We had parallel knitting workshops at the Icelandic Textile Residency for beginners — some of our crew had never before held knitting needles — and those who were a little more advanced. Such fun and BIG thanks to Jóhanna Erla Pálmadóttir and Gudrun Hannele Henttinen for their knowledge, patience and good humour!
Working with demonstrations from master weaver and teacher Ragnheiður Björk Þórsdóttir (centre), Concordia University students learn tapestry weaving at the Icelandic Textile Center. This was just the beginning of creative adventures to come!
While Iceland does have midges (that don’t seem to bite humans), there are no mosquitoes — sheer bliss to those of us who are extra delicious to the whining pest. This article from Iceland Magazine explains why Iceland is exempt when nearby Greenland and the British Isles are definitely afflicted. It’s all to do with the climate here.
In the studio at the Icelandic Textile Centre: learning tapestry weaving with Ragnheiður Björk Þórsdóttir, expert weaver and researcher at the Blönduós Research Centre.
Our day of learning with wool (6 hours of spinning practice barely scratched the surface!) ended with a visit to the source of the precious fibre: Jóhanna Erla Pálmadóttir’s family sheep farm on the lakeside at Akur, outside Blönduós.
We got to visit the barn that serves as home for the new lambs and their mothers in the first three days of their lives, before they’re released to the healthy air of the spring fields then summer highlands. How remarkable to be in the presence of such vital new life, the often fierce protectiveness of the mother sheep, and the beautiful raking sunlight — Old Master paintings in-the-making all around us. Thank you, Jóhanna!
Two years ago I was enraptured by my first visit to Blönduós, here for a residency at the Icelandic Textile Centre. On this anniversary I’m back for a second trip — with 13 ConU students as part of the Iceland Field School. Today as the sun burns off the morning fog, we are working with Jóhanna Erla Pálmadóttir at the Kvennaskolinn, where she is patiently teaching us how to spin Icelandic wool! Horrible/fabulous to be an incompetent beginner at something again!