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A single tapestry Norgaard can take months started to show and the parts of it her work, and, for not currently being a couple years in worked on are rolled a row, got into the up on the loom, out prestigious annual of sight, so it’s not juried international possible to take into Spring Exhibition account the whole opened by the queen image as one works. of Denmark in Norgaard uses an Copenhagen. image behind the “It’s extremely Three panels of the Hem of the Sky tapestries created by Inge Norgaard for the meditation room in the Stockton hospital. hard to get in and I Photo courtesy of Inge Norgaard loom to keep her work on track. Still, thought if I can get in “It was hard to earn money,” said Norgaard. she worries about the impacts and the contrasts, there, I’m really a professional,” said Norgaard. “I don’t think I ever supported myself as an artist. putting careful attention on color and texture. Her first major tapestries were images of Norse There are way more artists than there’s demand for “I think about that purple dot,” she explains, mythology, large pieces that now hang in public art. My art’s a two-person job.” pointing to a tiny spot in the tapestry, adding, “You places in Denmark and in private collections. The couple left the boat and flew to Florida to have to be ludicrous to do this.” Her interest was sparked by a statue she visit family and look for a home. Norgaard’s nest tapestries come from her deep happened upon in a small town, of a cow suckling “I was pregnant and then suddenly you have to impressions of bird nests, taking in details of a male. She realized that, like most of her be responsible,” said Norgaard. their colors and shapes long before starting the contemporaries, she didn’t know much about her They considered San Francisco, where Charles tapestries. mythological heritage and began to learn about the had lived before, but realized they would have to In daylight, she noticed a broad array of colors many stories and figures beyond the commonplace work jobs every day to afford it, and chose Port in the nest materials and these show against Odin and Thor. Townsend. the sky-blue background of her work in Nest #2, “It became my main focus for many years,” she “Everywhere you go in Port Townsend it’s prominently displayed on American Tapestry said. “The mythology really tells us who we are as beautiful. Visually, it’s such a gorgeous place, with Alliance promotional material and featured in an a people, even more than the Christian religion, interesting people, but we can get comfortable impressive book, “Textiles, the Art of Mankind” by which is passed to us. Mythology emerged from the amongst ourselves, and there is so much going on Mary Schoeser (Thames & Hudson, 2012). people and it mirrors who we are.” out in the world. Hopefully, I give back.” “It’s nice when we get recognized in our world of She wove tapestries of Yggdrasil, the Norse Norgaard continued her art as they moved expertise,” said Norgaard. “You can be in shows, but tree of life; Heimdal’s nine mothers, spirits of the uptown into a small house near the courthouse and books last longer. It’s really exciting, super exciting sea; Gefion, goddess of riches and fertility, and then to their current home near the high school, to be in this one.” her four bull oxen; Baldur’s dream and his pyre; where they built her studio. She wove a three-part tapestry for the meditation beautiful Freya, goddess of love; the mythic events room in a Stockton, Calif., hospital serving patients of Fimbulvinter and Ragnarok, the last battle of the Works in cancer and neonatal care. gods, signaling the world’s end and its rebirth. Norgaard’s current focus has been on nature. A water lily tapestry she’d done inspired the A visit to Marymere Falls by Lake Crescent Life journey commission, but Norgaard suggested an image resulted in a large tapestry now heading to a show more in keeping with the local environment: a During this time, Norgaard met an intriguing in Tacoma. It is one of 24 in a show of 16 artists from peaceful horizon of deep blue islands in serene American, Charles Haniford. With his dreams and a around the world, traveling for two years. water reflecting a bright sunset, set with reeds to 50-foot wooden boat, he became her husband. “I was fascinated by the water tumbling and hold viewers at the beginning and the end of life. Soon the couple went on their own adventure, moving,” said Norgaard. “It’s the opposite of A technical challenge in weaving is to combine sailing to Germany, France, Portugal, the Canaries, tapestry, so still and locked. I thought it’s an vertical and horizontal elements, said Norgaard. the West Indies. During those seven years, Norgaard impossibility to put that in a tapestry.” “I was laying awake in the middle of the night, spun and worked on a folding loom aboard the She gazed at the liquidity of the falling water for thinking, ‘Why did I talk myself into reeds and Karin. She did watercolors and water studies to sell hours and figured out how to do the impossible. water?’” ashore. Weaving takes time and is a big commitment. Her solution was to weave the reeds horizontally and hatch in the sunset around them and the Fiber artist Inge islands. Norgaard checks the The environment of Vietnam inspired the placement of her tapestry works now on her loom. On a tour, tapestries in a work Norgaard saw an interesting U-shape on a watery inspired by the sight of horizon. It turned out to be large nets suspended to Vietnamese fishing nets dry and the lines intrigued her. hanging out to dry. “I’m excited when I get an image like that,” said Norgaard. “It’s a gift.” She divided the image into small abstract tapestry components, which can stand alone. Last spring Norgaard attended The Artist Spring Exhibition in Copenhagen, 36 years after her first showing, now with videos and balls of fabric. “It’s much different now, but still relevant and very exciting,” she said. “It’s a very good reminder that we have to keep evolving. We can do things we never could back then. It takes a lot of courage to break these boundaries. It takes years to change, and then you have to believe in yourself, and when you do it’s wonderful.”

Summer 2013 LOP 11

Living on the Peninsula  

Summer 2013