Natalie Olsen  Custom Weavings

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While living in Europe in the late ‘60s, I was fascinated by the fine-threaded damask linens woven by my husband Earl’s Norwegian aunt. I also loved the free, three-dimensional fiber pieces his Finnish cousin created, especially the “forest” woven for a Paris ballet. As soon as we moved back to the States in 1972, I took my first weaving lesson, bought a loom, and I’ve been hooked ever since. 

The next year two of my tapestries were shown in a San Francisco gallery, part of a juried show by Contemporary Fiber Artists of Northern California. Shortly after that I had pieces in an exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Modern Art. My first tapestries were textured, manipulated-warp pieces, all organic and influenced by the outdoors. 

In 1982 Earl and I settled in the Northwest, where I’ve woven commissioned tapestries for homes and offices, have shown my work in galleries and museums, and taught Fiber Arts for Kids classes in the Seattle area. 

Although I enjoy making functional pieces like scarves and baby blankets, I prefer weaving tapestries, breaking all the rules – weaving curves instead of flat lines, having my pieces ripple and open instead of lying flat, and weaving odd shapes in place of rectangles. As weaving trends today move to finer threads and intricate, computer-generated designs, I find myself going back to organic, three-dimensional weaving, picking up themes from nature. Madrone trees, seedpods and lichens are themes I keep returning to, and apple greens keep popping up in my work. I like to weave the colors and textures that my eyes and feet know here in the Northwest. 

I combine yarn (both natural and synthetic) with metal, paper, silk fusion, acrylics, fabric and dried plants. 

My husband is an award-winning photographer (check out his website at We work from our home studios on Whidbey Island.