The Baldishol: A Medieval Norwegian Tapestry Inspires Contemporary Textiles
The exhibit: June 26-August 30, 2020
Norway House, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Opening Party: Friday, June 26, 2020, 5-8 pm
Most people aware of weaving traditions in Norway (or Europe) have seen an image of the famous Baldishol Tapestry. This tapestry textile fragment, depicting the months of April and May, was discovered in Norway in 1879 when a church was torn down. It is now recognized as one of the earliest European tapestries.
This Norwegian historical treasure has been replicated many times. The Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa, alone has three full-sized copies. A group of Norwegian-American women presented one to Mrs. Calvin Coolidge in 1926, in honor of the Norse-American Centennial celebrated the year before. Many students in Scandinavian weaving schools in past decades wove copies of the head of “April man.”
Now it is your turn, as a contemporary artist, to be inspired by the Baldishol Tapestry.
We are looking for original weavings and other art works in fiber that look to the Baldishol Tapestry for inspiration, not replication, for a textile art exhibit at Norway House in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the summer of 2020. Sponsors include Norway House, the Weavers Guild of Minnesota, the Textile Center of Minnesota, and the Norwegian Textile Letter. The purpose of the exhibit is to highlight the talent and creativity of textile artists, internationally, while educating Norway House audiences about the famous Norwegian tapestry.
Examine the rich images of the April and May panels. Elements of the images could be woven, perhaps in multiples—birds? The dots of the horses? The designs of the bands? Could you weave cloth and make the tunic of one of the figures? Or make the shoes, or the helmet? Could you imagine the characters in a different time period, sowing seeds or going to war? If the Baldishol tapestry was only two months of a longer frieze, what would have happened on other panels? How are you inspired?
Prizes! Works in The Baldishol: A Medieval Norwegian Tapestry Inspires Contemporary Textiles will be judged before the opening by Karen Searle, noted Minnesota artist, and Laurann Gilbertson, Curator of the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.
First Prize: $250
Second Prize: $100
People’s Choice (To be given following the exhibit): $50
Details and dates
This show will be curated by a group from Norway House and the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. To be included, you must submit an application. Art works, which must be original and executed by the artist, will be accepted into the show based on relevance to the theme as well as overall concept, design, and technique.
Applications will be taken from March 1-December 15, 2019, or until the exhibit space is filled. The piece does not need to be completed for approval of the concept. Applications will be processed within 6 weeks of receipt. Approved pieces should be delivered to Norway House between June 8-June 20, 2020.
The application form is here.
Cost: The application fee is $25, to help defray administrative costs (to be paid upon acceptance).
Sales: Items may be for sale, but transactions are the responsibility of the artist, not Norway House (due to is tax status). Details will be available in the acceptance letter.
An Exhibit Catalog will be published and available for purchase.
For inspiration, see these articles in the Norwegian Textile Letter: “Baldisholteppe: A Treasure from the Middle Ages;” “The Baldishol Tapestry in the White House,” which originally appeared in the Kulturhistorisk Leksikon (Cultural History Encyclopedia), published by Fylkesarkivet i Sogn og Fjordane (the County Archives of Sogn and Fjordane); and “The Baldishol Tapestry–The White House Replica and Others.”
Questions? contact Robbie LaFleur at [email protected]. The curatorial committee: Max Stevenson and Rachael Barnes from Norway House; and Claire Most, Sara Okern, Lisa Ann Bauch, Lisa Torvik, and Robbie LaFleur from the Weavers Guild of Minnesota.