"From Kindness to Cutting Satire: Lila Nelson’s Tapestries Embraced the World and Its Politics.” A Conversation with Robbie LaFleur

Folk Art School

Vesterheim Folk Art School

"From Kindness to Cutting Satire: Lila Nelson’s Tapestries Embraced the World and Its Politics.” A Conversation with Robbie LaFleur

September 22, 2020 (7:30-8:30PM CDT) with Robbie LaFleur

Level of Instruction
Everyone welcome.
$0.00 Members
$0.00 Non-members

Many people in the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum community remember Lila Nelson as the long-time Textile Curator. Many weavers remember Lila as a skilled instructor and incredible mentor. This slide-filled lecture will focus on Lila Nelson as an artist. Her tapestries reflect her irrepressible personality, her engagement with the world around her, and, not least, her political commentary.

Lila’s true talent was her ability to depict many facets of life with complete sincerity. She wove a girl on a swing in pigtails, expressing joy in a single moment in life. In another tapestry, two Inuit women are embracing in friendship—you sense their love and communication. Yet she also wove a tortured prisoner hanging on a prison wall, with frightening faceless prison guards on either side. And she wove cats with machine guns! She used humor to point out the emphasis on terror that was making people feel fearful.

This time of pandemic and political unrest is a perfect time to review Lila Nelson’s enduring art and wonder, “What would Lila be weaving now?"

Supplies: A computer, laptop, or tablet with a camera and mic, as well as a fast, reliable internet connection.

Special Instructions: Register here. You will receive an email with a Zoom link for the program.

Registration for this class has closed.

About the Instructor

Robbie LaFleur

Robbie LaFleur

Robbie LaFleur has been following a thread of Scandinavian textiles since she studied weaving at Valdres Husflidskole in Fagernes, Norway, in 1977. She has continued her study with Scandinavian instructors in Norway and the United States. Her projects include interpreting Edvard Munch’s Scream painting into a variety of textile techniques, weaving tapestry portraits of her relatives, and continuing exploration of various Norwegian coverlet techniques. She is a Vesterheim Gold Medalist, coordinates the Weavers Guild of Minnesota Scandinavian Weavers Study Group, and publishes the Norwegian Textile Letter. In 2019 she received a fellowship from the American Scandinavian Foundation to study the transparency technique of famed Norwegian tapestry weaver Frida Hansen.

Learn more: Watch this video, Collection Connections: Investigating Norwegian Billedvev with Robbie LaFleur where Robbie billedvev weaving from the collection, including two important historical pieces dating from the 1600s during Norway’s golden age of tapestry.