It's a given that artists hold some form of attachment to each work they create.
For Karin Vengshoel, that level of emotional connection to one of her pieces in particular is readily apparent.
Tomorrow (Thursday), the Coquitlam native will roll out, for the first time, a traditional Norwegian tapestry that spans three generations of her family.
Started by her late grand-father Arne, the tapestry depicts some traditional characters central to Norse mythology - bears, rabbits and fairies - and will be included in the PoCo-based show, Generasjoner/ Generations:
A Multigenerational Retrospective of Works by Arne, Peter and Karin Vengshoel.
"I inherited that rug in 2007, three years after my grandfather passed away, and I've been working to complete it ever since," said Karin, who finished the piece on Sunday night.
"I get a little bit choked up about that one. Finishing it was a feeling unlike anything I've felt before."
The unnamed work was intended to be a present to Karin's father, Peter, though Arne died in 2004 before its completion. Since then, Karin has devoted more time to that one piece than any other - close to 100 hours - and took courses in spinning and hand-dying wool to complete the job.
"Finishing it was a little bittersweet," she said. "It was incredibly intimidating to work on something with so much meaning tied to it."
Generasjoner/Generations, which will be displayed at PoCo's Leigh Square Community Arts Village, celebrates the artistic output of all three members of the Vengshoel family: Karin, Peter and Arne. The exhibit centres around Norse mythology and traditional Norwegian concepts, while the artistic mediums include paintings, carvings, tapestries and rugs.
A master carver, cabinet maker, painter and traditional Norwegian rug weaver, Arne had a voracious artistic appetite.
When the family came to Canada in 1957, there were few waking moments in Arne's life where art - or at least some form of creation - wasn't top of mind, according to his 67-yearold son, Peter.
"He was always doing artistic things," Peter said. "He was an amazing guy. He never watched TV. He was just a workaholic all of his life. When he came [to Canada], he would always be working on artistic things in the evening."
Like Arne, Karin caught the art bug early in life. The same can't necessarily be said for Peter, however, who took up art - specifically wood turning - after his retirement about 10 years ago.
"I tried some artistic things at an early age even when I was still in Norway, but my dad is a hard person to live up to," said Peter, who makes his carvings out of the woodworking shop at Coquitlam's Glen Pine Pavilion.
"I had this feeling that it was pretty tough to live up to the expectations."
Woven into the exhibit are stories and allusions to figures, people and stories found in Norse mythology.
Askeladden, which translates roughly into "the Ash Lad," is a central figure in many Norse tales. He is heralded for his smarts, intuitiveness and heroism. Yggdrasil, on the other hand, is a massive tree that's seen as a link between different worlds and gods, while Odin - considered to be the god of gods in Norse mythology - is also referenced.
Karin also has a series of paintings in the show depicting Freyja, the goddess of love, war and fertility, set against the backdrop of the Northern Lights. It's believed in Norse mythology that the Aurora Borealis lit up the night sky as Freyja and other warriors rode off towards battle.
"Norwegian culture is something that I've made a point of studying and looking for in my adult life," said Karin, 31.
"After Arne passed away, that solidified, for me, the sense of family. I'm trying to learn more about my cultural heritage."
Generasjoner/Generations: A Multigenerational Retrospective of Works by Arne, Peter and Karin Vengshoel runs until Feb. 18 at Leigh Square. An opening reception is slated from 6: 30 to 8: 30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 17. For more info, see http: // vengshoel.com/wordpress.