Today, we are continuing our look at the BHHA Collection by looking at one of our latest additions, the Bishop Hill Tapestry. This tapestry was designed by Swedish artist Åsa Bengtson, Stockholm, Sweden and woven by weaver, Lija Rage, Riga, Latvia. This tapestry is part of a series of nine tapestries telling the story of the immigration to USA. The artist has called the Bishop Hill tapestry a “Homage to Olof Krans”. At the center of the tapestry, conceived with religious symbols, is the Roman-numeral clock that adorns the town’s main building and symbolizes God’s eye. It is surrounded by a triangular composition alluding to the Holy Trinity. Above the dove is the route of the immigration. Many of Ms. Bengtson’s images are directly inspired by Kran’s original paintings. Krans is portrayed at the lower right corner of the triangle. To the right of Jansson’s signature is the first timber church in the form of a cross. At the bottom are soldiers leaving for the Civil War. Not all of them returned. The borders are weaving patterns and on the two short sides are also borders representing the broom making. A feature of festive life in Bishop Hill was the Bishop Hill Band Wagon carrying several instrumentalists. The Band Wagon is located at the upper left of the tapestry. In the background you can see the dugouts where the colonists lived the first winter.
The American Daughters of Sweden donated this tapestry to the Bishop Hill Heritage Association last October. The BHHA thanks the American Daughters of Sweden for their generosity.