Iceland Field School Day 15 | June 15, 2018

Jóhanna (standing at right) helps our newest knitters with Icelandic tricks and techniques. Photo: Katharina Schneider.

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!

Hannele (above), from the luxurious Reykjavik knitting store, Storkurinn, offers more advanced techniques for knitters with some experience, and delights us with beautiful stitch samplers ( below). Photos: Kathleen Vaughan

Iceland Field School participant Dominique Turk sports her newly knit headband. Dom was one of our first time knitters, someone who really took to the practice! Photo: Kathleen Vaughan


Iceland Field School Day 14 | June 14, 2015

The basics of weaving for newcomers to the artform. Photo: Kathleen Vaughan

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!

No mosquitoes!! Yet another reason to love Iceland!

Icelandic midges from Kathleen Vaughan on Vimeo.

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.


Iceland Field School Day 6 | June 6, 2018

Students warping their tapestry looms under the direction of Ragga Thorsdóttir, in the shared studio at the Icelandic Textile Centre. Photo: Kathleen Vaughan

In the studio at the Icelandic Textile Centre: learning tapestry weaving with Ragnheiður Björk Þórsdóttir, expert weaver and researcher at the Blönduós Research Centre.

Students warping their looms. Photo: Kathleen Vaughan

Iceland Field School Day 5 | June 5, 2018

A ewe and her lambs at Jóhanna’s farm. Rembrandt lighting! Photo: Kathleen Vaughan

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!

Iceland Field School Day 5 | June 5, 2018

At the Kvennaskóllin, Jóhanna (far right) teaches us how to spin, as we learn how to handle fleece and the wheel and ‘sit like a queen.’ Photo: Kathleen Vaughan

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!