By Laurann Gilbertson
Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum’s National Exhibition of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition was on view in Decorah, Iowa, from June 11 to July 27, 2013. The exhibition, which also includes woodworking, knifemaking, and rosemaling (decorative painting), attracted more than 3,400 visitors.
Weavers sent traditional and contemporary interpretations of Norwegian weaves. Judges wrote constructive comments and awarded ribbons. The judges were Marta Kløve Juuhl, a weaver from Arna, Norway, and Linda Elkins, former Instructor of Art at Luther College and a weaver from Decorah, Iowa.
Entries in the Traditional category followed the historical tradition in technique, colors, and materials. Entries could also be adaptations of old weavings. In this category, a Blue Ribbon went to Sandra Somdahl (Decorah, IA) for “Fall Morning” Wall Hanging in krokbragd technique.
A Red Ribbon went to Donna Laken (Rockford, IL) for “Crooked Path Blues” Rug in krokbragd technique.
A White Ribbon went to Betty Rikansrud Nelson (Decorah, IA) for Table Runner in doubleweave technique.
Honorable Mentions were awarded to Sharon Marquardt (Henning, MN) for a West Coast-style wall hanging and to Keith Pierce (Lauderdale, MN) for a Sami-style band.
Entries in the Contemporary category showed a contemporary departure from the historical tradition in technique or colors or materials. Some elements still identified the pieces as being within the Norwegian weaving tradition. In this category, Blue Ribbons went to Jane Connett (Roseville, MN) for “Bookmarks in Krokbragd Technique” and to Patty Kuebker Johnson (Roberts, WI) for “Exploring Drawloom” wall hanging.
Veronna Capone (Brookings, SD) received two Red Ribbon, for “Centerpiece in Monksbelt Technique” and “Centerpiece,” a runner in turned monksbelt technique.
No White Ribbons were awarded. Honorable Mentions went to Nancy Ellison (Zumbrota, MN) for “The Farmer’s Sheep” wall wanging in krokbragd and rya techniques and to Judy Ann Ness (Eugene, OR) for “Celestial Navigation: The Journey Home,” a wall hanging in krokbragd technique.
The Best of Show weaving was Jane Connett’s “Bookmarks.” Visitors to the exhibition voted for their favorite weaving to receive a People’s Choice award. They chose Donna Laken’s “Crooked Path Blues” rug.
As weavers win ribbons they accumulate points toward a Gold Medal. Blue Ribbon = 3 points, Red Ribbon = 2 points, White Ribbon = 1 point. After a weaver accumulates 8 points, he/she is awarded a Gold Medal. With their ribbons this year, Veronna Capone and Betty Rikansrud Nelson received Gold Medals in Weaving.
Consider sending a piece or two for next year’s exhibition. The deadline for entries will be May 23, 2014. You can find Official Rules and Guidelines online, or if you prefer that a copy of the rules be mailed to you, contact me by phone or email.
Laurann Gilbertson has been Textile Curator at Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum for 19 years and is now Chief Curator.
lgilbertson (at) vesterheim.org, 563-382-9681
(Editor’s note: Read more about Veronna Capone’s weaving and her gold medal here.)