“Autumn Leaves with a Touch of Snow” Rug in Rya Technique © 2016 Virginia Wekseth “Autumn Leaves with a Touch of Snow” Rug in Rya Technique © 2016 Virginia Wekseth

Gold Medal In: Weaving, 2016

  • Life Dates Born 1933, La Crosse, Wisconsin. Died 2022.
  • Occupation Retired from Collection Department at Lutheran Hospital and former Bank Officer
  • Residence at Time of Award Onalaska, Wisconsin


  • 2006 White ribbon for “Shawl Gone Bad” table runner in overshot weave technique
  • 2007 White ribbon for “Norwegian Joy” wall hanging in double krokbragd technique
  • 2010 White ribbon for a table runner and candle band in double-point krokbragd technique
  • 2012 Red ribbon for “Black and Red or Red and Black?” table runner in skillbragd technique
  • 2015 White ribbon for “Whimsy” wall hanging or throw in boundweave technique
  • 2016 Red ribbon for “Autumn Leaves with a Touch of Snow” rug in rya technique

Artist Statement

When I was a young girl, my mother, who was a craftsperson, taught me to knit. When my husband and I were expecting our first child and he was stationed in Greenland, Mom taught me how to braid rugs, resulting in a 8-x-10-inch wool rug that lasted 25 years. I did some dabbling in rosemaling, Hardanger embroidery, and woodcarving, but settled on knitting Norwegian sweaters. Then one day I passed a yard sale and spotted a rigid heddle (loom). I liked the thought of weaving, so I also purchased a rug loom and a homemade four-harness floor loom that a man had made for his wife. He thought she should weave; she had other thoughts. This started my loom collection. After reading a book, I taught myself to weave.

Then the BIGGEST thing—I found Vesterheim’s Folk Art School. I took my first class from a Norwegian teacher and I was hooked! This was also my first visit to Nordic Fest where I saw all the colorful weavings. I knew then that this is what I wanted to do. I have taken a class almost every year since. There is nothing like a week in Decorah learning to do something you love and meeting people who share your love. I have entered many items in the National Exhibition and looked forward to the judges’s comments. I feel honored to have won a Gold Medal and to be in the company of such talented weavers. I have to thank Vesterheim for giving me the opportunity to learn from the wonderful teachers they find. Without this I would not have the joy of weaving in the Norwegian tradition. If you can’t go to Norway, go to Vesterheim!