Winter is coming, a time to enjoy the warm and colorful work of two tapestry artists, and support the Weavers Guild of Minnesota during this challenging time.
The first lecture features Lila Nelson, who left a legacy on many counts when she died at 93 in 2015. She was an instructor, a mentor, a friend, and a donor. On December 15, watch “Lila Nelson: A Deeper Dive,” an exploration of a wide range of her work in tapestry.
Lila Nelson: A Deeper Dive
Virtual Presentation by Robbie LaFleur
Tuesday, December 15, 2020, 7-8:30 pm CST
Lila Nelson’s tapestries reflected her irrepressible personality, her engagement with the natural world, her interest in mythology and poetry, and, not least, her political commentary. This slide-filled lecture, including rarely-seen works, is a detailed exploration of Lila’s artistic vision as well as her technical expertise.
Lila Nelson’s roots in the Minnesota textile community and the Weavers Guild of Minnesota ran deep. What made her tapestries unforgettable was her ability to depict many facets of life with complete sincerity. She wove a girl on a swing in pigtails, expressing joy in a single moment in life. In another tapestry, two Inuit women are embracing in friendship—you sense their love and communication. Yet she also wove a tortured prisoner hanging on a prison wall, with frightening faceless prison guards on either side. And she wove cats with machine guns! She used humor to point out the emphasis on terror that was making people feel fearful.
The core of this talk was presented for a general audience by Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum in September, 2020. (“From Kindness to Cutting Satire: Lila Nelson’s Tapestries Embraced the World and Its Politics: A Conversation with Robbie LaFleur,” available on YouTube here.) The new, expanded Weavers Guild of Minnesota talk will include many more photos, including hidden treasures from Lila’s weaving bench, along with a deeper focus on her weaving style and techniques.
This holiday season is a perfect time to dive deeper into Lila’s amazing tapestry output—both to honor a singular artist and to remember a dear friend.
Robbie LaFleur has been following a thread of Scandinavian textiles since she studied weaving at Valdres Husflidskole in Fagernes, Norway, in 1977. She continued her study with Scandinavian instructors in Norway and the United States. Her projects include interpreting Edvard Munch’s Scream painting into a variety of textile techniques, weaving tapestry portraits of her relatives, and continuing exploration of various Norwegian coverlet techniques. She is a Vesterheim Gold Medalist, coordinates the Weavers Guild of Minnesota Scandinavian Weavers Study Group, and publishes the Norwegian Textile Letter. In 2019 she received a fellowship from the American Scandinavian Foundation to study the transparency technique of famed Norwegian tapestry weaver Frida Hansen.
Read about Tapestry Tales Lecture #2, “Helena Hernmarck: Weaving the Archives.”