Monday, March 10, 2014
Scandinavian Bodice with Woven Tape Bands
I just spent a month of February in Minnesota! Some people go to Florida for the winter, I go to Minnesota. Roger is there. And, this year we spent the first weekend up in Grand Marais. If Minneapolis is not cold enough in February, then go 5 hours north to Grand Marais!
While Roger cut trees for his upcoming classes, I wove.
Next week we spent in Decorah, Iowa. It was a little warmer there. I met a lot of weavers. We got a tour of the secret archives and I saw some old Norwegian and Swedish Tape Looms. They were wonderful. We stayed at a B&B. The owners of the B&B were farmers. Their Norwegian forefathers have worked the same farm that our hosts own since the mid 1800s.
Roger taught a wooden bowl class at Vesterheim, I wove.
And yet the next week we spent with Tom and Kitty Latane in Pepin Wisconsin. I got to stay with Kitty as she spun and wove musk ox wool. Laura Ingalls was born in Pepin. The lake, Pepin, a wide spot on the Mississippi, was frozen solid. More cold temperatures and a rain shower turned the roads into paths of ice and packed snow. Great for Kittys kick sled. I found I just had to dress right for the cold weather, 3 layers of clothes lined wool hat and double felted mittens.
Roger taught a wooden bowl class at Pepins' school, I wove.
So I got a lot of weaving on my tape loom done!
Having joined the Connecticut Weavers this year and with some classes to teach coming up, I needed to get some bands done to adorn my clothing. Visitors are always asking... "What do you do with these bands?" My first project home was to finish the Scandinavian Bodice I had started in January.
There is a great web site
Here I found some Bodices. The Scandinavians decorated, still do, their clothing in colorful bands of cloth. When I go to reenactments, I dress in very casual clothes. As a New England potter, I would be wearing plain everyday dresses from the mid 1800s. When I first discovered my English style paddle loom in my attic, I was satisfied making plain English bands for my hat and apron strings. Then I met Roger the Norwegian, and found these colorful bands.
Norwegians were among the first arrivals in New Amsterdam in the 1600s. Swedes soon followed. For some reason, they headed north into New York State and then out west to the new lands in Ohio west to Minnesota, perhaps looking for farmland. Connecticut was originally settled from the Boston area, lots of English. The Germans, Italians and Scandinavians eventually wandered into New England, mostly for the jobs in the new industrial factories. The statistics for my town of Torrington CT states we are currently made up of 9% German, 1% Swedish, 24% Italian, 13% Irish and only 8% English. When Torrington was first settled in the 1700s, 100% of the population was English. I am about half German and half English with a wee bit of Irish thrown in. If one has heard the stories of Vikings conquering England in days gone by, I must have some Norwegian in me! This is all about my own reenacting as a New England potter and weaver in 1840.
I am thinking, perhaps a Norwegian loom or a Norwegian bodice found its way into Connecticut around 1840. In my reenactments I can make up stories. My story this year with my brightly decorated bands on my bodice and aprons will be that on a trip to New York, I traded yellow ware with a Norwegian lady for them! Or perhaps I met a traveler at one of my fairs that was Norwegian?
Reenactments, dressing up in old fashioned clothes, working with your hands instead of electricity... it is just fun. Even my pet peeve about people weaving on Inkle looms instead of the hand-carved beautiful gate looms found at the Vesterheim Museum.... well that is ok too.
Want to try a Norwegian Loom? Check out my web site, www.eastknollpottery, check out my book, Tape Loom Weaving, simplified on my web site or Amazon or come see me at my next event.