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Nov 20, 2022
1:00 PM to 2:00 PM
Woven: Traditional Swedish Hair Jewelry
Museum of International Folk Art

As a child, Karen was interested in her mother’s hair brooch from Våmhus, Sweden. Years later, with many needlework projects under her belt, Karen read about the tradition of Swedish women entrepreneurs in the 1800s who traveled from their homes in Sweden to major European urban areas to make hair jewelry for others. At the time, Karen was unaware of where this growing curiosity in hairwork would lead. Then, in 2018, supported by a Reviving Folk Arts in the Midwest Fellowship through the American Scandinavian Foundation, Karen traveled to Våmhus, home of her ancestors. There she learned how to make table-made hair jewelry from Joanna Svensson, a master hairworker. In October 2019, the Nordic Center in Duluth, MN featured a hair jewelry exhibition curated by Karen. She began teaching hair jewelry making, first at the Nordic Center and then at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN. Karen continues to offer classes a North House Folk School and is working with curators at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN, in preparation for teaching a bracelet course there in January 2023. Stilll fascinated with traditional and contemporary hairwork, Karen appreciates her husband’s support by making hairwork tables and weights and is eager to share what she knows with others.

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