- Life Dates Born 1941, Belview, Minnesota
- Occupation Homemaker/retired elementary school teacher
- Residence at Time of Award Decorah, Iowa
Julie Gryting Brende
Gold Medal In: Weaving, 1985
- 1982 White ribbon for a runner in Vestfold technique
- 1984 Blue ribbon for a blue and white runner
- 1984 White ribbon for a three-piece set of altar cloths
- 1984 White ribbon for a runner in Vestfold technique
- 1985 Red ribbon for a single-point krokbragd wall hanging
Being of Norwegian descent and having a mother who was very skilled in many textile techniques, especially Norwegian knitting, it was natural that I would be drawn to Norwegian folk art. My love of beauty and art began as a very young child when my mother taught me to knit and gave me a garden plot, where I planted flower seeds.
I graduated from Luther College with a B.A. in music, got married, had three children, and took several weaving classes in Milwaukee and Topeka, Kansas, before moving to Decorah. It was there that I learned about weaving in the Norwegian tradition. The Vestfold technique I learned from Lila Nelson, who, at that time, was Curator of Textiles at Vesterheim, and from Norwegians Marit Anne Tvenge (aakleand picture weaving) and Elsa Bjork (double weave). I credit Lila Nelson and Vesterheim for nurturing my development as a weaver.
I was awarded the Gold Medal in Weaving by Vesterheim in 1985 and the Handweaver’s Guild of America Award in 1984. Two of my weavings traveled to Hamar, Norway, with a Vesterheim folk-art exhibit. My weavings are also pictured in two books—Traveler’s Guide to American Crafts by Suzanne Carmichael and Crafts of America by Constance Stapleton. Pictures of my weavings were used in a presentation by Constance Stapleton at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
I am inspired by beautiful music, nature, and visiting art museums and botanical gardens. I spend much of my time teaching grandchildren weaving, knitting, quilting, cloth-doll making, and gardening. I also plant and tend a large flower garden on city property. Weaving brings me much joy and if I live to be 105, I intend to spend as much of that time as possible weaving up all the yarn in the 30 boxes I have stored in closet.