During the recent “Traditional Norwegian Weaving: American Reboot” exhibit, I gave a tour to a Norway House board member, Kris Walseth, and fifteen of her friends. They were a great group, and Kris brought wine and appetizers. A fun event!
At the end of the tour one person said, “You’ve told us about wall hangings and bed coverlets, but you haven’t said anything about rugs. What was on the floor?” Hmmmm… I didn’t have a ready answer. I guessed that in modest homes centuries ago there weren’t floor coverings at all, but didn’t feel authoritative about that guess. So I did what all good librarians do in that situation–I found an authority.
Randi Lium wrote a fabulous book, which I purchased while in Norway this summer, Tekstilkunst i Norge (Textile Art in Norway). I wrote and posed the question about rugs in Norway.
She wrote, “I think that in upper class homes and in the homes of wealthy farmers they bought rugs/carpets from abroad. I have not read about carpet weaving in Norway in the 18th and the 19th centuries. Around 1900 (or maybe somewhat earlier) I think there was a beginning of the tradition to weave carpets made out of used clothes (filleryer). These textiles were woven with a cotton warp, they could be long (3-5 meters) and not very wide (around 80-90 cm). These floor weavings I believe were also used in more modest homes.”
Thank you Randi!