Krokbragds on Vesterheim Textile Tours

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Scenes from the 2017 Vesterheim Textile Tour

At the March Weavers Guild of Minnesota monthly meeting I spoke about my wonderful experience on the 2017 Vesterheim Textile Tour to Denmark and Norway.  I shared the stage with Melba Granlund, who described the Swedish art weaves class that she and seven other weavers enjoyed in Sweden following the Textile Tour.

I decided not to present slides in the usual “we went here, here, and here” order, but to highlight several reasons that the Vesterheim Textiles tours are such rich experiences. One of those reasons is that throughout each tour, you don’t only encounter inspiring textiles during the scheduled museum visits, gallery visits, and lectures.  They are EVERYWHERE, and that only makes sense. We often stop at lunch or dinner venues that are in historical buildings, with traditional textiles on the walls. We sometimes visit the homes of weaving instructors. We stop at shops that feature fine handcraft. Once we were served lunch by a local weaving organization; well, of course they would have work on display!

1DE87B4A-6667-4E51-A6F8-D78EC4803B44I like krokbragd.  I like the look, I like to weave them. Every single krokbragd you see can be instructional. Are the bands wide or narrow? Are the colors contrasting or analogous? Is the overall design symmetrical?  Do the bands end with a solid line or a zigzag, or is the piece filled with long pattern “legs”? What works well? What doesn’t? It’s like a language to learn, which may take my lifetime to explore.

During the Vesterheim tours I have taken, I snapped krokbragd photos. I’ll share some here.

Krokbragd hangings are ubiquitous in Norway. Compared to a tapestry, or a complicated skilbragd, or a time-consuming large rutevev coverlet, krokbragd coverlets can be considered a bit more “everyday” textiles. Katherine Larson, in her book, The Woven Coverlets of Norway, writes about krokbragd,

kayAlthough krokbragd coverlets are well known in most parts of Norway (except for the northern districts of Nordland, Troms, and Finnmark), the technique never commanded the respect given to coverlet weaves such as tapestry or square weave.  Perhaps this was because the krokbragd technique presented the weaver with less artistic latitude.  Yet a multitude of colorful patterns were possible on the smooth, tapestry-like surface of a krokbragd weaving, and the structure of floats on the reverse side make it extra thick and warm as a coverlet.  Relatively quick and easy to weave, krokbragd coverlets were a popular choice for everyday use in many Norwegian homes. (page 87)

IMG_4378On the 2017 Textile Tour, krokbragd was not the focus of any of our activities, but I still found them.  Many are in this post, “In Norway You Don’t Look for Krokbragd Weavings; They Find You.”

At the Osterøy Museum, our focus was mainly on coverlets woven on the warp-weighted loom.  There were a few krokbragd coverlets, too, and a tiny one, woven as a breastplate for a costume.  See: “More Historical Krokbragd Inspiration.”

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Tucked in a drawer, this tiny krokbragd was used in the bodice of a garment.

Here are some photos of krokbragds encountered on previous tours.  Perhaps there will be a band or a color combination that will appear on another weaver’s loom in the future?

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June 28, 2011. Up close this is filled with dizzying pattern; from a distance the bold lines of color stand out. And it was BIG. I believe these were taken at Valbjør Gård, Vågå.

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In the same building a krokbragd was hung horizontally.

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June 28, 2011.  The figures seem a bit squat, don’t they?
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June 28, 2011
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It’s always wonderful to learn about when a weaving was made.  Wouldn’t it be fun to see the original colors?
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June 28, 2011. This is clearly a modern piece.
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June 25, 2013. Spotted at a lunch venue.
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This one instructs me,”Don’t be afraid of color!”
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June 25, 2013.  Look how well the patterns in the two lengths match.  Amazing.
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June 25, 2013

In 2015 I was not on the Textile Tour, but visited Norway with my husband.  With our friend Ingebjørg we visited Kersti Bondhus, who had several krokbragd coverlets in a refurbished barn that is now used to serve tourists. One was in a beautifully carved bed, along with a bear! I really like the way these krokbragd bands are assembled.

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Krokbragd is a technique that can deliver wildly varying results based on sett, color, and pattern combinations.  Posting this makes me want to get back to my loom, to brush up on my krokbragd language–to “write” something new.

 

 

 

 

 

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