Our first textile stop was Oslo. I wanted to visit the Norsk Folkemuseum of cultural history. It is part of a large open air museum which has an impressive range of medieval buildings. Unfortunately, the costume gallery had problems with the lighting so I was unable to see any traditional Norwegian folk costumes. The Sámi gallery was open and had a lovely collection of artifacts. I will be recreating one of the woven bands that I saw there for the online workshop I will be running early next year.
Here is a lovely Norwegian costume with a lovely woven waist band.
|motif from table woven border|
It is not true. There was not enough time for us to do everything that we wanted, so a return trip is planned. The Opera House is particularly impressive so our next trip will have to be built around the opera programme. And, of course, a return visit to the Norsk Folkmuseum.
We then drove to Mora in central Sweden on the northern shore of Lake Siljan. This area has been a holiday destination since the 19th century. It became a place where many artists had their summer homes. One such artist was Anders Zorn.
After he died, his wife ensured that his work could be appreciated by displaying it in a purpose built art gallery, the Zornmuseet. A nearby open air museum contains examples of local buildings and an impressive display of costumes collected by Anders Zorn, including many woven bands.
I had arranged to meet Barbro Wallin. She is the author of a beautifully illustrated book about traditional band weaving from the Mora area, Moraband. (See Books from Sweden and Estonia on the blog).
She demonstrated how she weaves the bands on her loom using different heddles to lift and lower the pattern threads. The heddles are in different colours. When the loom is warped, she attaches the heddles to the warp in the correct order for the lifts. Once this is done, weaving becomes easier as the correct pattern threads can be selected for each pick. She was very quick. She kindly allowed me to have a go. My attempt was slow and I made quite a few mistakes. My mind knew the theory but my fingers seemed to be all thumbs! Barbro was very patient!
|Barbro's band loom|
|Close up of the band on the loom|
Bands from this area are usually woven with three background threads in between each pattern thread.
Barbro was very generous with her time and we visited the Zorn Textile museum together. I wish that I had allowed longer for our stay in Mora. There is so much to see and do and Barbro was excellent company.
In the textile museum, there are many examples of beautiful local bands displayed in a way that showed off the length of the bands and the variety of the motifs. I found it fascinating that some of the older bands were in the 'Baltic threading' that is two background threads in between each pattern thread, where the background weave structure is half basket weave.
The band weave structure changed when women started to use the type of band loom used by Barbro because it made weaving patterned bands easier and quicker for them.
The beater that Barbro uses is a heavy weight! I bought one at the local craft centre. I have used it and it beats very firmly indeed.
|Band knife from Mora.|
Museums in Sweden have an abundance of beautiful woven bands. They range from narrow simple bands to wide complex patterned bands. The bands that I find most intriguing are ones that have no pattern repeats. This is not easy as the weaver would have to remember which patterns had been used as the woven part of the band is rolled up onto the cloth beam of the band loom. It did make the weaving more challenging and interesting! For the weaver, it was a way of showing off her skill, but also, this band was her possession for life. They were not made to be sold. One band in the Zorn Textile collection appeared to have the date 1848 on one end. .
I have examined many bands over the years and a few years ago, I decided to weave my own example. I analysed 100 different patterns as I am not skilled enough to be able to weave them without being written down. I could assemble the patterns into the order that I wanted before I started to weave.
The white background threads are in fine linen. The 13 pattern threads are in thick red and green wool. The pattern threads are more than twice as thick as the background and weft threads. This makes the pattern stand out. The centre pattern thread is green. In Sweden, this is known as the heart of the band. This is a useful guide when weaving.
|My 100 motif band.|
Here is a close up of one of the motifs. Go to Band weaving with 13 pattern threads on my blog for the pattern draft.
|One motif from the woven band.|
Here is the reverse side of the motif.
|Reverse side of motif.|
|Portion of a marriage band with two sets of initials and a date of 1850.|
Next month I will post about Falun and the Dalarnas Museum.
Susan J Foulkes