The Scandinavian Weavers Group: Continuity and Change

This December, it was the usual for the Scandinavian Weavers Group: party time at Lila’s!

For many years, Lila Nelson was the rock of our Scandinavian Weavers group. She attended each meeting, offered advice, solved members’ weaving problems, showed her latest works, and shared her excitement for spending time at the loom.  Then, several years ago, she announced that she was no longer going to attend the study group meetings. It was a shock!  How could we even continue?  She decided to focus on her tapestry weaving and attend meetings only occasionally. Lila’s monthly contributions have been missed, but the group has remained strong.  We have welcomed new members, some who attend often, and some who attend occasionally. Our meetings remain useful and inspiring.

Happily, Lila wanted to continue as host of our annual holiday gathering, a December party at her home in Southeast Minneapolis. Lila’s apartment was filled with textiles, Scandinavian antiques, whimsical animals, and pottery.  The studio in the back room was lined with her tapestries, from crazy cats and polar bears wielding weapons to a gut-punching image based on the atrocities of Abu Graib. One wall was lined with yarn, waiting to move to the upright tapestry loom, chosen by Lila’s expert eye.

Here was a place to truly celebrate.

As if this was not enough sensory experience, the gathered weavers often brought pieces to share; those they wove, and Scandinavian textile discoveries from family or small town antique shops. They brought sweets, savories, and wine. I’ll never forget the time that Sharon Marquardt showed the runner she bought for $30 at a central Minnesota antique store.

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In the past few years Lila moved from her home to the Lyngblomsten care facility, and we moved our holiday gathering to her new home.  Lila no longer weaves, yet still shares her enthusiasm, knowledge, and hospitality.  This year Lila had the opportunity to meet with old friends and to meet the newer members of our group, those who constantly bring fresh enthusiasm to our weaving of Scandinavian textiles.

This gathering was a reminder of all that is great about a thriving and evolving group.  On the one hand, we celebrated all that we’ve learned from each other over the years.  On the other hand, it was just another meeting.   Our business is discovery and inspiration, to learn about Scandinavian weaving, and to forge relationships with people to help sustain our work.  That happened in December, only with more chocolate and cheese than usual.

About Robbie LaFleur
Weaving in Minnesota, when I can!

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