Mercants J.A. Køhler & Co.
J.A. Køhler started trading in Hillevåg in the late 1700's. Flour mills, baking, chandlery and dying where the initial interests. Later shipbuilding, fishing and shipping were added to the list. Young Frida, heir to the Køhler fortune, married Wilhelm Hansen, a businessman who was easily the wealthiest man in Stavanger. But 1870 was an ominous year, the herring harvest failed, shipping went into recession. In 1883 the Køhler empire went resoundingly bust, with total liabilities equal to three national budgets. It was enough to spark a servere depression in Stavanger.
Frida early took an interest in Old Norwegian weaving traditions. While running a needlepoint supply business in Stavanger, she took a course in weaving in Sogn in 1889. She learned natural dying techniques from local farmers wifes in Jæren. She had already learned to draw and paint from such notables as Kitty Kielland and Johan Bennetter, the marine painter. In the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900, Frida won a sensational Gold Medal. Museums all over Europe commisioned her carpets and screens, wich can now be seen in major cities in Europe and America. Frida's passion was the traditional, upright Opstad loom, which she first encountered in 1889. Just one year later she presented the first small nimber of large, woven tapestries at an exhibition in Kristiania (now Oslo). She also expended much effort and imagination to enchance the traditional techniques, culminating in her Transperencies, using a technique that she patented. Transperencies featured decorative oles where light passed trough. When lit form behind, silhouettes would appear, creating new paterns in the bare threads.
Ragnhild Jacobsen was born and lived in Stavanger. For more than 50 years she weaved and chrocheted mainly religious motives, wich are now found in many Norwegian institutions and especially Stavanger Museum. Typically double-weave tapestries use two threads and two colours, but Ragnhild Jacobsen expanded this, sometimes to five colours to be spread troughout the picture. Her needle lace work started as a drawing transferred onto linen, which was then sewn outline. Delicate stitching fastened the outline to the base.