Women’s Weekend Out Events at Vesterheim Museum

Photo courtesy Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.

Laurie Jacobi presents a trunk show of her collection of textiles on April 17-18 in Decorah, Iowa. Photo courtesy Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum.

DECORAH, Iowa — Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum will host several activities during Decorah’s Women’s Weekend Out, Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18. There will be a trunk show of the Laurie Jacobi Collection of textiles from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, and the artist Laurie Jacobi will be on hand to present her work and answer questions. Also, Winneshiek Wildberry Winery will offer free wine tasting on Saturday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., and all Women’s Weekend Out attendees with a wristband will receive free museum admission both days.

Vesterheim’s sponsorship of Women’s Weekend Out is made possible by Peg Beatty, Brenda Carlson, Mary Jo Finholt, Kris Kratz, Linda Quaas, Les Sand, Elea Uhl, and Joann Voltmer, all from Decorah.

Jacobi is a storyteller in wool, and her unique blanket and rug designs are inspired by legends in nature. Her collection of blanket designs include: “Viking,” “Scandinavian Country,” “Spirits of the Forest,” “Plains Indian,” and “Woodland Indian.” Jacobi’s new line, which she designed for Japan House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, features Ginkgo leaves on coats and blankets. Jacobi’s designs are made into wool blankets at the Pendleton Woolen Mills in Pendleton, Oregon.

The clothing in the collection is a collaboration between textile designer Laurie Jacobi and clothing designer Mary Jane Miller. Miller, who is a seamstress, turns the blankets into clothing—coats, jackets, vests, and skirts. The special fabric, designed exclusively for the Jacobi line, is also used for accessories, including mittens and totes.

Jacobi and Miller have been working together for two decades. Jacobi moved to Northern Minnesota in 1989 to recover from the stress of business life in Minneapolis, which she believes contributed to a diagnosis of cancer. She credits reconnecting with nature for helping her heal. She began designing blankets for the Faribault Woolen Mills in 1992, and her work soon attracted attention. Robert Redford bought some of her blankets for cast members of his film, “The Horse Whisperer.” Her collection has been featured at the American Swedish Institute, Ingebretsen’s, and Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, and at festivals all over Minnesota.

Vesterheim uses the story of Norwegian Americans to explore aspects of identity and culture common to everyone. The museum cares for over 24,000 artifacts, among which are some of the most outstanding examples of decorative and folk art to be seen in this country. Founded in 1877, Vesterheim is the oldest and most comprehensive museum in the United States dedicated to a single immigrant group. This national treasure includes a main complex of 16 historic buildings in downtown Decorah, and an immigrant farmstead and prairie church just outside the city.

From May 1 – Oct. 31, Vesterheim is open daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., with hours extended until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays.  From Nov. 1 – April 30, Vesterheim is open Tuesday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., with hours extended until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays and is closed Monday.  For more information on the museum’s exhibits, activities, and membership opportunities, consult Vesterheim’s website at vesterheim.org, call (563) 382-9681, or write to Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum, 523 W. Water St., P.O. Box 379, Decorah, IA, 52101-0379.

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