rag rug: twill threading, treadled as Overshot and plain weave. Warp: cotton sett at 8 epi. Weft: 2 cm for plain weave, pattern weft 3 cm. Warp finish, overhand knots.

smal-rug

 

This rug was purchased from a spinning wheel importer who explained that the rugs were used to wrap the spinning wheels during shipment from Sweden. Phyllis paid about $15.

Melba Granlund’s Gifts and Flea Market Find

Dukagång Pillow Cover.  Warp: linen. Weft: linen background and wool pattern inlay.  23″ x 22″ wide. Similar dukagång motifs are depicted in Gunvor Johansson’s book, Skanska Allmogevävnader, now available in English as Heirlooms of Skåne: Weaving Techniques.

 

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Swedish Art Weave Wool Runner, combining dukagång, and krabbesnår. Warp: linen. Weft: wool. 22″ x 75″ long.

art-weave-runner

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Swedish Art Weave Runner, combining rölakan and dukagång techniques. Warp: linen. Weft: wool.  23.5″ wide x 48.5″ long.

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Runner in M.M.F. (Marta Maas Fetterstrom) Technique. Warp: linen.  Weft: linen tow yarn for structural background, wool for the inlay pattern. 23.5″ wide x 78″ long (including fringe). The technique is described in the Manual of Swedish Handweaving by Ulla Cyrus-Zetterstrom, pp. 132-4.

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Melba explained the source of her beautiful pieces:

These four pieces were gifted to me from a close friend.  She and her husband, a former pastor, had received them (along with other weavings) from a parishioner while serving a congregation in Worcester, Massachusetts.    The pieces were apparently woven by someone in the woman’s family in southern Sweden.   Because the woman had no family to which they should be given, she gifted them to the pastor and his wife.   Knowing of my love for Swedish weaving and that my mother came from Skane, Sweden, close to where these weavings were created, my friend thought I should now assume the role of caretaker of these lovely pieces. Consultation with Laurann Gilbertsen, Chief Curator at the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa, revealed that all the pieces dated back to the late 19th or early 20th century.

Black/red/blue woolen table runner.  Warp: linen.  Weft: wool. 23.5″ wide x 89″ long.

black-swedish

helsinki-detailOn the final day of the 2013 Vesterheim Textile Tour, we had a free morning in Helsinki, Finland.  Having heard of a flea market only a few short blocks from our hotel, some of us decided what better way to spend our last few hours before leaving for the airport.  Besides, I still had $50 Euros burning a hole in my pocket.  At the first booth, I struck gold at the bottom of a cardboard box, in the form of two wonderful textiles — one woolen paisley shawl and the other a long, black woolen table runner.  Another shopper told me that the piece looked like weaving from the Karelia region of Finland, which our group had just visited a few days earlier.

Upon returning home, I showed this piece to Laurann Gilbertsen, Chief Curator at the Vesterheim Mususem in Decorah, Iowa.  She confirmed that the piece was woven in the Swedish krabbasnår technique. Apparently, the clue was in the finely spun yarn and the colors used.  Although Swedish krabbasnår is the same as the Norwegian Vestfoldmett technique, much heavier, thicker yarn is used in the Norwegian pieces.  Upon further research, I located examples of similar motifs in Doris Wiklund’s book, Old Swedish Weavings from North to South (pp.232-5).  In the book, the pieces are identified as being purchased in Dalarna from an itinerant peddlar woman.

The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum has similar pieces in its collection. The American Swedish Institute also has many pieces in this technique, probably because they were popular tourist items sold in Sweden.

See Part Two for more Scandinavian textile treasures.

 

 

Exhibit: Historical Scandinavian Textiles (Part Two)

Karin Maahs has treasures she has known her whole life, and a recent find.

Tapestry cartoon. Hans Georg Berg. Watercolor, 1929. 22″ x 23″ wide.

cartoon

Best photo available due to glass

Hans Berg, born in 1895 in Kristiania (now Oslo), Norway,  studied painting under Christian Krohg at the National Art Academy in Oslo. After marrying Inga, he studied in several academies in Paris, Germany, Italy, France, and throughout Europe. He practised in several media: oil painting, fresco, watercolor, drawing, jewelry making, metalwork, and ceramics.  At one point Hans worked as a silversmith for David Andersen, a famous jeweler in Norway. In 1950, following WWII, Hans, Inga, and their youngest daughter Ellen emigrated to America and settled in the Minneapolis area. Hans became one of the premier rosemaling artists in Minnesota, and taught painting and rosemaling at Augsburg College.

Tapestry. Inga Berg. warp: linen.  weft: handspun and dyed wool. Woven in the early 1930s. 22″ x 23″ wide (excluding fringe)

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Inga Berg, born in 1897 in Lier, Norway, married artist Hans Berg in 1921.  They studied art on a months-long honeymoon throughout Europe. In 1929 Inga studied weaving theory at Sister Bengston’s weaving school in Oslo, Norway. She was prolific in spinning, dyeing, knitting, weaving and sewing.  Often Hans would create a pattern for his adoring wife to weave.

Karin has many memories of the artistic activities of her grandparents.

Hans Berg painted his wife Inga at the loom (not in the exhibit).

Hans Berg painted his wife Inga at the loom (not in the exhibit).

As a child growing up in the 60s and 70s, living next door to my grandparents, I spent countless hours watching, listening, and learning about all kinds of art.  Many afternoons were spent quietly watching grandma weaving by a big picture window in the warm winter sunlight. I was also mesmerized by watching grandpa paint. With grandma, I often sat on the floor waiting for instruction as to when to push the peddles for the spinning wheel or the very old Singer sewing machine.

Inga made many pillowcases, table runners, and wall coverings large and small to warm and decorate the house.  Every flat area in their home was covered with paintings or weavings. It was a true museum filled with inspiration to fill the artistic imagination.

I recall that this particular weaving portrays a Norwegian folk tale, possibly Hans Christian Andersen’s “Folksangens fugl.” Hans Berg designed and painted it in 1929 and Inga wove it shortly after that, using her own handspun and dyed wool.

Monksbelt Coverlet.  Warp: linen. Weft: linen background and wool pattern weft.

red-coverlet

It is not certain that this coverlet is from Scandinavia, but if we were told it was from Sweden or Norway, it would seem quite plausible.  Karin found the textile on a recent trip to the East Coast.

monksbelt-detailI purchased it from Lifeline Thrift in Portsmouth, Virginia.  I was told it was acquired from a very old farmstead in Suffolk, Virginia, just up the river from Jamestown.  It appears to have handspun linen warp and handspun and dyed wool weft.  It is delightful to dream about who may have woven this, more than a century ago, and who may have used it.  This is a treasure from colonial times with a Scandinavian flair.

Judith Payne, who is familiar with historical textiles, estimated that the coverlet is 18th century, mid to late. It is woven in a Monks Belt structure called checkerboard. The dye is cochineal, madder or bloodroot.

The coverlet has been cleaned by placing a screen over it and gently vacuuming using an attachment tool.

Judy Larson received her treasure decades ago.

Tapestry of Rattvik, Sweden. By Kerstin Ackerman.  Warp: cotton. Weft: fabric strips. 15″ x 12″ wide.

sweden-tapestry

Judy described how she came to own this tapestry.

My grandfather’s cousin’s wife was one of the first Swedish relatives I met in 1976.  She was  a weaver, who had the studio on the first floor and lived on the second floor of the family homestead in Vikarbyn, Sweden.  She showed me her Glimakra loom, with the photograph of the village on Lake Siljan all gridded out.  Then she explained that she would go line by line, adding in the colors as needed, and counting the spaces to determine the length.  As a college student, I was amazed and intrigued, but never thought I’d ever have a chance to explore the wonders of weaving.

Now, when I go to see Kerstin, which I still do every other year, she has stopped weaving and taken up photography, so we discuss my weavings.  She still has a special stash of her weavings that she gives as special presents, like the Rattvik rug that she gave my daughter for a wedding gift.  Kerstin’s looms are now part of a village weaving cooperative, but she still has a houseful of beautiful weavings on her floors and walls.  Her rugs still inspire me, and I treasure the weavings that I have from her.

Jane Connett knows Norwegian tapestry when she sees it.

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Tapestry.  Warp: linen. Weft: wool. 20.5″ x 30″ wide.

Jane Connett acquired a beautiful Norwegian tapestry during a time she was feeling a bit laid up a few months ago.  “I spent a lot of time on Ebay,” she explained.  Although the tapestry was advertised as an “Albanian kelim,” fans of Norwegian tapestry know perfectly well that it is a replica of a portion of a Norwegian Wise and Foolish Virgins tapestry.  It was slightly faded on one side, but the colors were clear and strong on the other.  The technical quality of the weaving is outstanding.  Since the weaving followed Norwegian tradition, all the ends were sewn in so that either side is equally beautiful.

Sylvia Mohn was active on Ebay.

Kastehlmi (Dewdrop). Warp and weft: linen. Woven label: Kasityoliike Sylvi Salonen, Handmade in Finland.   Design: Ritta Suomi. 41.5″ x 21.5″ wide (with frame).

circles

 

circles-detail_edited-1I bought this perhaps 10 or 15 years ago on eBay.  At the time I was looking for woven wall hangings using peach/rust/brick colors. This weaving was a similar in construction to a transparent weaving I’d gotten earlier, with the weaving lashed onto a frame.  What I liked about the design were the curved lines, the lightness and openness, and the asymmetry.  I thought this might be from the 1970’s with the orange and brown colors, reflecting the midcentury popularity of imported Scandinavian textiles and graphics.

Puluset.  (Doves).  Warp and weft: linen. Woven label:  Sylvi Salonen*.  Design:  Tuula Jarvinen. 21.5′ x 21.5″ (with frame). 

birds

birds-detailI bought this weaving at a local thrift store, perhaps 15 years ago. I liked the way the birds were abstracted into a graphic design, with their rounded lines juxtaposed against a linear background, even though the colors seemed a bit dull.

*Anita Jain, a Finnish-American textile artist, added information about the pieces, including the English words for the titles of the transparencies.  Sylvi Salonen is the name of a handcraft store in Turku. It was started by Sylvi Salonen in 1927, was later run by her daughter, Riitta Suomi, and is now operated by Riitta’s daughter, Sanna Suomi.

See more treasures in Part One of this article.

50 Years of Folk Art at Vesterheim

By Laurann Gilbertson

Exhibition: 50 Years of Folk Art

vesterheimVesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa, is celebrating 50 years of folk art, through classes, the National Exhibitions of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition, and tours to Norway.  To mark this important anniversary, Vesterheim has created a special exhibition to share at least a few of the stories of 20 folk art tours to Norway, 90 Norwegian teachers, 145 American teachers, hundreds of class topics, and hundreds – if not thousands – of students between 1967 to 2016.

What is Folk Art?

Folk art is simply art of the people.  American folk art is often defined as the work of self-taught artists, artists who have not had formal artistic training.  It can be “outsider” art, created by artists who have had little contact with the mainstream art world and who may be expressing unconventional ideas or spiritual visions.

Folk art can also be defined as global art, fitting closely to local traditions.  At Vesterheim, Norwegian folk art typically refers to useful objects created and decorated using local materials by individuals of a particular, often rural, region of Norway between 1600 and 1900. These objects and techniques usually expressed regional aesthetic and styles and were borne of traditions developed over several hundred years. The craftspeople that made these items typically learned their trades informally or through apprenticeships. The objects they created needed to be functional and beautiful.

What is Tradition?

Tradition is a repeated pattern of behaviors, beliefs, or objects passed down from one generation to the next.  We follow traditions because they mean something to us. Traditions change through time and evolve with the availability of resources, forces of nature, personal taste, political or religious ideas, and foreign influences. All traditions change. But how far can they change?

Can an object made today be called traditional folk art? The artists of the eighteenth century didn’t have commercially-spun yarn, chemical dyes, circular knitting needles. Can an object made using these things be called traditional folk art?

Vesterheim often uses the phrase “in the tradition” to describe objects made today that are based on or inspired by historical examples. As long as there is a strong visual connection, it seems acceptable to change to the material OR technique OR medium. Too many changes, however, and the piece is no longer recognizable as having been part of the Norwegian tradition.

Folk Art and Vesterheim

Vesterheim began in 1877 as the Luther College Museum and folk art was part of the collection from the very beginning. Norwegian immigrant materials, including folk art brought from Norway, became the official focus of the collection by 1895.

In 1964, Luther College hired Marion Nelson, an art historian, to catalog the collection. He soon became director of an independent, world-class Vesterheim museum. Nelson was passionate about folk art and saw the collection’s potential to educate artists interested in Norwegian folk art. Nelson launched the Folk Art School and National Exhibition of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition in 1967.

Weaving was added to the National Exhibition, an annual judged exhibition of folk art in the Norwegian tradition, in 1981. A jacket woven by Marie Nodland of St. Paul, Minnesota, won a blue ribbon that year. The diamond twill reverses to rya (pile weave) and there are handknit collar and cuffs.

Weaving was added to the National Exhibition, an annual judged exhibition of folk art in the Norwegian tradition, in 1981. A jacket woven by Marie Nodland of St. Paul, Minnesota, won a blue ribbon that year. The diamond twill reverses to rya (pile weave) and there are handknit collar and cuffs.

While Nelson was interested in folk art as an academic, he did not create folk art himself. His wife, Lila Nelson, was an accomplished weaver and textile artist who would go on to teach many textile classes at Vesterheim in her capacity as textile curator.

The opportunity to study and practice of folk art is also offered through tours to Norway.  The first tours, starting in 1970, provided a folk art focus while traveling.  Since 1978, tours often included hands-on workshops with local artists as instructors.

Students learned Telemarksvev in the weaving class during Vesterheim’s first hands-on Folk Art Tour to Norway in 1978. The teacher, Elsa Bjerck, is standing in back, second from the right. Lila Nelson, the museum’s Textile Curator, is second from the left.

Students learned Telemarksvev in the weaving class during Vesterheim’s first hands-on Folk Art Tour to Norway in 1978. The teacher, Elsa Bjerck, is standing in back, second from the right. Lila Nelson, the museum’s Textile Curator, is second from the left.

Fiber Arts at Vesterheim

A wide range of fiber classes have been offered at Vesterheim, from embroidery, knitting, nålbinding (knotless netting), spinning, loom weaving, bandweaving, sheepskin printing, and basketry.

Oline Bredeli of Molde, Norway, taught weaving and working with teger, birch or spruce root, in 1982 and 1990. Canadian artist Karen Casselman’s specialty is historical plant dyes. She taught dyeing at Vesterheim in 1997, 2002, and 2005. For this placemat, she used korkje, a Norwegian dye made from fermented lichens.

Oline Bredeli of Molde, Norway, taught weaving and working with teger, birch or spruce root, in 1982 and 1990. Canadian artist Karen Casselman’s specialty is historical plant dyes. She taught dyeing at Vesterheim in 1997, 2002, and 2005. For this placemat, she used korkje, a Norwegian dye made from fermented lichens.

Fiber arts have been at the core of Vesterheim’s Folk Art School since 1967 when Carola Schmidt taught the first class in hardangersøm, a cutwork and embroidery technique from the Hardanger region of Norway.

Grace Rikansrud, a nationally recognized expert on Norwegian needlework from Decorah, began her two decade teaching career in 1970. Rug hooking was also added in 1970, along with the first weaving course taught by Lila Nelson, Vesterheim’s registrar and textile curator. Nelson gave students an overview of Norwegian weaving by focusing on traditional coverlet techniques, which continues to be a focus of weaving classes today.

Vesterheim hosted a rug hooking camp for many years and rug hooking was part of the National Exhibition from 1970 to 2005.  Now independent, the Decorah Rug School continues to meet each summer for classes.  Marianna Sausaman (West Lafayette, Ind.), Esther Miller (Decorah, Iowa), Anne Duder (Decorah, Iowa), and Dorothy Huse (Chippewa Falls, Wisc.) have directed the rug school.

The first weaving class with a Norwegian instructor was in 1978.  Elsa Eikås Bjerck, from Jølster in Sunnfjord, taught tapestry and bandweaving at Vesterheim.  An important weaver in her own right, Bjerck is known for traditional and contemporary textiles, monumental works for public buildings, and church textiles.

Elsa Eikås Bjerck was the first Norwegian instructor to teach weaving at Vesterheim. In 1978 she also taught weaving on a Vesterheim folk art tour to Norway. This piece replicates an early bed pillow from Jølster in Sogn, Norway, in plant-dyed wool on linen. The mittens were done in nålbinding, an ancient looping technique.

Elsa Eikås Bjerck was the first Norwegian instructor to teach weaving at Vesterheim. In 1978 she also taught weaving on a Vesterheim folk art tour to Norway. This piece replicates an early bed pillow from Jølster in Sogn, Norway, in plant-dyed wool on linen. The mittens were done in nålbinding, an ancient looping technique.

What has always set Vesterheim’s Folk Art School apart from other visual art and fine handcraft programs is the focus on historical objects – the collection – that can inform and inspire. Most classes at Vesterheim include a guided visit in the museum galleries or look at the depth and breadth of the collection in the museum’s storage facilities.

The Future of Folk Art

What does the future look like for Norwegian folk art in America?  Are traditions going to live another 50 years?

Some say that the future of folk art looks bleak. With each generation we are further and further from the original practice of folk art. What meaning can folk art hold for the sixth, seventh, or eighth generations?

Others say that the future looks bright. No matter how Norwegian you are (and even if you are not Norwegian at all) you can find enjoyment, fulfilment, and meaning in learning and practicing skills that are rooted in the past. The beauty and pleasure of creating is not dependent on a time period, an ethnicity, or a language.

“50 Years of Folk Art” is on view at Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa, through April 23, 2017.  The exhibition was made possible by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts; Veronna and John Capone; Ron Hovda; and additional support.

John Skare, Bricelyn, Minnesota, in the exhibition. Handwoven rya wall hanging, 1987. “Mona took this photo of the kids and me by my rya weaving that the Vesterheim purchased in 1987.  I remember Marion Nelson relating this piece to the ryas that were placed in the bottom of the long boats.  Perhaps my heritage was creeping into my artworks without my knowledge.  I hadn’t seen this piece since 1987.  A reunion for me with one of my creations.  A bit emotional.  I like this piece.  It was created with handspun wool yarns and wool blankets scraps from the Faribault Woolen Mill.  Wool carpet mill ends where used for the weft.  The weft ends have been wrapped.  I know this artwork’s DNA quite well. An old friend with a good home, the Vesterheim.”

John Skare, Bricelyn, Minnesota, in the exhibition. Handwoven rya wall hanging, 1987. “Mona took this photo of the kids and me by my rya weaving that the Vesterheim purchased in 1987.  I remember Marion Nelson relating this piece to the ryas that were placed in the bottom of the long boats.  Perhaps my heritage was creeping into my artworks without my knowledge.  I hadn’t seen this piece since 1987.  A reunion for me with one of my creations.  A bit emotional.  I like this piece.  It was created with handspun wool yarns and wool blankets scraps from the Faribault Woolen Mill.  Wool carpet mill ends where used for the weft.  The weft ends have been wrapped.  I know this artwork’s DNA quite well. An old friend with a good home, the Vesterheim.”

Laurann Gilbertson is the Chief Curator of the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum and a tireless promoter of Scandinavian textiles.

November, 2016

 

 

 

 

Weaving on the Ceiling: A New Exhibit and Installation at the Osterøy Museum

By Marta Kløve Juuhl (translated by Robbie LaFleur)

Spring 2016: Much Planning was Underway

The idea came during a lunchroom discussion with the exhibit architect, who had done something similar in the past.

I wanted to have something that would begin on the ceiling and come down over the end wall.

The background was that the permanent exhibits at the museum were being renovated. I wanted to have more focus on traditional knowledge tied to objects in the museum; it should reflect the traditional skills and knowledge of the people of the Osterøy community. The people on Osterøy are enthusiastic and full of initiative, and there are many large and small businesses.

The monster-weaving part of the project was a collaboration among Solveig Jordan, the head of our division; Dennis Guhl, our carpentry specialist; Nikolai Rypdal Tallaksen, our archivist; Monika Sunnanå Ravnanger, my weaving student; and me, with responsibility for the textile department.

Dennis has many contacts among local businesses.  They made the steel supports and a frame to surround the weaving, according to Dennis’s instructions.

martaIt took a long time to find the straps that would act as the warp on the ceiling, and we ended up ordering from a company in the Oslo area.  They had the red color we wanted, and also green and yellow.  The straps are five centimeters wide and came in 50 meter rolls. They are straps for life vests for boats and seat belt strapping. When we ordered 25 kilometers of strapping, the supplier was quite curious about what we were going to do with it.

img_5475I started the setup after Dennis attached the steel supports to the end wall and three places on the ceiling. As it showed in the photo in the newspaper, we used scaffolding to get high enough to lift each strap over the supports. A sewing machine sat on a rolling table in the room, and I moved it each time I needed to join the straps.

It was one thing to put the straps in place, but they also needed to be pulled tight. Nikolai and I stood on scaffolding on either end to lift the straps around the steel supports, and Dennis ran back and forth on the floor and tightened.

After all the red warp straps were tightened, 66 in all, it was time for weaving. I started down on the ground, but quickly came high enough to need the scaffolding.

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The pattern we used was taken directly from an åkle (coverlet) that hung in the exhibit in the room.  Between each strap we wove two shots of plain weave with fishing line, which was thin and strong and transparent and held the straps in place. Each square in the pattern is 10 by 10 cm.  It took Monika and I about two days to weave/work in the pattern.  There is, of course, no shed in this weaving, which is why I added “work in.” Our hands were quite sore after a while.

The red color on the ceiling has a dominant effect in the exhibition hall; the monster-weave installation brings together the old and the new in the exhibit.  It illustrates the old themes, such as weaving and metalwork, in a new context.

For this installation there was a determination to work on the project together. Everyone was in on the discussion, and then it was Dennis and I who figured out how we could execute the ideas.

To make it work required a lot of mathematics and stretching out of the pattern. It’s difficult to describe how much mental effort it took; it followed me for many weeks. There were constantly small adjustments to air with the others. And it was just because we had so many contributors, that the project had such a great result.

The plan is that we will weave several motifs on the ceiling, which will last until sometime this winter.

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Note: See additional photos in an article by Snorre Bang Utaker from Bygdanytt, “Eit vevemonster har inntatt Osterøy museum,” (A Monster-weaving has Taken Over Østeroy Museum).  And if you would rather read the article in the original Norwegian, see below! 

Veven i taket: Ny utstilling og installasjon på Osterøy museum, våren 2016

Mykje planlegging.

Ideen kom i ein diskusjon på lunsjrommet saman med utstillingsarkitekt som hadde gjort noko liknande før.

Me ville gjerne ha noko i taket som kunne enda nedover på endeveggen.

Bakgrunnen var at heile den faste utstillingen vår skulle fornyast. Me ville ha meir fokus på tradisjonskunnskap knytt til samlingane på museet; det skal gjenspeila Osterøysamfunnet og dei praktiske kunnskapane og ferdigheitene folk har hatt. Her på Osterøy er det eit stort privat initiativ, mange gründerar og småbedrifter.

For å knyta dette direkte til monsterveven er det og eit samarbeid mellom Solveig, dagleg leiar, Dennis handverkaren vår, Nikolai, arkivaren vår, Monika, vevlærlingen min og meg som tekstilansvarleg.

Dennis har god kontakt med dei lokale bedriftene her. Dei laga stålstenger og ramme rundt sjølve det vovne partiet etter Dennis sine mål.

Me brukte lang tid på å finna stropper som skulle fungera som renningstrådar i taket, og enda opp med å bestilla frå eit firma i Oslo-området. Dei hadde fyrst og fremst raudfargen, men og den gule og den grøne. Stroppene er 5 cm breie, dei kom i rullar på 50 meter. Det er eigentleg stropper til redningsvestar i båt og sikkerheitsselar i bil. Då me bestilte 25 kilometer av dette, var leverandøren veldig nysgjerrig på kva me skulle bruka det til. Me starta monteringa etter at Dennis hadde festa stålstengene til endeveggene og på tre plassar oppe i taket. Som det viser på biletet i avisa brukte me gardintrapp for å koma så høgt at me kunne lyfta kvar stropp over  stålstengene.

Symaskinen stod på eit trillebord i salen, så flytte me den etter kvart som me måtte skøyta stroppene.

Ein ting var å få stroppene på plass, men dei måtte og strammast etter kvart. Då stod Nikolai og eg på stillas i kvar vår ende av den 25 meter lange salen for å lyfta stroppene rundt stålstengene, og Dennis sprang att og fram nede på golvet og stramma.

Etter at alle dei raude renningsstroppene var festa, 66 i alt, var det tid for veving, etter kvart også på stillas. Eg starta nede på golvet, men kom fort opp så høgt at eg trengde stillaset.

Mønsteret som er brukt er plukka direkte frå åkle som heng på utstilling i salen. Mellom kvar stroppe er det to innslag i lerret med fiskesnøre, det er tynt og sterkt og gjennomsiktig, og held stroppene på plass. Kvar rute i mønsteret er 10 x 10 cm. Det gjekk eit par dagar for Monika og meg å veva/fletta inn heile mønsteret. Det er sjølvsagt ikkje noko skille i denne veven. Difor skriv eg veva/fletta. Me vart faktisk ganske såre på hendene etter kvart.

Den raude renningen i taket er eit nokså dominerande innslag i utstillingssalen vår, den er som ein installasjon som bind saman det gamle og det nye i utstillingen. Den belyser gamle tema, så som veving og metallarbeid sett inn i ein ny samanheng. I tillegg kjem viljen til å gjera dette saman. Alle var med i diskusjonen, og så var det Dennis og eg som måtte tenkja ut korleis me kunne gjennomføra ideen.

Det ligg mykje matematikk bak og utrekning av mønster for å dette til å stemma, og det er vanskeleg å skriva om tankearbeidet som var nødvendig. Det fylgde meg i mange veker, det var stadig små justeringar å lufta med dei andre. Nettopp det at me var såpass mange om arbeidet gjer sitt til at det vart så vellukka.

Planen vår er at me skal veva inn fleire motiv i taket. Det vert til vinteren ein gong.

Marta Kløve Juuhl