I said I was going to West Zealand in my previous post to teach about the way I weave at their Festival of Weaving. So, now that I am back and got a few urgent things sorted I thought I would share some of my experience out there.
So firstly, I must say how warm and friendly all the weavers at The Weavers House were. From my host, Gitte Karlshøj, to all the weavers I met while I was there, everyone was keen to exchange ideas and practices, drink coffee and eat cake together.
It was fascinating to see how this group work together on their weaving and projects. I learned that they all came together after responding to a ‘shout out’ by Gitte to find out if there were any other weavers in her area. She had not expected to find many but instead she was swamped with responses and the idea of finding a place where they could set up a number of the typical (and enormous to me as an English woman) old Danish looms and teach and practice weaving was born. So too were Vævere i Vestsjælland or The Weavers of West Zealand.
Somehow – and this is one of the things that so impressed me – the idea caught the imagination of the owner of Kattrup Gods who offered them one of the outbuildings on his farm to create the Vævernes Hus or the Weavers House.
I was so impressed by Gitte’s energy and determination to push the agenda of weaving and the history of Danish weaving. The week after I visited she and her fellow weavers were to host a visit from the Queen of Denmark who has also shown interest in their project.
But not only do they show an incredible strength in terms of their collective drive to keep the Danish weaving traditions alive, they are also pushing that agenda into the 21st century.
This year’s Festival of Weaving was typical of this, with 3 weavers invited to come and teach about their weaving. Flemming Grundtvig Lundholm demonstrated his method of weaving damask on an ordinary handloom, Anne Marie Pedersen from The Weaver’s House gave a demonstration of the Flying8 Loom developed by weaver Andreas Müller from Germany, and I demonstrated how I weave my complex patterned blankets all on the same warp and using a computer dobby loom. And for this I also need to give a big shout out about Louet, the Dutch weaving loom company who so very kindly transported a Louet Megado computer dobby loom all the way to Denmark for me to demonstrate on.
The weaving is stunning. And between them they are finding ways to reinterpret weave structures for a modern aesthetic. So, a weave that would have been used to create table linen in cotton or linen, becomes a 2 metre wall hanging in cotton and fine wool.
The setting up of the Karoline Graves exhibition ‘When Past and Present Meet’ was an education in Danish style team-woman-ship. A beautiful handwoven linen tablecloth was casually thrown over a massive table in the kitchen area, coffee was endlessly brewed, while home baked cakes appeared by the score each day, and weavers were seen taking a well earned break in between unpacking, arranging and hanging.
The Weavers of West Zealand expression through colour is just beautiful. Readers of my blog will know that I love the way Scandinavian weavers have used colour historically, and the same subtle combinations are shown here in the Kattrup weavers work too.
And there are two other things I must mention that impressed me and also have made me very grateful that I was asked to teach there… I loved their sense of wry humour, which I share, and made some good friends… and I loved their rye bread or Rugbrød… so much that I came home quite addicted to it and had to work out how to bake my own as I missed it so much.
So fellow weavers, keep an eye out for the next Festival of Weaving and on their weaving courses. I can promise you that you will have a wonderful time if you visit.
Read my next blog post for my Danish Rugbrød recipe and a bit about the wonders of rye.
For more information about The Weavers House and courses