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“Traditional Norwegian Weaving: American Reboot” at Norway House, This Summer

Corwyn Knutson’s “Hardanger Cherry Blossoms”

This between-issue post is to alert anyone who can visit Minneapolis between July 20 and September 10: there is a great exhibit opening at Norway House. “Traditional Norwegian Weaving: American Reboot” is  a collaboration between the Weavers Guild of Minnesota and Norway House.  

Inspired by historical textiles, American weavers have used Norwegian weaving techniques to create a new body of work, contemporary in design or materials. Enjoy traditional pieces from the collection of the Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum and outstanding weavings from recent decades that honor the past and break through with modern expression.  

Susan Gangsei’s “Seal Skin Soul Skin”

The exhibit of invited pieces (40 in all) is based around several techniques, including rya; tapestry; krokbragd and other boundweave variants; band weaving; and overshot weaves such as monks belt and skilbragd.  Other pieces are chosen to illustrate where American weavers learned their skills in Norwegian techniques, and where weaving in the Norwegian tradition has been exhibited over the years.

Related events include lectures and classes and weaving demonstrations.  A loom will be set up in the gallery where members of the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group will weave a rutevev (square weave) runner.

  • Opening celebration: Thursday, July 20, 2017, 5-8 pm.
  • Gallery talks: Sundays, July 23 and August 13, 2 pm.
  • Weaving demonstrations: Wednesdays and Sundays from July 23-September 10, 12 pm-3 pm
  • Afternoon with an Expert, featuring Laurann Gilbertson, Curator, Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum: Saturday, September 9, 1-3:30 pm.  Following the lecture, “Warmth and Color: Traditional Norwegian Coverlets,” Gilbertson will conduct an Antique ID clinic.  Members of the public are encouraged to bring Nordic textiles to learn more about their age, origin, and function (but no appraisals).   
  • Classes: Sami-style Band Weaving, Mondays, August 14 and 21, 12-4 pm; Make a Viking Knit Bracelet, Monday, July 24, 10 am-2 pm; Cardboard Loom Weaving for Kids, Monday, August 7, 10 am – noon. Taking a class is a special opportunity to see the weaving exhibit in depth, as the Weavers Guild classes will be held at Norway House, right in the main gallery.

A traditional krokbragd coverlet from the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.

Also, follow the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group blog in the coming weeks to read about the weavers and their inspiration for many of the individual pieces. Several posts are up; you can see which pieces by Lila Nelson will be included, 

Come to the opening!  Thursday, July 20, 5-8 pm (Welcome at 6 pm).  Many of the artists will be in attendance, wearing special “Ask me about the weavings” badges.  There will be a cash bar and refreshments provided by Envision Catering.  

From Icelandic Weaving of Viking Times to Contemporary Tapestry

The new issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter is up! 

This spring I ran across an issue of a Norwegian publication about local history, Lokalhistorisk Magazine. They had a whole issue devoted to art and handcraft, “Kunst og husflid.” I felt like I found gold; the issue includes several interesting articles on textiles.  I contacted the publisher, and editor Audhild Brødreskift was very gracious about allowing us to publish translations of the articles in The Norwegian Textile Letter. The first appears in this issue, “A Synopsis of the History of Norwegian Tapestry – and Some Thoughts about Tapestry Today,” by tapestry artist Unn Sønju.  Unn was delightful to work with, and she supplied the English translation.  I asked about her own influences for a bio, and that turned into a separate article featuring her amazing work. 

In March I wished I could hop over to Norway to take a course in Icelandic Glit, a weaving technique on the warp-weighted loom.  That didn’t work, but I managed the second-best option, getting a wonderful article about the class and technique from Hildur Hakonardottir. For added interest, there are comments from three students in the class, Marta Kløve Juul, Monika Ravnanger, and Randi Anderson.

Interest in warp-weighted looms is high these days!  When Melba Granlund demonstrated weaving a traditional Sami grene at the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival in Minnesota this spring, she was barely able to weave four inches in two days–she was talking nonstop to curious visitors to the Weavers Guild of Minnesota booth.  Clearly this is a perfect time for the new book, The Warp-Weighted Loom, by Hildur Hákonardóttir, Elizabeth Johnston, Marta Kløve Juul. Read a review of the book in this issue by Wendy Sundquist. 

Enjoy! norwegiantextileletter.com

HIlsen, Robbie LaFleur 

Wisdom and Folly: Norwegian Pictorial Coverlets

hali

My inadequate Iphone copy of a page from the article

This is the reprint I was waiting for! I have a passion for tapestry, and particularly the Norwegian billedvev tradition.  Last month, while examining tapestries at Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum, Curator Laurann Gilbertson mentioned this article and she pulled up the 1998 issue of HALI Magazine from their library.  I was amazed at the lovely illustrations and thought the article was so thorough and interesting. A couple of weeks later I thought it would be so nice to share the article with NTL readers, and even though I did NOT think I would get permission to reprint it, I received a positive response.  Please enjoy “Wisdom and Folly: Norwegian Pictorial Coverlets” by Jo Nilsson from the January 1998 issue of HALI Magazine.

View the article here.  Check out the entire issue here.

If you’d like to read more about my day with the tapestries at Vesterheim, here’s a post from my blog about a charming tapestry with food.

Subscriptions.  I want to thank the readers who have subscribed/donated so far through the PAYPAL button on the Norwegian Textile Letter main page. Not only is it wonderful to have the expenses of publication covered, it is also a vote of confidence that readers enjoy reading the content. Tusen takk!

 

 

 

 

The Norwegian Textile Letter, Volume 32, Number 1

The February 2017 issue is up.  It was delayed because I am waiting for another wonderful article, a reprint I received permission to share.  (And I was amazed–I only asked because it never hurts to try, right?) The pdf was promised to arrive this week, but when it did not come by today, I decided to share the rest of the great articles, and let you know when the other article is added. As a hint, the header for this issue is a clue.

arvestykker-rotatorFor now, you can feel the same “Darn, I wish I could have been there” feeling I did, when I learned of a wonderful exhibit of the work of tapestry artist Brita Been.  After reading the remarks from the opening by Karianne H. Sand, be sure to explore Brita Been’s website, linked at the bottom of the article.

drapedMany of us have admired traditional red-and-white woven Scandinavian bands. Now you can learn more about their use in christening ceremonies, in Lisa-Anne Bauch’s paper, “Threads of Devotion: Possible Medieval Origins of Nordic Christening Bands.”  Lisa said that she was inspired to undertake her study after seeing a basket, christening blanket, and bands in a display at the American Swedish Institute.  You can learn a bit more about that display, too.

Finally, I was excited to receive more photos from Marta Kløve Juuhl of the “monster weaving” at the Østeroy Museum; it has now reached the ceiling.  I certainly hope to see it in person someday soon.

Marta Kløve Juuhl under the Norwegian star

Marta Kløve Juuhl under the Norwegian star

You’ll hear from me again as soon as I have the other article to share with you.  Be sure to comment on any of the content in this issue, and let me know if there are articles you would like to see written, or that you would like to write.

Hilsen, Robbie LaFleur

robbielafleur.com

The Norwegian Textile Letter: Armchair Travel for the Holidays

I need to visit this coaster weaving in Norway

I need to visit this monster weaving in Norway

Armchair travel is the theme of this quarter’s Norwegian Textile Letter, with visits to wonderful Scandinavian textiles in Minneapolis, Minnesota;  Decorah, Iowa; and Osterøy, Norway.

If you are in Minneapolis before the end of 2016, be sure to stop by the Weavers Guild of Minnesota to see the beautiful textiles featured in the “Historical Scandinavian Textiles Exhibit.”   This was a test exhibit, in a way.  We know that there are many more treasures on the walls and in the cupboards of our Scandinavian Weavers Study Group — and of the readers of the Norwegian Textile Letter!  If you have a Scandinavian textile and story (and photos) to share with fellow readers, let me know. I will plan a future digital exhibit for the newsletter.

If you have ideas for articles for the NTL, or would like to write one yourself, please let me know.

Support the Norwegian Textile Letter

buzzFinally, publishing this digital newsletter has been a labor of love for the past three years.

While the NTL was a print publication, it had nearly 200 devoted readers.  Now over 800 people receive notices about each new issue.  Our readership is growing. In 2013 there was a total of 2,982 views of the newsletter online.  In 2015, there were 26,623 views. With one more issue to go in 2016, here have been over 24,000 views.

Largely because I wanted to concentrate on building readership and sharing the writing and work of many talented weavers and writers, and not spend time collecting annual dues (formerly, it cost $15/year), it has been free of charge. A modest nest egg from the print days paid for the initial web hosting and website theme charges. I would love to keep the newsletter free of charge and free of advertising. To that end, I added a “buy now” button to the sidebar of the newsletter, and will accept support for ongoing publishing with gratitude!  Thank you for your interest in the newsletter these past years.

Happy holidays and gledelig jul! The photo is of my cat Buzz atop my Christmas runner experiment from last year.

Robbie LaFleur
robbielafleur.com
lafleur1801@me.com

Danskbrogd, Part Two: The New Issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter is Live

The new issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter is Live, the second issue devoted to Norwegian danskbrogd, a technique mainly found in the area of Vest Agder.  In this issue, the focus shifts from design aspects to learning how to weave the technique.

norwegiantextileletter.com

Publishing these two issues, and pulling together all of the information I could find on the technique, has been partially self-serving.  I had seen the notebooks, and seen pieces done by contemporary weavers, but hadn’t tried danskbrogd myself.  I was not a participant in the study groups that investigated danskbrogd in the 1990s — I wanted that notebook, too!  So now after many hours of scanning and compiling and using a lot of printer ink, I have my own notebook, and about ten inches woven on a text danskbrogd piece.  I hope that others will be inspired to weave danskbrogd — I see an exhibit in the future!

I love these X designs.  Happy reading and weaving, Robbie LaFleur

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Kay LARSON, distinguished author

In the upcoming two-issue focus on danskbrogd, a lesser-known Norwegian weave structure from Vest Agder, Norway, we received permission to reproduce the chapter on the technique from Katherine Larson’s excellent book on Norwegian weaving, The Coverlets of Norway. I hope she forgives me for once again making the mistake of writing Nelson instead of Larson in my post about the upcoming Norwegian Textile Letter issue. I think it comes from growing up in northern Minnesota, where so many of my friends were Olsons, Nelsons, and Larsons.book

The Norwegian Textile Letter: Special Double Issue on Danskbrogd

The first and second issues of Volume 22 of the Norwegian Textile Letter will soon be ready. Two issues will come out next month, on August 1 and August 22, on a special theme: Danskbrogd.

Danskbrogd is a little-known weave structure found in a small area of Vest Agder, Norway, with characteristic geometric patterns in a light color against a dark background.  The most typical variant has bands of small danskbrogd designs interspersed with bands of krokbragd.  The designs are picked up in an open krokbragd shed.

danskbrogd-vest-agder2

A second style has larger, bolder designs that are picked up on a tabby shed.  These plain weave designs are bordered with bands of teeth and stripes.

danskbrogd-vest-agder6

The issues will include a compilation of photos of danskbrogd coverlets from the Vest Agder Museum in Krisiansand, Norway.  In the United States, Lila Nelson is credited for spreading the word about the technique, and we will see how she used the technique both in a traditional format and as a way to enhance her expressive tapestries.  There will be an article on a danskbrogd coverlet at Vesterhheim, a reproduction of the chapter on danskbrogd from Kay Larson’s book The Coverlets of Norway, and an instructional article on the technique by Jan Mostrom.  And more.

These issues will be a feast for your eyes, and inspiration for weavers to try the technique.

The second issue will include a gallery of contemporary interpretations of danskbrogd. Have you woven a danskbrogd piece I could include?  Please send photos and background information to me by August 15 at lafleur1801@me.com.

 

Norwegian Textile Letter – A New Issue

header-busserullThe new issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter includes very interesting articles translated from Norwegian — an in-depth interview of Annemor Sundbø, and articles about a controversy you might not have known is flaring in Norway. Does the popularity of knitting signal the death of feminism? Hmmm….

Carol Colburn writes about a garment that might even be in the closets of some Norwegian Textile readers, a busserull.

Enjoy!

Robbie LaFleur