"Weaving and Design in Norway"

A UNI Study Abroad Summer Program

Vesaas Farm in Vinje, Telemark

May 20 - JUNE 4, 2005


Ingebrg Vaagen, Husflid Consultant, Telemark

Eli Vesaas, Vesaas Farm and Mjonoy Handcraft and Cultural Center, Vinje, Telemark

Carol Colburn, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, Iowa

Workshop Description (Undated January 1, 2005)

Discover the connections between traditional craft and contemporary design. Located in a historic farm setting, our weaving studio has a magical view of the mountains. This workshop will focus on weaving woolen cloth and developing garment designs inspired by Norwegian textile traditions. The Norwegian cloth called Vadmel (Norwegian) is also known as loden (German), or fulled woolen cloth (English). This twill woven cloth can be made in different weights and fulled to meet the needs of a variety of types of garments. Each weaver will take a project from woolen yarn to designer-made garment. The weaving studio at the Vesaas Farm in Vinje, Telemark, is a large converted barn. Farm activities also include raising Spelsau sheep, logging, and traditional crafts such as blacksmith and silver work. The Vinje Cultural Area has a rich artistic past that is ongoing and today has a central position in Norwegian fine art and traditional handcrafts. At the nearby Mjonoy Handcraft and Cultural Center we will full our cloth at a reconstructed outdoor fulling mill run by a water wheel on a stream. You will be introduced to historical and contemporary culture surrounding the textile arts in the region. Excursions will include visits to local artisan studios and arts events.

Registration is available for credit or on a non-credit basis (See 'Registration Information' page for more details). To register contact the UNI Study Abroad Office at (319) 273-7078 and ask for Aurelia Klink, Coordinator or visit the web site http://www.uni.edu/studyabroad .

For additional information about the course, please feel free to contact carol.colburn@uni.edu.

Week One: May 20 - May 27:
After a welcome dinner on the first day and settling into our lodgings, participants will be introduced to the Vesaas farm, the weaving studio and the overall plan for our creative process. As the days progress you will enter your warp, experiment with color, and weave up to 5 meters of cloth. In the last few days of the first week, the old technique of turning the twill weave fabric into finished vadmel cloth will be done at the fulling mill on a stream at the Mjonoy Handcraft and Cultural Center.

Week Two: May 28 - June 4

The second week you will see a range of traditional and contemporary Norwegian garments for inspiration and you will work with instructors as your personal design is patterned ,cut and constructed. Linings, closures and other supplies can be chosen from inventory at the studio or from local handcraft sources. You can choose to purchase beautiful silver buttons and closures of traditional Telemark style made on the farm by silversmith Olav Vesaas. Incorporating ideas from Norwegian construction and finishing details will make a uniquely distinctive handwoven garment.


Choose Your Option of One or Two Weeks:

Participants can register for the first week only and return home with your roll of approximately 5 meters of finished vadmel cloth. Those registering for two weeks will return home with a completed garment, with perhaps some yardage to spare. If desired, university credit is available for the two-week option through the University of Northern Iowa Study Abroad Program. Inquire by email to Carol Colburn for details of this option.


Cost of Course and Materials

Participants in the course should have intermediate weaving experience and some sewing experience. Each will weave up to 5 meters of cloth, depending on the garment planned.

One week (7 days) - noncredit: Approximately $1328.00

Two weeks (14 days) - noncredit: Approximately $2228.00

(As of October, 2004 - This price fluctuates a bit based on the value of the kronor vs. the dollar.)

This cost includes lodging for 7 or 14 days (double occupancy), local transportation, full days and evenings of course activities, and traditionally prepared dinners at Mjonoy Handcraft and Cultural Center. Materials costs are extra, as are travel expenses getting to Vinje. There may be small additional fees for admission to arts events and artists' studios.

Expenses not included in registration fees: Airfare, travel expenses to Vinje, international health insurance (available through UNI Study Abroad Office), breakfast and lunch costs (each cabin has a full kitchen), and material costs for your garment, as this will vary with your garment design.

Approximate materials cost for the vadmel cloth was NKr 250, (about $ 34.00) per meter in 2004 - this cost will be revised at a later date.]



Please wait to make your airline reservations until course registration and confirmation is complete. The primary international airport in Norway is the Gardermoen Airport - Oslo. Getting to the Vesas farm from Oslo is easy using the bus system, which is very reliable in Norway. The Vesaas farm is located in the rural community of Vinje within the county of Telemark. A small town called Amot is the nearest town to the Vesaas farm. You can take an express bus directly to Amot from Oslo. The price one way from Oslo to Amot is Nok 310, which is approximately $45.00. At the main bus terminal in Oslo, catch the bus marked Haukeli Expressen (The Haukeli Express) to Amot in Vinje, Telemark. It is about a four hour ride to the south and west of Oslo, and you will be traveling through some beautiful mountain areas along the way. There is a bus stop on the route called Amot, Vinje Kro, which has a nice cafe' providing a comfortable place where we meet you to bring you to the Vesaas farm, about 20 minutes by car. Details of the bus schedule for your arrival and departure will be sent to you when you register for the course so that you can coordinate the bus trip with your airline reservations. Norway also has a smaller international airport called the Sandefjord Torp Airport, located south of Oslo. If you fly to this airport there are also bus connections to Vinje available.


Upcoming Vesterheim Norwegian-American Event to Coordinate with the Workshop: "Weaving and Design in Norway"


Textile Study Tour:

Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa is hosting a Textile Study Tour to Norway May 8-19, 2005. One of the planned stops on the bus tour will be the Vesaas farm in Vinje. Those registering for the Vesterheim Textile Study Tour can coordinate their travel arrangements to return to Vinje after the tour is finished to participate in the workshop in "Weaving and Design in Norway" for the one or two weeks. For more information about the tour, visit the museum web site at http://www.vesterheim.org.

Norwegian Textile Guild Conference:

Vesterheim Norwegian American Museum will also host The Norwegian Textile Guild's 3rd Conference on Norwegian Woven Textiles October 21-23, 2005 and a series of textile workshops will be offered in conjunction with the conference. A workshop in Techniques for Creating Handwoven Garments Inspired by Norwegian Traditions will be one of the workshops offered. Those participants in the first week of the workshop "Weaving and Design in Norway" can continue their garment design and construction during this October workshop in Decorah.

Welcome to Vinje

We wish to welcome you to some exciting textile days in Vinje, Telemark. The Vadmel workshop is truly an immersion experience into Norway's rural textiles: the weaving workshop is on a working farm, mountain streams power the fulling mill, and, like others for generations, you'll use the unique properties of vadmel for a garment to enjoy.

Lodging and Meals

Students share fully equipped houses on the Vesaas farm or at a nearby farm. Dinners of regional and traditional Norwegian foods are served family style at the Mjonoy Handcraft and Cultural Center. Breakfast and lunch will be at individual expense with kitchens in each house and access to food stores.










Course Description
Registration Information
Vesaas Farm and Lodging
Photo Album
Contacts & Links