Frida Hansen is Not the Only Open-Warp Norwegian Tapestry Weaver

My American Scandinavian Foundation fellowship in Norway was to study the beautiful wool transparency technique of Frida Hansen,  but there are many weavers who have explored the use of open warps with tapestry, internationally and in Norway.  Here’s a handful of Frida Hansen’s fellow Norwegians. 

One of the Norwegian weavers influenced by Frida Hansen was Else Marie Jakobsen  (1927-2012). Most dramatically, she wove a two story high commissioned tapestry for the Science Building at the University of Bergen.  Her piece celebrates the weavers who have gone before her, including Frida Hansen, Synnove Aurdal, and Hannah Ryggen, and all the unknown weavers through the centuries.  Her huge tapestry, filled with red, warms the interior of the Brutalist style cement building. If you visit Bergen, be sure to seek this tapestry. If you get really close to examine the weaving and the warp—the alarm will sound! Here are two details.  A longer description of the tapestry translated from the book by Janne Leithe on Else Marie Jaobsen, Vevd Liv (Woven Life), will be published in the next issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter, (due at the end of August, 2019), along with many more photos. 


Do you recognize this man from the famous Baldishol Tapestry?


Anne Stabell is a contemporary weaver who began her exploration of open warps before she was acquainted with Frida Hansen’s work.  See more of her work in an article I wrote when visiting her studio, “Anne Stabell’s Magical Warps.” And oh I wish I could visit her upcoming exhibition at Kustbanken, the Hedmark Kunstsenter, beginning August 24.

"Summer in the Woods"

I feel joyful every time I see Tonje Høydahl Sørli’s work; cartoon characters hang from open warps, their backs a mass of dangling weft. Many are left in frames of the tapestry looms on which they were woven, metal Hagen looms which the artist finds, left over from the seventies.

Elise Storsveen had a show at the SOFT Galleri in Oslo earlier this year, with a tapestry of eyes in the front window.  Eyes peering out at visitors peering in?  I wrote to ask her if she was influenced by Frida Hansen. Yes, she responded, as a relatively new weaver she looks to the old masters for tricks. 

It’s all inspiring for my own exploration of open warp tapestry. The potato plant is almost done…..