online mag  /  print bookazine

Letters

My last work-related trip before my holiday went to the Flax Weaving Museum on central Funen.

 

The specific reason for my visit was weaver and embroideress Susanne Nielsen’s exhibition 36 håndklæder. Fragmenter af en landbokultur (36 towels: Fragments of a rural culture).

The exhibition is on display until 14 July 2024, and if you’re in the area, it is worth a visit.

July 2024

 

You can read about the museum in bookazine no. 6 or here.


The Flax Weaving Museum at Krengerup Manor
, Nårupvej 30, Glamsbjerg.

The exhibition is a story written slowly with thread on linen towels.  

The towels themselves are a piece of history and tell their story through a diverse display of weaves, qualities and name labels. They range from unused towels to threadbare and lovingly repaired ones.

The imagery on the towels is based on a collection of letters written during the 1950s by Susanne Nielsen’s mother. In the letters, she offers detailed descriptions of the everyday work of a country housewife. The embroidered excerpts from the letters speak of New Year’s celebrations, harvest time, weeding in the turnip field, washing day and the establishment of a communal cold store – and also include a few biscuit recipes. In addition to the embroidered towels, the exhibition shows family portraits printed on linen towels and a collection of letters (in a display case).

At a personal level, the artworks are a way for Susanne Nielsen to come to term with the loss of her parents and with her own early retirement due to arthritis, which has put an end to her career as a weaver. In a broader perspective, the exhibition, which hangs in the museum café, serves as inspiration for conversations among the visitors, as they enjoy the cafe’s baked goods. One conversation I overheard during my visit touched on the dwindling village population: ‘On Midsummer’s Eve, five of us were over 90’, I overheard one woman say to another. I sneaked a peak – her beauty and vitality were luminous.
At another table, a conversation between student and master: ‘You’re the one who taught me to be meticulous,’ I heard a woman my own age say to a much older woman, referring to textile craft.

Susanne Nielsen’s stories reflect a rural culture that no longer exists – a time when farms matched the romantic image that many are still trying to paint today in order to gloss over the unpleasant fact that most Danish farms are now run like factories.

Not that the exhibition romanticizes this lifestyle; it does not. It does not offer an opinion.

 

Call me a romantic, but I think that in our efforts to find a way forward, it might not be a bad idea to look to the past and rediscover regularity, thoroughness and slowness.

Min sidste arbejdsrelaterede udflugt inden ferien gik til Hørvævsmuseet på Midtfyn.

Mit ærinde var væver og brodøse Susanne Nielsens – ”36 håndklæder. Fragmenter af en landbokultur”.

Udstillingen løber til og med 14. juli 2024, er du i nærheden er den værd at se.

Udstillingen er en langsom fortælling skrevet med tråd på hørhåndklæder.

Håndklæderne er i sig selv en historie og repræsenterer en mangfoldighed af vævebindinger, kvaliteter og navnemærkninger. Der er ubrugte håndklæder og helt tyndslidte, fint reparerede håndklæder.

Motiverne er baseret på en samling breve, skrevet i 1950´erne af Susanne Nielsens mor, i hvilke hun fortæller detaljeret om landhusmoderens arbejde. De broderede uddrag af brevene handler om nytårsfejring, høst, roelugning, storvask, etablering af frysehus, desuden har hun delt et par småkageopskrifter. Foruden de broderede håndklæder rummer udstillingen familier billeder trykt også på hørhåndklæder og en brevsamling (i montre)

På det personlige plan er værkerne Susanne Nielsens bearbejdning af tabet af hendes forældre, og en måde hvorpå hun har fundet ro i at være blevet førtidspensioneret med gigt og derfor ude af stand til at væve. På den større klinge er udstillingen, som hænger i Hørvævsmuseets cafe, et glimrende afsæt for samtale mellem de besøgende, mens de med velbehag indtager cafeens bagværk. En samtale som, da jeg var på besøg, handlede om de sidste overlevende i landsbyen – ”vi var fem som er over 90 sankthansaften”, hørte jeg en kvide sige til en anden – jeg stjal mig til at se på hende, hun var lysende smuk og meget livskraftig.
Ved et andet bord var der en samtale mellem elev og mester, ”det var dig som lærte mig at være omhyggelig”, hørte jeg en kvinde på min alder sige til en som var betragtelig ældre, det handlede om håndarbejde forstås.

Susanne Nielsens fortællinger handler om en landbokultur, som ikke er mere – om den gang hvor gårdene så ud som det romantiske billede mange, også nu, forsøger at male op, for at glemme den ubehagelige kendsgerning, at hovedparten af det danske landbrug i dag er drevet som fabrikker.

Ikke at udstillingen romantiserer, det gør den ikke, den tager ikke stilling.

Jeg kunne godt, nogen vil nok kalde mig romatiker, drømme om at vi i bestræbelserne på at komme fremad ser os lidt tilbage, tilbage på regelmæssighed, grundighed og langsommelighed

Related stories

IT’S GOING TO BE A WUNDERKAMMER

He shares the Wunderkammer, or chamber of curiosities,...

3days why?

The climate crisis and the resulting challenges with...

PHOTOS YOU DIDN’T SEE

When I visited cabinetmakers Sophie and Frederik Roth...

LOCALLY MADE

In case I had forgotten, I was reminded...

PROCESS

‘So you think that what I do is...

This website uses cookies

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided to them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services.