History to Handcraft - A Talk about the Busserull Workshirt in Norway and America with Carol Colburn

  • Friday, January 18, 2019
  • 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
  • BARN Great Room, Class Code FI011819CC
  • 94


To register and pay off-line, please call the registrar at (206) 842-4475 x216 or come into BARN.

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Calling all Scandinavians, Scandinavia lovers, and fiber fans!

Come learn about the history and cultural heritage of the Busserul in a talk by Carol Colburn.   Not only will it be a enthralling talk, but we will have Norwegian baked goods to nibble on.These heritage work shirts are designed for outdoor life and festive occasions. These shirts were part of the rural heritage of Norway. Similar work shirts were used throughout Scandinavia, and among immigrants to North America. Today they make an ideal comfortable shirt for men, women and children.

The oldest busserull shirts survive as examples in museums and as scraps of handwoven fabrics. We can see these garments as representative of late eighteenth and early nineteenth century handsewing and

 handweaving practices.  Historical photographs from the mid-nineteenth century and forward add context. In them we see farmers, foresters, fishermen and factory workers wearing a busserull. The shirts provided protection for hard work; and then when needed the shirts were carefully darned and patched to extend their useful life. Cut and detailing varied according to how the shirts were to be used, in latter years more often for folk dance, or festivals.

Through these sources we learn that a variety of fibers, weave structures, and colors were used. We also find the popular and iconic blue and red shirts that reflect the colors of the Norwegian flag.

With the growing interest in making and wearing practical shirts we can use this background information in the classroom to meld our individual ideas with tradition. Learning the techniques for sewing a classic work shirt aligns with the ‘slow fashion/clothing movement’ where time invested in the craft of sewing results in garments that are made to last – perhaps a lifetime.

Skill Level: Universal.

People of all ages are welcome.

Carol Colburn, Duluth Minnesota, teaches garment making workshops that incorporate Scandinavian textile traditions along with contemporary craft. Through her travels, she has found inspiration in everyday as well as the festive clothing traditions throughout Scandinavia, with a focus on Norway. Her publications discuss the design, techniques, and meanings behind Scandinavian folk clothing, and in her teaching she seeks to bring new life to time tested design.

She taught historical clothing classes, pattern making, and sewing in universities before she began teaching focused heritage workshops in settings such as Vesaas Farm Studio in Telemark, Norway, Vesterheim Museum in Decorah, Iowa, North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota, John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, and in other craft and cultural settings. Students in her sewing workshops are introduced to an appreciation of traditional techniques while creating contemporary garments with custom fit and including individual detail, teaches workshops merging traditional Scandinavian textile traditions with contemporary sewing craft.

After a career teaching costume history, theatrical design and pattern making in universities, she now enjoys teaching custom garment making from her home in Duluth, Minnesota, and in fiber arts guilds and craft schools such as North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota and John C. Campbell in Brasstown, North Carolina. Students in her sewing workshops are introduced to an appreciation of traditional techniques while creating contemporary custom garments. https://www.carolcolburn.net

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