- Occupation Tapestry Weaver and Fiber Artist
- Residence at Time of Award Eugene, Oregon
Gold Medal In: Weaving, 2014
- 2010 Blue ribbon for “Sunrise, Sunset” wall hanging in krokbragd technique
- 2011 Blue ribbon for “Camino Agua, Water Road” wall hanging in krokbragd tecnhique
- 2014 Blue ribbon for “Inner Lights” wall hanging in krokbragd technique
Judy is a tapestry weaver with a special interest in Norwegian textiles and Diné(Navajo) weaving. She teaches spinning, weaving, and fiber dyeing. She’s a retired bookseller and advertising/marketing professional.
She developed a fusion between krokbragd and tapestry that offered a three-layer design option that is frequent in her work. The high point of her schooling at the University of Oregon was accompanying her teacher Barbara Setsu Pickett to Foundation Lisio in Florence, Italy, for a summer study abroad in Jacquard weaving.
At seven, she spent a school year in Tucson, Arizona, and was introduced to Navajo rugs. The primary colors and startling geometric patterns moved her and she was determined that someday she would also weave beauty and harmony into the world. To answer that dream, Judy had the opportunity to study with traditional Dinéweaver, Sarah Natani.
Judy says, “My mother, Inger Ness, was my first teacher. She would encourage me to make the things that I asked for, instilling a confidence in my ability to create and a sense of self-sufficiency and accomplishment.” Many residents of her hometown of Lake Mills, Iowa, were active in knitting and other fiber-related activities. Her father John O. Ness retired and took up Norwegian chip carving as a hobby like his uncles before him.
She reports Norwegian textiles are an exploration of her Norwegian heritage. She visited Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum during Nordic Fests with her parents, and became fascinated by the beautiful functionality of the historic items on display. It dawned on her that she had a tribe and she set out to discover what that meant. Weaving was the medium.
Iowa State University holds her tapestry diptych “Grace Notes” in their collection. Vesterheim has several pieces of work in the krokbragd-tapestry technique that are available for viewing.