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From the Archives: Hilma Berglund’s annual Christmas Cards

2018-12-04T13:23:02+00:00 December 4th, 2018|Archives, Blast From the Past, committee update, News|

We have twenty two Christmas cards created by Hilma Berglund in our Guild Archive collection. They can be viewed at the Minnesota Reflections website under a search for Hilma Berglund Christmas cards.

Hilma Berglund (1886 -1972) was born in Stillwater, Minnesota, to Swedish immigrant parents. As a child she suffered from debilitating headaches and the family was advised to take her out of school and “let her chase rabbits and climb trees.” Fortunately, during Hilma’s youth, the handcraft movement was thriving and she found many venues to develop her creative gifts. Early on, she attended private classes in embroidery, china painting and photography and later courses in crafts and fine arts at the St. Paul Institute of Art, the St. Paul YWCA and the Handicraft Guild in Minneapolis, where she often taught as well. When the University of Minnesota invited the director of the Handicraft Guild to start the Art Education program on campus, Hilma followed and began work towards a Bachelor’s degree. Parallel with her university classes she attended night classes to satisfy her high school diploma requirements, but when the former was realized she abandoned the latter. Soon she was hired as an instructor. The curriculum included printmaking, design, one course listed as “Textures”, and weaving. Hilma continued her artistic pursuits, enrolling in silkscreen and weaving classes at Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. She contributed illustrations for the University of Minnesota Press publications and soon pursued a Masters degree. As the result of over-enrollment for weaving classes due to the high demand by occupational therapy students, she invented a versatile loom that could accommodate the weaving projects of many students. It had exchangeable parts that fit into one frame. In an article in the Christian Science Monitor about her Minnesota Loom she says: “I saw a need and I tried to fill it” and “One lifetime isn’t long enough to do all the things I’d like to do.”

Hilma made many friendships throughout her lifetime and for 65 years she created Christmas cards with imagery and script that often referred to special events of the past year, the World Wars, space explorations and historical anniversaries – such as the Minnesota Centennial – as well as her travels. Personal touches such as the “from my window…” card of 1943, certainly familiar to her family and friends, looks west across the Mississippi to the Minneapolis skyline. She sees the beauty of her vista and muses over the devastation in the war zones abroad. Optimism tempered with realism seems to be the tone of her messages, but always a wish for happiness and good will in the coming new year.

–from the WGM Archives Committee, December 2018