Vesterheim’s tenth Textile Study Tour visited both Denmark and Norway from June 17 to 29, 2019. The great group was made up of 35 participants, staffers Laurann Gilbertson and Lea Lovelace, and special textile guide Ingebjørg Monsen.

We began in Copenhagen, Denmark. One of the highlights was visiting the home studio of a local textile artist, Geske Svensson. She develops patterns and she knits incredible wearable works inspired by fashion as seen in historic paintings. At the National Museum, Dr. Ulla Mannering talked with us about some of the textiles that have survived from the time of the Vikings.

Although we could have spent many more days exploring the city, we continued on to Greve and their wonderful regional museum. The staff gave us such a warm welcome before we explored hedebosyning, a whitework technique that includes embroidery, needle lace, and several other special stitches. There were beautiful pieces displayed throughout the museum and local expert Laila Glienke guided our hands as we tried a cutwork version of hedebosyning. Making the visit even better, there were displays about the wonders of wool and contemporary embroidery that cleverly (and sometimes bitingly) shared personal messages.

Everyday on a Vesterheim Textile Study Tour was an immersive experience! We enjoyed a lecture from celebrity Danish textile artist and author Vivian Høxbro, explored Viking Age and Iron Age daily life at the reconstructed villages and workshops at Sagnlandet (Land of Legend’s), and even witnessed the noise and lint from the machines for every textile process at a woolen mill museum, called Sjølingstad, near Mandal, Norway.

We also want to showcase two of the great things about a Vesterheim tour—the behind the scenes and hidden treasures. These are places only our guides can take you, like an art gallery in the middle of the countryside featuring bees flying with needles, or the back workshop at a local Husfliden where someone is doing hand sewing on a bunad (national costume). Did you know that there is a “monster” weaving that goes up the walls and across the ceiling at the museum on the island of Osterøy? We’ve seen it—and met the weaver responsible! But the very best part of a Vesterheim tour is the lasting relationships you will have after meeting so many special people!

Now that our Textile Study Tour has come to a close it has been fun to reflect on the inspiring final days in Norway, from the beautiful tapestries of Frida Hansen we viewed in Stavanger, and gorgeous ferry rides across the fjords, to the amazing behind the scenes tour we had at Oleana (yes, there are ample shopping opportunities on a Vesterheim Tour). But the sweetest moments were at our final stop in Bergen where we explored the beautiful old buildings of Bryggen and posed for photos with our new special friends who are wonderful extensions of our Vesterheim family. We hope you will join us on a tour soon!