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.

firfletting-valdres.jpg

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)

firfletting-border

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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About Robbie LaFleur
Weaving in Minnesota, when I can!

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