“Helena Hernmarck: Weaving the Archive (PART two OF TAPESTRY TALES: A TWO-PART ZOOM LECTURE SERIES)

The Weavers Guild of Minnesota is pleased to sponsor Tapestry Tales, a two-part Zoom lecture series, as part of their ongoing fundraising efforts this winter.

In January, 2021, Lecture #2 will celebrate the ongoing work of Helena Hernmarck, the Swedish artist and creator of monumental tapestries, now living in Connecticut. Mae Colburn, Hernmarck’s assistant and archivist, will discuss Hernmarck’s long career and her extensive archives, which are partially housed at the Elmer L. Andersen Library in Minneapolis.

“Helena Hernmarck: Weaving the Archive”
Virtual Presentation by Mae Colburn
Tuesday, January 12, 2021, 7-8:30 pm CST

Register here 

While Helena Hernmarck’s studio has been on pause due to the coronavirus, Hernmarck and archivist Mae Colburn have embarked on a detailed archival overview of the artist’s career, conducting oral histories on each of the more than 270 tapestries Hernmarck has produced over the past 60 years. 

Helena Hernmarck weaves while Mae Colburn works the wool table. Photo: Ross Mantle

This presentation will reflect on these oral histories, and illustrate the vital role of the archive in the artist’s life and work. From weaving recipes, to yarn samples, to charts documenting inches woven per day, to folders chronicling each commission, Hernmarck’s archive is a vast, creative endeavor that has evolved alongside her spectacular innovations on the loom. Informed by a distinctive sense of ‘woven time,’ it illustrates the essential, if often overlooked, relationship between our haptic, material passions and our broader sense of order, progress, sequence, and chronology. 

Of special interest to weavers in Minnesota, Hernmarck donated the first several decades of her archive to the University of Minnesota in 2008. The collection is housed within the University’s Northwest Architectural Archives at the Elmer L. Andersen Library in Minneapolis, with a finding aid available online. This presentation will serve as an introduction to Hernmarck’s archive and an invitation to explore and inspire its many applications. 
Links: www.hernmarck.comwww.maecolburn.info Finding aid for Helena Hernmarck papers at UMN: https://archives.lib.umn.edu/repositories/8/resources/5825

Helena Hernmarck at her desk with a chart documenting square feet woven per year between 1977 and 1982. Photo: Mae Colburn

Presenter Bio: 
Mae Colburn is a New York-based writer, researcher, and educator with a focus on handweaving in contemporary life. She has worked alongside Helena Hernmarck since 2015, both as studio assistant and as archivist documenting Hernmarck’s sixty-year career. Colburn has taught textile history and theory courses at Parsons School of Design, and is a co-founder of the weaving and design collective ‘friends of light.’ She has previously contributed research to the New Mexico Fiber Arts Trails and the Norwegian National Institute for Consumer Research’s Wool Project. www.maecolburn.info

Helena Hernmarck with a timeline documenting tapestries woven each year alongside other important life events. Photo: Mae Colburn

Register here

Read about Tapestry Tales Lecture #1, “Lila Nelson: A Deeper Dive.”

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