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Introducing Caroline Feyling

From starting her own weaving business to joining the Artisan Development Program, Resident Artisan Caroline Feyling writes about the craft journey that brought her from Oregon to Grand Marais sight unseen. 

Posted on October 9, 2023
by Caroline Feyling

I was born in Upstate New York to a Norwegian father and an American mother. Hints of Nordic craft were all around my childhood home. However, my first real craft memories are of the colorwork sweaters that my grandmother would knit on our couch when she visited from Norway.

Following high school, I took a gap year in Norway to study classical piano. During my time in Norway, I fully immersed myself in Norwegian knitting culture and ended my gap year with 13 pairs of hand-knit socks. After a false start at engineering school, I decided to pursue my passion for textiles at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago where I received my BFA in Fiber and Material Studies. My attention turned towards folk art my senior year when I was beginning to plan my thesis piece. I wanted to create a work that reflected my Norwegian heritage and decided to design and construct my own folk costume. My favorite part of that project was all the patterned bands I wove to adorn my bodice.

Following my graduation I spent eight weeks of intensive study at Vävstuga Weaving School in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts. It was there that I truly fell in love with weaving. Every day was a new technique with new challenges. I was hooked! The more fiddly and complicated a technique was, the more it caught my interest. Upon completion of my weaving intensive, I embarked on creating my own weaving business, Elderberry Textiles.

In the evenings and weekends, I worked on product development, social media, and everything else that goes into starting a business. I learned a lot from all the product launches and markets I did, but I felt that I was no longer in a position to explore my creativity. Between working my day job and preparing for my next market, there was no time left for artistic inquiry. My need to return to a place of exploration and experimentation led me to apply to the Artisan Development Program at North House.

The prospect of time to connect with my own weaving practice as well as the community at North House far outweighs the fear of moving from Oregon to Grand Marias sight unseen. During my time here I plan on exploring heavily patterned Norwegian and Swedish weave structures, such as skillbragd and damask. I would also like to push myself to weave with much finer yarn than I have in the past. I am excited to sharpen my technical skills while immersing myself in the deeply creative community at North House. I look forward to all the friendships and collaborations to come!

I will be sharing my craft journey through future blog posts and on my Instagram, @carolinefeyling.