Billedvev-Abstracted to the Extreme

At our meeting of the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group yesterday, I was honored by a compliment. Sara Okern, a master of serene rag rugs, said that she was inspired by my lecture on Norwegian tapestry, billedvev, which I presented to the Weavers Guild in January.  Of course I mentioned the most popular motif in Norwegian medieval tapestry, the Wise and Foolish Virgins.  Here’s one from the collection of the Vesterheim Norwegian-America Museum. (Full record here.)


As the motif spread, it was woven by less experienced weavers and the virgins became more abstracted, as illustrated by this billdevev from the West Coast of Norway. (The full record, found on, is here.)NF.1906-1034

It struck Sara that she could take that even further!  Behold — the latest of the worldwide series of Wise and Foolish Virgins weavings.


I love the way the join along the center seam has a very billdevev effect.

Also, it reminded me of a wonderful painting I saw a MOMA in a show on Russian art last January.  Here is Kasimir Malevich’s Painterly Realism of a Boy with a Knapsack – Color Masses in the Fourth Dimension, from 1915.


You’re in good company, Sara.