From Virgins to Spaceships—A Visual Voyage Through Norwegian Tapestry by Robbie LaFleur

Join textile artist Robbie LaFleur for the presentation, From Virgins to Spaceships: A Visual Voyage Through Norwegian Tapestry at Vesterheim on Thursday, September 14, at 7:00 p.m. This exploration of the history of Norwegian tapestry weaving is free and will be held in the museum’s Amdal-Odland Heritage Center.

“Norway is known for its distinctive style of medieval tapestry. As tapestry weaving moved through Europe and was taken up by Norwegians, and mostly women, a distinctive personality emerged,” LaFleur explains.

Showing examples of artwork, LaFleur will discuss the history of the medieval pieces (like, why were there so many images of the “Wise and Foolish Virgins?”) and the revival of the billedvev tapestry technique during the time of National Romanticism in Norway (late 1800s). She will also present contemporary Norwegian tapestries and how artists today track a lineage to the old pieces in their choices of materials, technique, and imagery.

LaFleur, from Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been following a thread of Scandinavian textiles since she studied weaving at Valdres Husflidsskole in Fagernes, Norway, in 1977. She has continued her study with Scandinavian instructors at workshops in Norway and the U.S. Recent projects include interpreting Edvard Munch’s “Scream” painting into a variety of textile techniques and weaving tapestry portraits of her relatives. She was awarded the Gold Medal in Weaving from Vesterheim in 2006. Robbie coordinates the Weavers Guild of Minnesota Scandinavian Weavers Study Group and is the editor and publisher of the quarterly online newsletter, The Norwegian Textile Letter.

The presentation is sponsored in part by the Grace Rikansrud Memorial Lecture Fund and is offered in conjunction with Vesterheim’s class, Billedvev (Picture Weaving)—Norwegian Tapestry Techniques, taught by LaFleur.