My “Textiles and Tea” Interview, and The Wise and Foolish Virgins Pop Up Again

If you haven’t been watching the weekly “Textiles & Tea” interviews done by Kathi Grupp with the Handweavers Guild of America, there is already a trove of videos from the series online. I was honored to be a part of the line-up this week; my interview is here.

One of the questions Kathi asked was, “You also teach and write. How do those things impact on your artwork, your creativity, and focus?” My response was that my research only helps my creativity because I keep learning about inspiring weavers or seeing striking images. I mentioned running across the work of Bjørg Kristiansen White on the Norsk Kunsthåndverkere website, which highlights Norwegian artists in various craft media. I recognized the name because she published a book on billedvev (Norwegian tapestry).

I didn’t know about her own weaving, and I think it is marvelous. She starts her bio by saying, “My motto is the recycling of materials and motifs.” Her works are inspired by old rag rugs, woven in a long and narrow format. Many include motifs from African textiles, as she worked in Africa for many years; others echo historical Norwegian tapestries. This piece was inspired by the old “Wise and Foolish Virgin” tapestries. In the bands you can see the lamps held by wise virgins, the handkerchiefs held by the crying foolish virgins, and a center band of skirt patterns.

As a reference, here is the Wise and Foolish Virgin tapestry owned by MIA (the Minneapolis Institute of Arts).

Details here.

I plan to write about White and her weaving later this spring. I also love the idea of weaving a banded piece combining tapestry and bands woven with fabric strips, or rya, or simple design borders. Those who have seen much of my work know that I am a great fan of weaving in bands.


    1. Thanks! The “Tea & Textiles” interviews are so interesting; the weavers have such a wide variety of styles and experience. I was honored to be a part of it.

  1. Hello Robbie. I always enjoy your newsletters. This issue was special for me. Some years back, I found White’s book Billedvev while surfing Ebay. I made an offer on her book and was able to purchase it. To my surprise, I not only received her book, but also her completed tapestry “Flora”. If I remember correctly, it was around $20.00. To this day it hangs in my studio. I thought you would enjoy seeing a picture of it. Corky Knutson

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