Monday, December 24, 2012

"In Our Nature: The Tapestries of Helena Hernmarck"

I think it was back in September I learned of an exhibit of Helena Hernmarck tapestries at the American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, MN (exhibit now over).  It seemed this would likely be the best chance I would ever have of seeing any tapestry of Helena Hernmarck.  I called a friend who is an artist (watercolor, collage, paper) and weaver, and asked if she would be interested in driving to Minneapolis together before Oct. 14.  We finally settled on Wed., Oct. 10th as weather would be good and roads dry.

Louise Engelbrecht, WI Northwoods Artist and Weaver.

American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Exhibit banner outside ASI Park St. entrance.

We were advised, when paying our entrance fee, to start in the old mansion, and end with the large exhibit room in the new section, that would "blow us away," so we did.  Photos (without flash) of tapestries were allowed in the old mansion.

"Envelope from Sweden."

"Kari's Leaf" and process.

Sorry, but I didn't catch the title of the above work.  I liked that it was small squares put together as one work, something do-able for a weaver with smaller loom(s).

In addition to the tapestries, there was a 40 minute video we could watch showing Hernmarck at work and her process for creating and weaving the tapestries.  I was hoping it would be available on DVD, but alas, it was not.  Perhaps someday?  And while I'm hoping, I'll hope for a new book of her tapestries since the publication of "Helena Hernmarck, Tapestry Artist." 


"Folk Costume Details."

The inspiration for "Folk Costume Details."

Sample for visitors to touch and examine.

"Linnea Borealis" by Lis Korsgren.

Last, we went into a large, semi-darkened room holding four large tapestries,... "Poppies," "Waterfall," "Leadenhall Market," and "Moss-klyftan.  In photos, they are fabulous, in person, stunning, they take your breath away.  I had taken only a few photos (some didn't make it as I must have turned my phone off too soon, trying to save battery), waiting until the end, only to find out No Photos Allowed in this room.  Ah well, we could stand or sit and bask in the artistry.  I couldn't get over how, when viewing each one up close you saw color, and the further back you moved, the more detail stood out.  It was amazing! 

Note:  The above photos, taken by myself, are published here with the very kind approval of Helena Hernmarck.  

There were also two other smaller exhibits at ASI, including one on Swedish lace, the following three photos were taken the same day.

Bobbin lace.

Variety of bobbin designs.

Lace in fine linen.
As we were getting ready to leave, we decided seeing anything else on this visit would "dilute" the experience of seeing the Helena Hernmarck tapestries, so we left for home.  It made for a very long day, but seeing this exhibit made it very worth while.  Altogether, a very satisfying day.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Black Bear cub at Wild Instincts, Rhinelander, WI.

A little catching up,... I am a volunteer for Wild Instincts, Rhinelander, WI, a wildlife rehab facility.  As a rescue driver for them, I rarely get a call, in winter, to go out and bring in wildlife in winter, so knowing they were working hard to get their new building ready for the spring "deluge," I went over to help paint walls for a day in January, and again in February.  While there, it was time for Mark Naniot, registered rehabber, to feed two baby black bears.  After he fed the first one, he asked if I'd like to hold it while he fed the second.  A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, I happily held the now contented baby for a few minutes.  Of course while holding him, he peed on me, so I spent the afternoon smelling like baby bear urine, and yes, I tossed my clothes when I arrived home.  A month later, I was able to hold him again, this time I had a paper towel under his little bottom, and thankfully, no "accident."  I am happy to report the two cubs were placed in a den with a mom and her two cubs. 

To read more about these and other black bears, go to the Wild Instincts blog,  There are some amazing videos there!

WI Northwoods, Autumn 2012.
We had quite a beautiful autumn this year, good color as we'd had more rain than we've had over the past few years. 

Milo, watching me work outdoors.

Sock machine demo on Oct. 6, 2012.
On Saturday, October 6th, the Lake Country Weavers had their fiber arts demonstrations and sale in Eagle River, WI.  As I am currently the only sock-cranker in the group, and the sock machine is more portable than my looms, that is what I usually demonstrate on.  Then a call came from an area gallery, would I like to have my socks in their gallery for November, so I got busy cranking again to have socks to take over.

A few of the socks made in October.

Detail of "School Days Plaid" socks.

Cranking socks on an sunny autumn day.

Socks at the gallery.

Time to get back to my sketchbooks.
It feels like I've been doing the same kind of weaving for far too long.  I've been thinking and asking myself for the past year, "what is it I really want to weave?"  I finally came up with answers, and bit by bit, pieces of it have been falling into place.  

So, with the new year it almost here, I have a lot of learning and exploring to do at Shuttle Works Studio!

Shuttle Works Studio on an early winter morning.