Lots of fun surrounding textiles exhibition at ASHM

Embroidered agedyna (bench cushion), undated, with polychrome segmented medallions, hearts, crosses and floral motifs. Collection of Wendel and Diane Swan. Contributed photo

With spring on the horizon, the American Swedish Historical Museum in FDR Park has a calendar full of fun creative events involving textiles.

The exhibition “Swedish Folk Weavings for Marriage, Carriage and Home 1750-1840” will be unveiled to the general public on March 15, highlighting the rural Swedish countryside of the 18th and 19th centuries. 

Real and mythical creatures, geometric patterns and floral motifs of all kinds are weaved into rare and artful cushions and bed covers, stitched by skillful women for their households.

According to the museum, most of the textiles featured in the exhibition were created by women living on farms in southern Sweden where skill in weaving and textile production was considered an important resource. Although farming life changed and the tradition of textiles declined, the cushions and pillows became “Sunday Culture,” appearing only Sundays and special occasions. 

The exhibition will be on display through Sept. 22 and admission is included with general tickets to the American Swedish Historical Museum. A preview night will take place on March 14 from 5-8 p.m., which includes a free sneak preview of the exhibition with light refreshments served. RSVP online at https://www.americanswedish.org/events/exhibition-preview-swedish-folk-weavings-marriage-carriage-and-home-1750-1840.

Coinciding with the exhibition are multiple events, including a free virtual lecture Early Swedish Folk Weavings on May 1 by Wendel Swan at 1 p.m. Swan, who has loaned more than 50 textiles for this unprecedented exhibition, will discuss the historical background of Scandinavian weavings since the Viking era and, with profuse illustrations, the enormous diversity of Swedish textiles in design elements, colors and weaving techniques that are astonishing for an area as small as Scania. Online registration required.

On May 16, the museum will host Craft Night Out Flower Arranging from 7-9 p.m. Kristen Pickell of Pickells and Posies will lead a guided class on how to make floral arrangements pop. The event includes a guided tour of our Swedish Folk Weavings exhibition for floral inspiration, a vase and all materials, and a Scandinavian dessert charcuterie board. Register online.

On July 14, the Free Craft Fair & Textile Family Day arrives from noon to 4 p.m. Inspired by the textiles of the new Swedish Folk Weavings exhibition, vendors will demonstrate and sell their handcrafts of all kinds. Try out different textile crafts like cross-stitch and weaving through fun activities in the galleries.

The fun continues on July 21 with the Embroidery Workshop from noon to 4 p.m.The workshop will teach you everything you need to know to start embroidering yourself. In this workshop you will create your own embroidery project inspired by the new exhibition and ASHM collections, guided by ASHM embroidery expert Olivia Henley. For more information and to register for events, visit americanswedish.org.