Hand-woven Tapestry from Peru

Tapestry allA fantastical Peruvian tapestry.
I’m going to say it’s in the style of “San Pedro de Cajas.” It is definitely padded and woven as tapestries from there are described, but the style looks different than those I found on the web.

As this is Mother’s day, the post is in memory of my fabulous mother, with a shout-out to my mother-in-law who is also fabulous-she raised my lovely husband.

My sisters and I bought the tapestry as a present for Mother’s 60th birthday. My Norwegian sister, Merete, had visited us (with her entire family) in Los Angeles and one day we all went to Olvera Street, which is full of Mexican stores/restaurants/color, where Mother admired one of these tapestries. Her birthday was coming up and Merete said that in Norway that particular milestone is celebrated with a special gift. So we four daughters bought this for Mother.

Mother wasn’t able to hang it right away. She stored it rolled and unfortunately, because it’s made of wool, there was a bit of moth damage. Still, it is beautiful. When Mother died, my husband and I took it and now it hangs in our house evoking terrific memories. Today I’m particularly thinking of Mother with rolled up pant legs strolling along the sand as Merete’s daughters frolic in the California ocean. A bit warmer than that of North sea. I’m also remembering another Norwegian cousin who arrived at our house for a visit, the color of the sun in the tapestry. Too much enjoyment on the beach! I always swore I’d learn Norwegian, but I got side-tracked. Maybe with so many family members there, I should try.
Now take a closer look at some of the details:

A bit about how this was made. It’s an unusual style of weaving, known as padding, in which dyed but unspun wool is stuffed into the warp of the loom, each colored piece arranged one by one, much like brush strokes in an oil painting. Whoever this artist was, he/she had an active imagination and a terrific eye.

Photo: On the Water in Norway

Norway fiordPicture taken in Norway.

This is another of my Daddy’s pictures, taken on our first European trip, visiting my Norwegian sister, Merete.

Coming from Colorado, we were used to mountains, but our mountains are dry. Those in Norway sprout myriad waterfalls and Daddy called them the “leaky” mountains.  Everywhere there was water; the long bays of the fiords along the coastline, the thin silver threads of the waterfalls; when the sun comes out, it’s glorious. 

Actually, sunshine is somewhat of a rarity.  When the sun appeared, Norwegians pulled off the highway, took collapsible chairs from their cars, and basked.  I can imagine the need to soak up as much sun as possible; for a quarter of the year they barely see it, a condition I would find difficult although my sister says winter is cozy.

That summer we drove the scenic route from Oslo to Kristiansund, where my sister’s family lived. It was slow going – up a mountain, down a mountain, around a fiord, up a mountain… 

Once we encountered a tunnel. We couldn’t see the proverbial light at the end; the road simply buried itself into the mountain. However, it was on the map, so in we went. Soon the only light was our headlights. Then the road took a sharp corner. Daddy stopped the car, took a flash light and investigated. Reassured that the road didn’t drop off into nothing, we went slowly on.

I always knew when my parents were worried: they stopped talking. After a very silent half hour, we came out the other side. And there on the road for travellers going the other way was a sign: ROAD CLOSED.

Here’s another of my Daddy’s pix that I love, taken in Germany…

Norwegian Troll

Jolly Troll doll bought in Oslo, Norway. I have a Norwegian sister. When I was a senior, my family was selected to host the first American Field Service exchange student in my high school; a foreigner was coming to live with us for a full year! We picked up Merete at the airport. Blond, of course. English speaking, although when tired or facing a question she didn’t understand, she just said, “Yes.” The first night she ate with us there was some confusion when Mother said she was full. “What?!” It turns out “full” in Norwegian means drunk.

We had a fabulous year. She taught us to knit patterns into sweaters. The basement bedrooms flooded and we three older girls slept in the recreation room in an extended slumber party. She was elected HomeComing Queen, went through several boyfriends, got contact lenses, and totally bonded with us, especially my mother.

When she left at the end of the year, I was among many of my classmates, seeing her off. We were crying. One of the male Terry’s (remember there were 3 of them in my class) said, “What do you think? You’re going to get together in Norway? You’ll probably never see each other again.” He wasn’t mean, just realistic, but I vowed that wouldn’t be true. And it wasn’t.

The next year my entire family went to Europe for the first time, meeting Merete in Paris. We traveled through Germany, Switzerland, and into Northern Italy where a group of young soldiers almost jumped into our VW van through the sunroof when they saw us sunbathing in bikinis. Eventually we made it up to Norway where we spent a week with her family and I fell in crush with Olaf Brinkmannhansen. There were tears again when we parted.

But we have been together many times. Merete came to a wedding. When I left the theater in Germany for good, Mother and I went to Norway to meet Merete’s husband, and their two daughters. Her family came to the States. Mother, my husband and I went there.

The ties have loosened a little now, even with skype, but what a wonderful friendship. I am grateful to the American Field Service for sending Merete to us!