BiographySyvilla Bolson was born on August 8, 1928, on a farm near Joice, Iowa. After graduating from Luther College with a degree in religion and elementary education in 1949, she took some graduate courses at the University of Iowa. She also completed coursework offered by the Keystone Education Agency. She studied with several well-known fiber artists at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, IA and traveled to Norway to observe and study weaving techniques from professional weavers.
Bolson taught public school in Forest City, IA, and was associated with the PAVE program (Program Alternatives in Vocational Education), a cooperative project by the Keystone AEA and Northeast Iowa Technical Institute (now Northeast Iowa Community College). As a Decorah resident, Bolson served as a substitute teacher in the Decorah Community Schools from 1961-1992. She also volunteered in the primary art program, offering workshops and demonstrating weaving. She served in various capacities within the American Association of University Women, Decorah branch. In 1978, she was the recipient of a “Named Gift” award from AAUW. She worked with the Decorah Arts Council and the Decorah Community Concert Association.
Bolson began spinning and weaving in 1973. She learned the craft originally from her father who created wheel rugs. During her career, Bolson accepted numerous commissions for her weavings from businesses, educational institutions, and churches. She founded Tweeds and Fleece, a mail-order business for her fiber art. Her weaving studio housed four looms, two Swedish and two American-made. She used primarily Norwegian Raumagarn and Røros-Tweed, special yarns imported from Norway. Her designs were inspired by Scandinavian folk art, especially Norwegian folk art. Bolson exhibited in several invitational solo shows and received awards for her weaving at Decorah, IA’s Nordic Fest and from area organizations. Bolson died September 27, 2011.
Source of BiographyCollege Chips. 106:20 (April 27, 1989); College Chips. 113:20 (April 25, 1996); "New Weavers Use Old Techniques," The Folk Life of the Upper Midwest. 3:1 (Spring 1987)