I am conducting an afternoon-long seminar at the Midwest Weavers Conference this summer, “Overview of Norwegian Weaving.” When I was asked to be a presenter, I remembered some advice that Helena Hernmarck gave in a seminar. Regarding opportunities: always say yes. Now that I am deep into preparing for the talk, I’ve had all sorts of feelings. How will I fill up three hours? But then, how can I possibly cover what I want to say in three hours? This opportunity is a gift. For one thing, it gives me a legitimate reason to go through the mountain of background materials I have: magazines; books; notes from conferences and trips; notes and handouts from seminars stretching back to Husflidsskole in Norway, and hundreds of photos. One day I checked through old issues of the Swedish Väv magazine, to see if there were any articles on Norwegian weaving.
I found an amazing photo from 1983, of some students from a weaving course in Bærum in Norway, looking (to me) so stilted in woven wool shawls. Time travel moment–I wove those! Four, in fact. One was black, and the other three are pictured below. When I went to weaving school in Valdres in 1977, all the students wove shawls, and most everyone wore them. Of course, I wanted to be just like my Norwegian schoolmates. Although I have photographic evidence that I wore one of the shawls while in Norway, they have been in storage since I returned to Minnesota. Seeing this photo, I think it was the right fashion decision.