Claudia Pétursson will share the remarkable story of the Njal’s Saga Tapestry project in the first INLUS webinar of 2024, on Wednesday, January 10. Her presentation will take the viewer through the creative process and include a glimpse into the future of this amazing effort.
Hvolsvöllur, Iceland, is a small town 85 miles outside of Reykjavík. About a decade ago, two avid fiber artists, Gunnhildur Edda Kristjánsdóttir and Christina M. Bengtsson, thought about ways their small community could do something really big to bring additional interest to the region.
They explored how they might create a fiber project on the scale of the Bayeux tapestry. That tapestry was made nearly one thousand years ago to celebrate the Norman Conquest of England. It has been hailed as one of the great works of art from that age. While their dream might seem extraordinary for a small rural community to tackle, the two fiber artists had one major advantage.
Hvolsvöllur just happened to be “ground zero” for one of the most famous sagas ever written: Njal’s Saga. They formed the Njal’s Saga Tapestry Embroiderers (Njálurefill SES) and developed a plan to make a tapestry that would visualize the saga.
Their idea caught on in the community. Graphic artist Kristín Ragna Gunnarsdóttir was chosen to design the tapestry. She created images drawn from all chapters of the saga. The designs were transferred to Swedish linen. The project was massive and took nearly one hundred yards of linen to complete.
The first stitch was made in 2013, with the goal of finishing the tapestry within an ambitious ten-year time frame. The effort would rely on volunteers to embroider all the images of the story. As word got out about the community project, people from across the globe came to Iceland to take part.
Tapestry enthusiast Claudia Pétursson said people would fly to Iceland, head to Hvolsvöllur, work several hours on the tapestry, then return to the airport to fly back to their corner of the world.
Claudia Pétursson will present the story of this remarkable work of art via Zoom at 8:00 PM Eastern/ 7:00 PM Central/ 6:00 PM Mountain/ 5:00 PM Pacific on January 10, 2024.