A marvelous exhibit is planned for Norway House in Minneapolis this summer, The Baldishol: A Medieval Norwegian Tapestry Inspires Contemporary Textiles. Will it open as planned on June 26, or will the coronavirus crisis interfere? It’s too soon to tell. But my piece will be complete, I’m sure. Enforced isolation and scads of press conferences to listen to each day provide for plenty of time at the loom. I’ve completed enough to share my design.
The Norway House exhibit will feature original weavings and other art works in fiber that look to the Baldishol Tapestry for inspiration, not replication. The purpose of the exhibit is to highlight the talent and creativity of textile artists, internationally, while educating Norway House audiences about the famous Norwegian tapestry. Below is a photo of the original, dated to around 1180. It is the oldest known Norwegian tapestry and one of the oldest in Europe (woven even before the Black Plague came to Norway in 1349).
The two figures represent April and May, and were likely part of a 12-month frieze. The imagery in my piece, woven in Frida Hansen-style wool transparency technique, will include design elements from the old tapestry, and a bird. Do you see the four birds in the original? My bird will be a wood duck. Wood ducks are pretty, plus they migrate back to Minnesota in April (March, too). The colors will be different than this sketch portrays. With the frame-like elements of the bottom border and columns, perhaps it is a medieval Minnesota duck stamp?
The bottom border is just now complete, and I’ll move on to the water and columns.
I haven’t felt much like communicating in these days of dread and self-isolation. I worry about living in a changed world, for me and for my children and grandchildren. Yet I understand how lucky I am to have a lovely home and loving husband. We’re eating well and getting exercise. To everyone who reads this–I hope you are safe and healthy, and remain that way.
Thank you for your well wishes, which I return to you and yours. I am new to tapestry weaving and enjoy your emails and posts. In examining your new tapestry weaving it looks like you use a lot of “floats.” Is that correct?
In this one, I think you might be referring to the unwoven part of the warp. It’s characteristic of the wool transparency weavings by a favorite tapestry artist, Frida Hansen. You can see lots of her on my blog; just search for “Frida Hansen” in the sidebar. In this technique, using “sticky” wool warp allows you to weave some solid portions, and leave areas free. The technique was often used for portieres, or curtains.
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