Berit Engen

Berit Engen began weaving as a child in Norway, and now practices this ancient craft of entwining woof (grey, horizontal threads) with warp (colored, vertical threads) in the centuries-old tradition of expounding on Jewish texts (in Hebrew, drash). She finds inspiration for her work in the richness and diversity of the Jewish experience: from the laws of the Torah to modern poetry, from the chanting of ancient prayers to the satire of Yiddish curses, from the ethical wisdom of the Prophets to black lace adorning Sephardic women.

She compares her linen-yarn tapestries to Japanese Haiku: formally constrained by a miniature size, imagistic, and focused, yet allusive. Her on-going, now ten years old, project "Woof and Drash – Weaving the Jewish Experience" consists of about 475 pieces. Her work has been shown in a solo exhibition at the Spertus Institute in Chicago (2012-2013), and in the MJAL group exhibit “Voices of Wisdom” at the Spertus Institute (2016 – 2017). It is part of the permanent collection of the Chicago History Museum and has been featured in Lilith magazine. When she immigrated to the United States in 1985 she was represented by the Ruth Volid Gallery in Chicago.