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.

“American Reboot” Co-curators Pop-Up Show: Jan Mostrom

There are fabulous weavings in the Norway House Galleri during the run of the “Traditional Norwegian Weaving: American Reboot” exhibit, but there are more in Norway House atrium area, too–a pop-up exhibit of weaving by the co-curators, Jan Mostrom and Robbie LaFleur. This post features Jan’s weavings, and begins with her background.

I started weaving in a January term at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa when I was twenty years old.  I was fortunate to have Lila Nelson as my first teacher and to have her continue as a mentor through the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group. I have been an active participant in Scanweavers since its beginning over thirty years ago. Lila provided the thread to connect me to Vesterheim where I took many weaving classes from Norwegian instructors in their Folk Art program.  I also have taken six textile tours with Vesterheim led by Laurann Gilbertson.

When I took my first weaving class at Vesterheim, I met Syvilla Bolson who became a lifelong friend and mentor.  She encouraged me to teach weaving at Vesterheim where I have taught classes including rutevev, rya, krokbragd, danskbrogd, Vestfold technique and Norwegian west coast coverlet techniques.  I have also taught at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, a Michigan weaving conference and at the first Norwegian Textile Conference in Decorah.   I organized the first study group through the Norwegian Textile Letter (NTL) for the exploration of danskbrogd and have participated in two more NTL study groups.  I have been a frequent author of articles in the NTL on weaving technique.   I have a great passion and love for researching  and teaching weaving.

IMG_5561“Folk Dance” by Jan Mostrom (NFS) hangs behind the desk where Galleri guests are greeted.  Jan wrote, “I was inspired by a coverlet from Vesterheim that had both single point krokbragd and double point krokbragd. My weaving has single krokbragd borders with a double krokbragd center. The joyful colors reminded me of the spinning colors of Norwegian folk dancers. ”

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IMG_5559Nearby is Jan’s “Northland” (NFS), a weaving in wool with rows of surprising rya knots — in reindeer skin.  “I purchased a dyed red reindeer skin in north Norway on a Textile Tour to learn about the Sami culture of northern Scandinavia and Russia. This danskbrogd weaving of tree forms against a snowy white background has red leather rya knots. The colors, spare trees and reindeer leather remind me of Norway above the Arctic Circle.”

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Jan’s long krokbragd weaving (NFS) was undertaken as a color study of brighter colors and values.  The red sections have a glowing fire aspect.

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Jan Mostrom explains her weaving “Garden Path.” ($1000, 50″ x 27″)  “I wanted to create a non-traditional rutevev design that was colorful and whimsical. Garden Path was the result. It is heavy enough to use as a rug and also works on the wall either vertically or horizontally. The tapestry was woven with butterflies made up of a heavy two ply rya yarn and a thinner single ply yarn. The diffference in texture adds texture and the surfaces of the two yarns reflect light differently to create a little twinkle.”

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Finally, Jan’s “Forest Echos” (photo coming, NFS) features beautiful browns of nature.  Her explanation is perfect for those weaver-viewers who might want to know, “How did she do that?”  Jan wrote,

This boundweave piece had an irregular twill threading. I used danskbrogd, a pick up technique, to replace some areas of the pattern with the background color. For instance, if it was woven as threaded, there would be narrow columns of color between the arrow shapes at the top and bottom of the weaving. By using danskbrogd, I could remove those colored bars and cover that area with the background brown and allow the arrow points to dominate that area of the weaving. The irregular threading created a repeated pattern that reminded me of echos, while the colors spoke of the forest to me.