Monday, November 12, 2012

Following the Thread: Swedish Handweaving..rya front and back

I've been meaning to get back to my blog and keep the Swedish handweaving story going....and I will!  A full post about my visit to the National Museum in Stockholm will be written tomorrow.  In the meantime, out of my many many photos I have from my research and travels, I realized there were more than a few of them that didn't make it into my last post about the Nordic Museum.  So, I decided to post a few of them today from the Nordic Museum's Vav/Weave exhibition.

Rya, or what we call pile or shag weaving, is very popular in Sweden.  Wool and rags are used for the pile to create a lush, warm textile.  What I found fascinating about rya weavings was the contrast between the front and back of the textile.  The front was the rya shag, full of texture and colour and dimension, while the back is like a map to how the cloth was constructed.   The image below is the back of the rya weaving you see above.  It is like a code where what appear to be subtle accents of colour are actually explosions of colour when the textile is viewed from the front (ie. the diagonal orange stripes seen on the rya side).

This rya textile in white and red was one of my favourites in the Vav/Weave exhibit.  I liked the simplicity of the colours and the almost-but-not-quite orderly arrangement of the red spots.  Below is the back of the textile where the red rya pattern becomes a series of horizontal dashes.

Both of the these textiles are examples of contemporary handweaving in Sweden influenced by traditional techniques.

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