Hannah Ryggen - Woven Histories

This week I finally had the chance to catch the Hannah Ryggen exhibition at Modern Art Oxford before it closed. I'd heard about the exhibition on Woman's Hour a few months ago - I hadn't heard of her before then but was very interested after that. Born in Sweden but living in Norway, she created tapestries from the 1940s onwards with a strong left-wing political message.

She taught herself to spin yarn from sheep on her farm, grow and use natural dyes to colour the yarn, and built the tapestries with no predetermined plan or pattern! I knew I was going to love this exhibition but seeing them all in the flesh completely floored me, they were all stunning. I particularly loved the combination of organic forms with strong geometric shapes. 

The tapestries are massive - my photos are mostly of zoomed in sections to isolate particularly interesting sections of pattern, or motifs that I found interesting. For the first time in a while I actually sketched at the gallery as it was fairly quiet, and really enjoyed isolating little motifs and patterns within the work. I'm looking forward to using these as a starting point for developing stitch patterns.

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