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59 Tapestries: Houses and Aunts and Betrothed Couples

Many of the Swedish and Norwegian tapestries in the collection of Carol Johnson are woven by novices, probably by women learning tapestry techniques during a resurgence of textile interest in the 1950s-1970s.  Once piece is undisputedly a learner piece.

Because here’s the Swedish book with the pattern!  Flamskvävnad: Flemish Weaving, by Ernst Fischer and Gertrud Ingers (Västeros: ICA Förlaget, 1961).

Carol has two small tapestries of a man and woman surrounded by a floral border.  It’s a segment of a well-known Swedish tapestry cushion pattern, “The Engagement.”

The pattern for this weaving is found in Flemish Weaving: A Guide to Tapestry Technique, by Gertrude Ingers (NY: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., 1971, originally published in Swedish, 1967).  Clearly this was a frequently woven sample.  Two Swedish ones have come to Minnesota, and I even saw one for sale on a Japanese site for vintage textiles, at

“Flemish weave using a part of a classic masterpiece titled “Engagement” as a motif. It is a work of tight finish without distortion with very high technology. Stock number: 1 ¥ 6000″ (That’s about $54.)


Another tapestry in Carol’s collection features tant Brun, tant Grön, and tant Gredelin, three aunts featured in a popular Swedish series of books by Elsa Beskow published from 1918-1947.  (If you speak Swedish, or maybe even if you don’t, check out this crazy video on on YouTube to acquaint you with the aunts.)

Perhaps this was sold as a pattern by Hemslöjd (the Swedish handcraft association), as a version of it is featured on the Swedish Digital Museum.  Click here. It is from the collection of Östra Skånes hemslöjdsförening. I think the version that Carol purchased is prettier, woven more attractively.

Three Aunts tapestry from the Swedish Digital Library:

It’s a fun puzzle to find references to the tapestries in Carol Johnson’s collection.  If you’d like to see them all, please come to the mini-seminar on Norwegian and Swedish tapestry traditions on May 31.

WGM Presents Scandinavian Tapestry Treasures

Thursday, May 31, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM CDT
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Textile Center
Textile Center – Auditorium
3000 University Ave, SE.
Minneapolis, MN 55414
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Whether your interest in Scandinavian tapestry focuses on history, design, or technique-or all three-take advantage of the opportunity to see 59 Swedish and Norwegian tapestries owned by local collector Carol Johnson. Carol purchased her treasures over several decades from auctions, dealers, and her new favorite venue, eBay. Enjoy the display and the opportunity to study the sett, wool, and images. Robbie LaFleur will discuss the history of tapestry in Scandinavia, and the differences between Norwegian and Swedish traditions

$5 reservation reserves your spot. This event is open to the public, feel free to bring a friend! Limited spots available. 
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Thank you for your consideration, we hope you will join us! Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Weavers Guild of Minnesota
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