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    Pattern for the Ormen Lange bargello quilt

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Rendezvous in Røros

27 years ago my family and I visited Røros during a holiday trip.

In the museum there was an exhibition of textile art, and among them were several works by artist Ela Monsen.

 

I was so impressed by her work at the time that I took several photos, using a cheap camera I had at that time, – and also using the expensive film and paper copies of that time. I wanted to remember what I saw.

 

The wall hangings were hung in a room with dark drapes on the walls, and even though my small flash light did its meager best, the photos were only so-so, – even by my then standards. But they were recognizable.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I visited Røros again, and we stayed at Røros hotel. In the lobby, I was pleasantly surprised to see the wall hanging with the dancing couple hanging on the wall.

 

Of course I recognized it at once, and was happy to be able to see it in better light conditions, and to be able to study the details. Of course I did not think twice about taking lots of photos, – these days photos are cheap.

The next morning I was again pleasantly surprised to see another of her works in the dining room:

 

This rendition of a wedding feast is the one I thought most impressive back in 1990, so I was very happy to be able to study it in closer detail. It has not lost its impact since then.

Ela Monsen died in 1978, so these two hangings were made just one and two years before her passing. Luckily, some of her works hang in public places so we can continue enjoying them.

🙂

Eldrid

 

 

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Bags

I have been on a roll lately, making bags.

I was inspired by a super easy tutorial on Pink Penguin’s blog, and suddenly I had made seven small bags. Six of them can be seen below, – I lengthened the handles a bit, and changed the shape of the bottom compared to the original.

Four of them have been sold or given away already.

 

Then I wanted to try computer printing on linen, and made a couple of designs  that fitted on a large sheet. The result can be seen below. I like longer handles so I can carry the bag on my shoulder, even if the bag itself is not very large. The black fabric is furniture suede, the others are linen and cotton.

The Norwegian text says: “If only the best bird were allowed to sing, the woods will become very quiet”, and: “Sing with the beak you have got”

🙂

Eldrid

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Endearments to History

Summer can be a hectic period with travelling, visiting family, have family visitors, minding the grandchildren, (a favourite occupation), and with everything else that needs to be done around the houses and gardens. It is also the time of year when you can expect to find exciting stuff in many of the smaller galleries in the area. I finally got around to visiting the closest one, Kulturhuset “Heimen”, and was blown away with their current exhibition, which is in its last week, by the way.

 

 

I was especially taken by the collection of  works by textile artist Edith Bentdal Skjeggestad, which she has called “Endearments to History”.

 

 

Ms Skjeggestad has used lots of old lace, fragments of garments, table linen fabric and towels, and arranged the pieces so you get the illusion of a dress bodice or blouse, focusing on the area closest around the neck.

 

 

She has made use of many embroidery techniques to make each unique piece into a visual feast, with lots of details to study and admire. Just look at that fabulous smocked piece, for instance.

 

 

I was impressed by the embroidery made with thin, black thread. It gave the impression of a patterned fabric as well as a textured background, depending on the stitches.

 

 

The collages were set in deep, white, glass fronted frames, and bore titles such as “Flirt”, “Romance”, “Sadness”, “Nostalgia”, and “Longing”, all with lots of embellishments.

 

 

Most were definitely “female”, but there were also a few pieces like the one above, called “Wonderboy, white collar”. It made me almost feel sorry for the menfolk who had to dress so simply and monotonously, compared to all the beautiful lace, embroidery and pearls shown on the other pieces.

 

 

There was also a project called “The Embroideress’ Secrets”, which consisted of a large group of smaller, deep frames, or boxes. In these frames were shown small collages of different sewing equipment and small, exquisite, examples of handmade items connected with the different equipments. The reflections in the glass made it a bit difficult to photograph, but below are a few of the boxes:

 

 

Again, here were lots of details to study. I especially liked the small Russian doll showed with the red embroidery.

 

 

There are also works by other artists exhibited in the gallery, like these prints by Jertrud Eikås Eide and ceramics by Anne Lise Aarset. The sculptures by Aase Botnmark in the window are in this gallery on a permanent basis.

 

 

But the other exhibitions will be taken down this weekend. Just a few days left. Hurry if you want to see it.

🙂

Eldrid

 

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The Fantastic Seam Ripper

Grandson has finished his very colourful shirt, which has been in the works on and off for some months now. Last of all he sewed the button holes for the buttons.

Then he discovered what a wonderful instrument the seam ripper can be. It sheared open the button holes soooo easily. This was real fun.

A few minutes later, our test patch looked like this:

Too much fun to stop. Luckily, we have no shortage of fabric scraps to serve as test patches in this house.

🙂

Eldrid

“Kappakjolen” – the Story of a Dress

We have just celebrated my mothers 90th birthday this weekend, and during the festivities, an old family photograph turned up. Below I have cropped the photo so it just shows  a 7 or 8 years old me in the most beautiful dress I have ever owned.

My mother related the story of the dress, which for the most part I knew, but there were some new-to-me details. Anyway, here it is:

My parents had built their house close to my paternal grandparents’ home, and we moved in when I was two years old. At about the same time, an old chapel (bedehus) was taken from its original location and moved further into the valley, closer to the farms where we lived. My paternal grandmother, Helene, and neighbouring women formed a society with the aim of raising money for a new organ for the chapel. They organized bazaars and raffles, and my mother helped by making some of the prizes for the raffles. She made this dress and gave it to the society to use as a raffle prize. She made it out of a thin, white nylon fabric with tiny raised dots, using an old Bernina treadle machine, and at a time in life when she had 4 children aged 1 to 6, was expecting her 5th child, and still had no washing machine. How she mustered the time and energy I do not know. Just hemming all those ruffles would have taken forever.

My grandmother Helene won the dress at the raffle, and she gave it to me, probably because I was the right size for it at the time. Lucky me.

The first time I remember wearing it, was during the Christmas celebrations when I was 5. By then I was in a hospital in Oslo, 600 kilometres away from home, and alone, except for some distant relatives and friends visiting now and then. When it was decided that I would not be able to come home for Christmas, my parents sent the dress and a pair of not-quite-new shoes, which my father had made glossy and new-looking by applying some black lacquer, so I would have something nice to wear for the celebrations. I remember the nurses oohing and aahing over my dress, and I was very, very proud of it.

Later I remember wearing it to the Sunday school Christmas celebrations at the chapel, where there now was an organ, partly thanks to the dress that my mother made. We did not have a car (they were rationed till 1960), so my parents loaded the family on two kicksleds, two children on each seat, and one standing between the seat and the parent, who then kicked our way the 3 kilometres to the chapel. Once a storm blew up on our way home, and I can still remember the feeling of hails stinging my face as we crossed an open, boggy area before we got in between the trees. Of course we were all dressed as if we were going on a polar expedition, but the beautiful dress was underneath it all. So the first thing we did upon arriving, was to go downstairs to shed all the thick wool, put on our best shoes we had brought along, and then it was time for my mother to comb our hairs and put in the big bows (which I hated, by the way) before entering the big room. 60 years later I have been told by some of my contemporaries that they still remember that dress.

The photo above is the only one that exists of that dress, that I know of. I was then 7 or 8 years old, and the dress is already too small. Later it went to my two younger sisters, each in their turn. I am not sure what became of it after that, but it was probably passed on to some younger cousins, – that was how things were done back then. If so, I hope they enjoyed wearing it as much as I did.

🙂

Eldrid

 

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Fashion Show in Suzdal

I mentioned in a previous post that I would post some photos from the Fashion Show in Suzdal, and finally, here they are.

The Fashion Show was held on a stage built in the middle of the town square, and was part of the entertainment on the annual Suzdal Day, which is celebrated on the second Saturday of August.

They kept going for almost two hours, as participants of all ages were showing more than a hundred different outfits. Because of the crowd of people in front of the stage, it was difficult to get up close, so I had to use the zoom a lot, which lessen the chance of getting clear shots.

Below are a few of the outfits. All the information from the stage was in Russian only, so sadly we missed out on a lot of the details. So I will not be able to inform on the names of the designers or wearers of the outfits, except for a few that I have picked up on later.

 

fashione10Nina Lee in her beautiful skirt and waistcoat.

fashione11I believe this is also one of Nina Lee’s creations.

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Ludmila Charest presents a collection of outfits made in a class with Xenia Dmitrieva. See also video clip below.

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Many of the dresses seemed to be inspired by folk costumes.

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Denim was popular, either as new fabric or re-purposed jeans. Note the bird theme.

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There were a few collections of children’s outfits. They were adorable, – all of them.

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A few of many, many skirts, coats and jackets.

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A collection of outfits in an old fashioned style, and with some patchwork details.

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This one got a lot of attention. The design was inspired by the town of Suzdal, with all its churches and bell towers,

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A couple of fanciful skirts, – very original. I liked them better and better each time I saw them around town during the following days.  There was a whole collection with similar dekor.

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Behind the scenes:  Cuddling the baby while waiting to enter the stage.

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“Backstage” was in reality at one of the sides of the stage, so while the participants were lining up waiting for their turn, some lucky persons got to photograph the outfits up close.

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Walking around the square after the show doing some shopping in one or more of the many booths, there were some interesting clothing items around to study and admire.

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Some video clips from the fashion show:

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Enjoy.

🙂

Eldrid

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The Quilted and the Non-Quilted Feast

The first day of our tour we spent sightseeing in Moscow, and in the afternoon we ended up inside the Novospassky Monastery, where a delicious meal had been prepared for our international group.

novospassky

We were to dine in one of the towers that sit on every corner of the wall surrounding the monastery.

The entrance was through a low door in the inside wall, up some long and narrow steps to the gallery, and again ducking through low doors and into the tower room.

It was a lovely sight: tables already set with lots of delicious food, old cupboards against the walls holding beautiful pots and crockery, traditional costumes on display, along with various crafted items, – and everything lit only by candles and the natural light coming through the small windows, filtered through blue and white glass.

Many old and newer samovars were displayed around the room and on the steps to the upper room:

We were told that we were going to have a traditional Russian meal, – as in a feast, – and our guide inside the monastery described each course as they were served: what they were, a little about tradition and production, how they should be eaten, etc.

I think there were more than ten different courses, – I lost count somewhere during the meal, – and all of it was delicious; the pumpkin soup, chicken and mushroom pie, pancakes with caviar, fish, pork, cucumber rolls and everything else.

We had sweetened mint flavoured juice to drink, – very good after a long and warm day out in the streets. Then there was cake and desserts along with hot tea made from lots of different sour fruits and berries, and sweetened with comb honey.

What a treat!


 

A week later we went into another monastery, in Suzdal, and inside one of the churches there, we laid eyes on another feast.

22 year old Xenia Shlyakova had single-handedly provided a full table of yummy food, – all made from fabric and set onto a large, handmade, table cloth.

There were all kinds of food:  fish with both red and black caviar, mushrooms, and chicken…..

……. pelmeni, cucumbers, roasted pig with vegetables, goose and apples, prawns with lemon and strands of dill……

….. breads in a basket with an embroidered napkin, and decorated bread or cake.

Bearing in mind the topic of the festival was Love, and Wedding, this would probably be the kind of decorated bread made especially for weddings. Note the poppy seeds on the braided loaf, – they are all tiny french knots.

Of course there were desserts too, – fruit, berries, cake, and cookies.

No feast is complete without something to drink.  In the bottle there is moonshine, and my guess is tea in the teapots and the samovar.

I wondered a bit about the boot on the top of the samovar, but Mr. Google informs me that it is used instead of a bellow to fan the fire inside the samovar.

And then the tea is sweetened with comb honey, – everything so neatly made, down to the last detail.

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One the artist’s beautiful quilts was overlooking the table.

 

Both feasts were amazing experiences, and even though the last one was for the eyes only, it is remembered just as well as the one which we could also taste and smell.

 

🙂

Eldrid

 

 

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