When I took over publishing the Norwegian Textile Letter in 2013, I had a vague concern that it might be a struggle to find content. Would people be willing to write or translate articles? Would I be scrambling to find interesting articles about Scandinavian textiles? As it turns out, NOT A PROBLEM. I feel as if interesting topics and articles fall from the sky. Here’s the latest example. I’ve set aside some planned articles for the May issue, in order to write, “A Passionate Pursuit: Scandinavian Weavings from the Collection of Carol Johnson.”
I have been on Vesterheim Textile Tours with Carol and Darold Johnson, who also live in Minneapolis. Although she is not a weaver herself, Carol is a great fan of weaving, and she told me that she has collected weavings and would be happy to show them to our Scandinavian Weavers Study Group. Since Mary Skoy and I weren’t really sure of the extent of Carol’s collection and what we should bring to the sharing day, we (and baby Fitzgerald) visited Carol in her home. A substantial stack of beautiful weavings were on a table in their cozy and inviting living room. Amazing that she has so many lovely pieces, I mused.
LITTLE DID I KNOW…
We went upstairs to find layers of weavings on the stair railings, on display racks, and in archival boxes Carol had retrieved from the attic. It was like opening a pirates treasure chest for weavers. Mary and I spent the next two hours combing through stacks of beautiful pieces. We set aside a giant stack to take to the Weavers Guild, and kept saying things to Carol like, “We know this one is beautiful, too, but we’re going to choose pieces that have something unique to point out.”
We brought only a portion of the weavings we examined to the Weavers Guild to share, and we didn’t even look through some other categories, like her collections of tapestries, handwoven curtains, and tablecloths. (Future articles!)
Because I knew that other Weavers Guild members would be interested in seeing these Scandinavian weaving treasures, we were happy that Carol was willing to have them on display on the gallery walls of the Weavers Guild. It wasn’t easy to squeeze in the 28 pieces we chose for display. (Thanks to Kianna Fowler and Beth McLaughlin for helping.)
Information about the exhibit is on the blog of the Scandinavian Weavers Study Group, where I will also write more about individual pieces in the coming weeks. The exhibit will be up until the end of June. Be sure to stop by the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. Regular hours are from 10-5 each day. If you plan to visit, call the office ahead of time. The exhibit is in a classroom and may not be accessible if a class is in session.
Also, save the date: May 9, 2018, 2-4 pm, when the Scandinavian Weavers will honor Carol and her weavings with a coffee reception.