Red Wing man's work remains cutting edgeJohn Drewes won a white ribbon and claimed the People’s Choice Award for his a Viking seax shown in Decorah, Iowa, this summer.
John Drewes won a white ribbon and claimed the People’s Choice Award for his a Viking seax shown in Decorah, Iowa, this summer.
He carved the knife out of reindeer antler and buffalo horn for “National Exhibition of Folk Art in the Norwegian Tradition,” the Vesterheim’s major summer show. The awards were July 26- 28.
The exhibition also includes rosemaling, woodworking, and weaving. Vesterheim, which has some of the most outstanding examples of decorative and folk art to be seen in this country, established the rosemaling or Norwegian painting exhibition at the first Decorah Nordic Fest in 1967 and added the weaving, woodworking, and knifemaking in later years.
“Some of the best practitioners of these traditional Norwegian arts enter the exhibition, which attracts national attention,” said Laurann Gilbertson, Vesterheim’s Chief Curator, said. “This year’s exhibition included over 150 pieces.”
Each year, judges award blue, red and white ribbons representing points that accumulate over successive exhibitions toward a Vesterheim Gold Medal. Drewes has come home with several ribbons over the years.
Visitors also are invited to vote for their favorite pieces. The People’s Choice Award does not carry with it Gold Medal points, but it is an important indicator to artists of popular trends and tastes in traditional crafts, Gilbertson said.
“The handle is beautifully carved and finished,” a judge said of Drewes’ knife. Another said, “Very nice leather work - tooling and integration of forms. Shows considerable skill and talent."
The judges’ names are left anonymous for confidentiality reasons.
Vesterheim explores the diversity of American immigration through the lens of Norwegian-American experience, showcases the best in historic and contemporary Norwegian folk and fine arts, and preserves living traditions through exhibitions and educational experiences.
For more information check out Vesterheim online at vesterheim.org.