Wise and Foolish Virgins Tapestry Webinar

wise and foolish virgin tapestry

This past winter, I was asked by Vesterheim Folk Arts School to develop a tapestry course inspired by their Wise and Foolish Virgins-themed pieces in their collection.  It was a delightful challenge that also made me curious to learn more about these iconic, historic Norwegian tapestries, the women that wove and used them, and the […]

A Mountain of Wool

Laura with wool

Chris’ telltale greenish-gray truck pulls into the barnyard early in the morning as we’re doing chores.  Shearing season once again has arrived on the farm, and the 120-odd sheep are ready.  As the temperatures tentatively climb out of the deep freeze, their heavy wool coats will soon be too intense for their comfort. In the […]

The Art of Repurposing

crochet basket

There’s an old green trailer on our farm, reworked by some creative soul from the back end of an old pickup truck.  It hangs out next to the garage, out of the way of the snowplow.  A few years ago, we had the idea to load it up with the various pieces of scrap metal […]

Creativity Vs. Productivity–Yin and Yang

yin yang

I was a bright-eyed fourth grader the summer we stopped by the gift shop in Wisconsin Dells where my mom’s younger brother had a summer job.  I had a tiny bit of spending money, and I picked out a necklace for myself—a silvery yin yang pendant embedded with shell inlay dyed maroon and a bluish […]

Nisse: Yuletide Homestead Helpers

winter critters

I love learning new things.  This last week’s Zoom needle felting classes were hosted with Vesterheim Folk Art School (based in Decorah, Iowa), with a class that proved to be so popular we added a second date to accommodate the waiting list, which also filled up in just a matter of days from opening registration.  […]

Rose Window Hat: A Fiber Artist’s Giving Tuesday Initiative

beret hat

In April, I like so many watched in horror as Notre Dame burned.  I wanted to do something to help, even though I lived half a world away.  A medievalist who admires stained glass (including the irreplaceable beauty of the cathedral’s famous rose windows), I designed this hat as a tribute.   Made from our farm’s […]

Peace Pole Meets Yarn Bombing

installed pole

Each winter at Farmstead Creamery (which is also Erindale’s gallery), my family and I dream up something new to add that enriches the experience for visitors.  This might be celebrity animals to meet, one of the historic farm tractors to touch and admire, a tractor tire turned into a sandbox for imaginative play, or the […]

Fair Annie: Pretty as a Liability

david and bathsheba detail

The cultural desire for women to be forever young and fair comes at a price, especially when a couple faces a mid-life crisis.  The man (who was distinctly the more powerful of the two) might decide to find a way to cast off the old wife for someone new and younger.  This certainly is a […]

Belle Femme: Beauty, Transition, and the Dawn of the 16th Century

marie of burgundy

What makes a woman beautiful?  The answer to this can certainly be quite different across cultures and eras.  Here I’ll explore the changing standards of female beauty and dress during that interesting cusp between the late medieval period and the Renaissance. Fashions certainly had their roller coaster ride across the medieval period.  Waists were loose, […]

Willie O’ Winsbury

couple courting in tapestry

Documented as Child Ballad #100, with many variants, this border ballad has strong Scottish roots.  Through my research, I found Winsbury to have been a Scottish clan name, though I could not find an actual location (like a town or castle with the name Winsbury).  If you know more about the Winbsury story, I would […]