Studying Early Oregon Weaver, Margaret Johansen at DFAS

Reported by Patricia Bugas-Schramm 

DFAS hosted two one-day overviews of Margaret Johansen’s weaving February 25-26, 2023. An overview of Johansen’s work was presented by her daughter, Katia Johansen, a retired conservator of the Danish Royal textile collections. Several tapestry and hundreds of floor loom samples woven from the mid-1950s to early 2000s were shown to about 35 Portland metro area and Salem weavers.

photo of woman warping floor loom
Margaret Kilbuck Johansen Warping Floor Loom, Circa 1970. Used with Permission.

After studying at Reed College, Johansen trained in lithographic printmaking in Oregon, where she said she “learned to see.” Weaving in the mid-1950s and 1960s, her textural tapestries were considered at the forefront of the Fiber Arts Movement in America. A self-taught weaver, Johansen was an avid gardener and dyed many yarns using natural dyes. Johansen was one of the first Americans invited to the Lausanne Biennale Exhibit of Tapestry in 1965 and again in 1967. She taught art and design in Pennsylvania and Oregon and was named Artist of the Year in Pittsburgh in 1971. Johansen died in 2004 at the age of 81.

In conjunction with the 2023 ANWG Conference, the tapestries of Margaret Kilbuck Johansen will be on exhibit for viewing and some sales at the Central Oregon Community College Barber Library from June 5-July 31, 2023, during open hours at the library at 2600 NW College Way, Bend, OR. The ANWG Conference itself is from June 11-18, 2023, at the Riverhouse Convention Center in Bend.