But Wait – There’s so Much I didn’t Say

I was an invited speaker for the London Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers today; sadly, only via zoom. It would have been fun to be in London, and my two fall lectures in New Hampshire and San Diego with live audiences were so energizing. After three years of virtual lectures, I’d forgotten the delight of hearing people chuckle at my amusing anecdotes, and of the pleasure of answering a question, mid-talk, from someone who was too enthused to wait.

Today’s talk was ambitious, in that I talked a bit about my weaving background, about the history of Norwegian tapestry, about a handful of contemporary Norwegian tapestry weavers, about my particular research into Frida Hansen and her wool open warp transparent tapestry technique, and my pieces in that technique. As a result I’m sure I didn’t do justice to any of the topics. My enthusiasm and tons of slides must have been slightly infectious – one person noted in the chat, “I think I want to learn tapestry weaving now.” Juliette Syme, who arranged the program, said that people in England don’t know that much about the history of Norwegian tapestry, despite the fact that Norway is so close. She felt there should be an exhibition in England.

I included Hannah Ryggen in my talk as probably the most famous 20th century Norwegian tapestry weaver, also well-known in England. A listener asked, “Is Hannah Ryggen is as popular in Norway as she is in England?” Yes!

Hannah Ryggen. Petter Dass, 1940. Hannah Ryggen was a contemporary artist, yet she had strong ties to Norwegian handcraft tradition. In this tapestry portraying the poet and clergyman Petter Dass, she includes a pile rug in the center, a boat rya, of the type used by Norwegian fisherman to keep warm at sea. The pink figure at the right is a self-portrait. 

This post is for listeners to the London talk who may want to learn more about topics that weren’t explored fully in my broad presentation.

The most thorough site to discover the work of Norwegian tapestry weavers, especially contemporary artists, is the Norwegian absolutetapestry.com site. Be sure to watch the videos.

There are Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum webinars on Frida Hansen, and on the missing tapestry, Southward, that was recently rediscovered:
Frida Hansen: A Norwegian Art Nouveau Artist in Wool with Robbie LaFleur
The Mystery of the Missing Swans and Maidens: A Frida Hansen Tapestry Tale
Here is another lecture on Frida Hansen by a curator at the Stavanger Art Museum
Lecture Series: Women on stage | Vibece Salthe, 29/03/2022 | Réseau Art Nouveau Network

Here is a lecture on traditional Norwegian billedvev (tapestry), which includes references to the pieces in the collection of Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.
Collection Connections: Billedvev (Tapestry Weaving) with Robbie LaFleur
Here’s a five-minute film on the Wise and Foolish Virgins, the most popular image in Norwegian Renaissance tapestries.
Folk Art: “Woven Wise and Foolish Virgins.”

Kari Røhne’s virgin mittens – the image is still used today. Watch the short video.

Follow my work by subscribing to this blog, robbielafleur.com. Watch a Vesterheim webinar about my project weaving four commissioned tapestries inspired by historical Norwegian tapestries for two historical churches in southern Minnesota.
Valley Grove Project: Contemporary Billedvev Tapestry Weaving with Robbie LaFleur

A link to resources on Norwegian tapestry in English is found on the webpage of the Norwegian Textile Letter. And be sure to read each new issue of the Norwegian Textile Letter for new weaving articles.


One comment

  1. Thank you so much for this Robbie. I’m currently weaving a copy of an old Norwegian tapestry so lots of your links are interesting and helpful.

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