Learning Weaving Traditions of Western Norway: An Exhibit in Moorhead, Minnesota

Are you near Moorhead, Minnesota?  You will want to visit the upcoming exhibition, Craft and Identity – Summer School in Norway: Learning Weaving Traditions of Western Norway, at the Prairie Fiber Arts Center, opening this Friday, January 12, 2018.

Last summer from May 9th through June 7th, four students from Concordia College in Moorhead Minnesota went on a learning adventure. Alexis Anderson, Kristina Brunson, Rachel Johnson, and Alli Pahl, joined Heidi Goldberg (Associate Professor of Art at Concordia) and her daughter Aubrie (a freshman at Oak Grove Lutheran High School in Fargo) for a month in Norway. Based in art, craft, and the connection of making and identity, the group interwove art practice, art history, and exploration of places and cultures. Visiting sites and artists in Lillehammer, Gjovik, Oslo, Osterøy, and Bergen, the group focused a week at the Hordaland Museum on Osterøy learning warp-weighted weaving techniques from expert weavers Marta Kløve Juuhl and Monika Sunnanå Ravnanger. The works in this exhibition are samples woven during the course representing traditional åkler (bedspread) designs from Western Norway, and varafeldur (Viking cloak).

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The Craft and Identity group (left to right); Aubrie Goldberg, Kristina Brunson, Rachel Johnson, Alli Pahl, Alexis Anderson, and Heidi Goldberg

The opening reception will be on Friday the 12th of January, 4-5:30. The show will close on Friday February 16th. Prairie Fiber Arts Center is located at 127 4th Street South, Moorhead, Minnesota.

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Concordia students working on back-to-back warp-weighted looms at the Hordaland Museum in Osterøy, Norway

If you can’t make it to the exhibit, you can look forward to a lengthy description of the trip, with many photos, in the next issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter, coming in late February.

A Wonderful Scanian Art Weaves Adventure

For the new issue of The Norwegian Textile Letter, Edi Thorstensson did a wonderful job of gathering the thoughts and images of several lucky Americans who took a Swedish Art Weaves course last summer in Landskrona, Sweden. Like me, you will be sad you were not there too!

A Wonderful Scanian Art Weaves Adventure
Weaving the Art Weaves of Skåne
Inspiration, Outreach, and Connection  
Gunvor Johansson’s Exhibit at Bosjökloster
Fika and the Joy of Lingonberry Cake

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In the same issue, don’t miss the article about the enduring image of The Wise and Foolish Virgins in Norwegian billedvev (tapestry) and about Annemor Sundbø’s adventures in processing nettles for fiber.   The Norwegian Textile Letter

Two Wonderful Scandinavian Weaving Courses

jan-portraitThe Winter-Spring classes at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota have been posted. I think you will have to act soon to get a spot in one of Jan Mostrom’s classes: Danskbrogd or Swedish Art Weaves. Jan is a patient and thorough teacher, and of course, a fabulous weaver.  See more of Jan’s weaving here. Read much more about danskbrogd here.

Danskbrogd with Jan Mostrom

Danskbrogd is a little known technique originally found in a small area of Norway. It is typical to have bands of geometric patterns in light color spots against a dark background between bands of krokbragd or in larger designs on plain weave. After becoming comfortable weaving danskbrogd with a pick up stick on both plain weave and with krokbragd, we will continue weaving danskbrogd on a multishaft threading without a need to use a pick up stick. Knowing how to weave krokbragd is NOT a prerequisite for the class.

Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday, January 29 – 31: 10:00am – 4:00pm; Friday, February 2: 10:00am – 1:00pm | REGISTER

Level and Prerequisites: Intermediate: Requires some experience, the ability to warp on your own, and to start and finish projects.
Tuition: $189 WGM Member / $252 Non-member

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Swedish Art Weaves with Jan Mostrom

Swedish art weaves are at their best in the highly decorated weavings of the Skåne area of Sweden. Dukagång, krabbasnår and halvkrabbe are woven in a similar manner using butterflies to inlay designs, but each have a distinctive look. Dukagång is made up of columns. Krabbasnår designs move on a diagonal while halvkrabbe is made up of squares like a checkerboard. Rölakan is a geometric tapestry technique that is also seen in the weavings of Skåne. Students will weave a sampler of these techniques, discuss color choices, finishing techniques and ideas for making a sampler into a pillow or bag.

Monday – Wednesday, May 14 – 16: 10:00am – 4:00pm; and Friday, May 18: 10:00am – 4:00pm | REGISTER

Level and Prerequisites: Intermediate: Requires some experience in the subject and the ability to start and finish projects. Students must be able to wind a warp, warp a floor loom and read a draft
independently.
Tuition: $216 WGM Member / $288 Non-member

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“Afternoon with an Expert” at Norway House, September 9, 2017

afternoonThe last weekend of the Weavers Guild of Minnesota and Norway House exhibition, “Traditional Norwegian Textiles: American Reboot,” includes special programming.  Afternoon with an Expert, on Saturday, September 9, from 1-3:30 pm, features Laurann Gilbertson, Curator at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum. Her lecture,  “Warmth and Color: Traditional Norwegian Coverlets,” will begin at 1 pm.  Following the lecture, 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).  Perhaps you have inherited a coverlet or hanging, but know little about it?  Maybe you bought a beautiful textile at an antique store or thrift shop and you wonder about its origins?

All those attending the lecture and visiting the exhibit are welcome to stay for the Antique ID portion, a special opportunity to see even more Scandinavian textiles.

Afternoon with an Expert: Laurann Gilbertson at Norway House
Saturday, September 9, 2017

12-3 pm:  Visit the exhibition, “Traditional Norwegian Textiles: American Reboot”
1 pm:       “Warmth and Color: Traditional Norwegian Coverlets
2 pm:       Antique ID clinic

Location: Norway House, 913 E. Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Cost:  $5; Free for members of Norway House and the Weavers Guild of Minnesota

Questions? Contact Robbie LaFleur, lafleur1801@me.com

Firfletting Demonstration at Norway House

firfletting1When?  12-3 on Wednesday, August 30 and Sunday, September 3, 2017
Where?  At Norway House, 913 E. Franklin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55404

As part of the exhibition, “Traditional Norwegian Weaving: American Reboot,” Lisa Torvik will demonstrate the Norwegian handcraft of firfletting, a four-strand braiding technique traditionally used to make ethereal linen hangings for windows or to hang in front of fine weavings. The braided technique was also typically used for the borders of Christmas towels.

The piece shown below is from the Valdres Folkemuseum (details here). It is appropriate to show a piece from Valdres because that is where demonstrator Lisa Torvik attended husflidsskole (handcraft school) and learned the technique.

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Firfletting has been designated a handcraft in danger of disappearing on the Norwegian Husflid (Handcraft Association) Rødliste (the Red List), and a lovely short film about the technique was produced in Bø i Telemark.  Moderator Torhild Aavik describes the tradition and demonstrates the technique, which goes back to Viking times. She shows a traditional way firfletting is used in Bø i Telemark, as two panels hung on each side of a window. In the film, she is reproducing a pattern from the area by looking at a photograph of an old piece.  Although firfletting was largely practiced by women, that piece was made in the 1800s by Anders Spjote, a man from the area.

To finish, Torhild says, “We will be much poorer of we turn our backs on this handwork and others like it. They can bring a bit of the past into the present.” The film is in Norwegian, but instructive even if you can’t understand the dialogue. The film is here.

Here is another photo of firfletting, a piece from the Norsk Folkemuseum. (Details here)

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Don’t miss Lisa’s time at Norway House, which will be in addition to the regularly-scheduled rutevev demonstration on the loom in the exhibition.

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How Long Does That Take to Weave?

IMG_5635Each Wednesday and Sunday until September 10 (12-3 pm), volunteers from the Weavers Guild of Minnesota Scandinavian Weavers Study Group are demonstrating weaving in the Galleri at Norway House, part of the exhibit “Traditional Norwegian Weaving: American Reboot.”  Slowly, the narrow runner in rutevev (square weave) is taking shape. It’s hard to know how long it takes to weave the runner, however, because part of the weaving time is devoted to talking to visitors. We explain the weaving being done or discuss other pieces in the show.  That’s the purpose of being there–so please come and distract the weaver!

This Sunday, August 13, Judy Larson will demonstrate weaving and Robbie LaFleur will give a gallery talk at 2 pm.  Please join us.

IMG_5110The runner is a variant of a large rutevev in the exhibit, one that was also woven by people demonstrating weaving.  In that case, it was the Oneota Weavers Guild in Iowa who wove on a large loom at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.  In the past couple of decades, the guild members have woven four large rutevev coverlets.

Again, it would be hard to calculate how long it took to weave the piece.

Jan Mostrom wove a large rutevev.  It’s not in the exhibit; this photo is from her home.  The size is roughly 36″ by 55″. Big.

 

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Jan said that it took her about one hour to complete one row of squares. But, keep in mind that she is experienced and fast.  We counted the rows and estimated time for weaving the top and bottom bands and came up with an estimate of 120 hours for the whole piece.  Of course that doesn’t include the time to warp the loom, get the materials,  graph out the pattern, or finish the edges after it came off the loom.  It couldn’t have been less that 150 hours.

The weaving time for many of the complex weavings in the American Reboot exhibit was considerable.  Come and enjoy the beautiful results.

 

 

Co-Curators Pop-up Show: Robbie LaFleur

Four of Robbie’s pieces at Norway House have similarities; they all include bands of color and design and are woven in fairly large scale in Scandinavian wool.

IMG_5573Traditional Norwegian symbols often appear in Robbie’s weaving, sometimes in an unexpected scale or materials. “Scandinavian Star” highlights a single Norwegian star, dense in shade of red rya pile. Read more about the piece in “An Eight-Pointed Star in Rya.” ($900)

 

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Bright bands of red, orange, and pink compose a wall hanging (or rug) made in Flesberg technique.  “Flesberg” is a  three-shaft bound weave technique found in that area of Norway.  Read more in “A Red Rug for the Vesterheim Exhibit.” ($800)

 

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vestRecently, Robbie has been experimenting with Danskbrogd, a boundweave technique found in the area of Vest Agder, near Kristiansand in Norway.  Here is a detail from a piece seen in Norway earlier this summer.

Below is an experiment in gray, with a pop of red. Read more in “How Long Did that Take to Weave?” and “Danskbrogd Instruction.” ($800)

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purple-smallRobbie was steeped in gray during a gray winter month, so the next step was to move to color.  The X design became bigger and bolder, on stripes of purple. Read more in “A New Weaving, and Red Bits for the Birds.” ($900)

 

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Biography:

Robbie LaFleur, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been following a thread of Scandinavian textiles since she studied weaving at Valdres Husflidsskole in Fagernes, Norway in 1977. She has continued her study with Scandinavian instructors at workshops in Norway and the U.S. Recent projects include interpreting Edvard Munch’s “Scream” painting into a variety of textile techniques and weaving tapestry portraits of her relatives. She was awarded the Gold Medal in Weaving from the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in 2006. Robbie coordinates the Weavers Guild of Minnesota Scandinavian Weavers Study Group and publishes the quarterly online newsletter, The Norwegian Textile Letter.

Artist Statement:

I am a handweaver of contemporary textiles inspired by Scandinavian folk textiles.  The language of my looms is based on centuries-old techniques, learned in weaving school in Norway. The core graphic impact of old folk textiles drives each new weaving, in a search for balance, color and boldness. Even when the planning process is computer-assisted, or a technique is done at a new scale or in unusual materials, I honor the fine craftsmanship of the past.

The exhibit will be up at Norway House in Minneapolis through September 10.