tisdag 11 december 2012

Exhibition: Flower embroidery

Last week I had the opportunity to meet one of Alice Lund Textilier's first employees, Anna Hådell. She worked at the studio from 1936-1946 and she is today 104 years old. A very prominent age indeed... Anna has had a long career in the textile business, amongst other things at Leksands Hemslöjd. Right now there is an exhibition at Leksands Kulturhus with her embroideries that she made after her retirement in the 1970s. Lovely works of flowers and landscapes. Today Anna has put her own weaving and embroidery to the side but she is still interested in the field. It is a real treat to be able to take part in some of her extensive knowledge and experience. 
Anna Hådell Blomsterbroderi - i textilens tjänst, exhibition Leksand
Photo: Ingela Sannesjö, Leksands Lokalhistoriska arkiv

Anna Hådell Blomsterbroderi - i textilens tjänst, exhibition Leksand
Photo: Ingela Sannesjö, Leksands Lokalhistoriska arkiv

Anna Hådell Blomsterbroderi - i textilens tjänst, exhibition Leksand
Photo: Ingela Sannesjö, Leksands Lokalhistoriska arkiv

Anna Hådell Blomsterbroderi - i textilens tjänst, exhibition Leksand
Photo: Ingela Sannesjö, Leksands Lokalhistoriska arkiv

torsdag 22 november 2012

"Den tid jag behöver"

Last week I went to a fairly new museum in Stockholm, Sven-Harrys. They had an exhibition their about a textile artist Lisa Karlsson who I've never heard of before. The exhibition is called "Den tid jag behöver" ("The time I need") and she works mainly in patchwork. In the catalog there is a text by Anders Krüger comparing her work to writing;  

"Writing is stitching words together, hoping that the text as a whole will somehow mysteriously surpass its discrete parts, in grandeur as well as meaning. You can never be certain; there's an infinite supply to choose from. It's all about some kind of intuition, a knowing that certain words fit others better, yielding sentences of more pith."

It is a good reference for weaving as wellwhere the yarn is the words and letters and the grammar is the weaving technique. We often get the question of how long does it take to make a tapestry. The textile artist Annika Ekdahl answer to that is usually a comparison of the making of a monumental tapestry with writing a novel - who can say how long it takes to make a novel?

Utställning Lisa Karlsson "Den tid jag behöver", Sven-Harrys konstmuseum
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB
Utställning Lisa Karlsson "Den tid jag behöver", Sven-Harrys konstmuseum
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

Utställning Lisa Karlsson "Den tid jag behöver", Sven-Harrys konstmuseum
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

Utställning Lisa Karlsson "Den tid jag behöver", Sven-Harrys konstmuseum
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

Another interesting group of artists working in patchwork and quilt are the women of Gee's Bend. In Gee's Bend, a small community in Alabama, the women have for many generations made quilts in the most amazing colors and design. Their story derives from slavery and poverty in the American south. It is great to see that art and creativity survives and thrives even in the most discouraging environments. Here one can really detect the reference to writing, The pattern of the quilt seems at first random and unorganized. But at a second glance the story starts to stretch out in a rhythmic almost songlike way - the composing of a beautiful work of art as well as the writing of these women's destinies and lives. Somehow I think Sofia would be very inspired by these women and their textile art!

Quilt from Gee´s Bend
Photo: www.internationalfolkart.org

Annie E. Pettway, Flying Geese variation, ca. 1935;
cotton,
wool; 86 by 71 inches.
Photo: www.fiberarts.com
Jessie T. Pettway, Bars and string-pieced columns, 1950s;
cotton; 95 by 76 inches.

Photo: www.fiberarts.com

måndag 12 november 2012

Happy birthday Sofia!

It is Sofia Widén's birthday! Today she would have turned 112 years - she was born 1900. Sadly she passed away too young in 1961 at the age of 60. She was however very productive and it is said that her work is represented in over a thousand churches in Sweden. Even after her death her legacy lived on through Alice Lund who took over Sofia's studio and continued to create unique church textiles in her honor.

Textile artist Sofia Widén
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

Today a textile conservator visited the studio because she is working on a chasuble made by Alice Lund - Sofia Widén AB from 1962. The design is made by the textile artist Ingrid Fredriksson. In our archives we have most of the sketches as well as fabric and thread samples for all of the commissions made of church textiles - from 1952 to present day. She had brought the chasuble so I took the opportunity to photograph it (note this is before it is being renovated). The textile conservator needed a new linnen ribbon since the old one had been worn. Luckily I found a couple of meter's of a similar ribbon amongst our materials and it will replace the old one. I also found the original sketch and samples of all of the materials used which showed that some small things had been changed. With this new information she could restore the chasuble to its original condition. I hope Sofia sees that as a good gift on her birthday - that the church textiles she and her fellow textile artists made still are taken care of, 50 years later.

Chasuble (mässhake) by Alice Lund-Sofia Widén AB 1962
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

Chasuble (mässhake) by Alice Lund-Sofia Widén AB 1962
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB
Here is the original sketch I found in the archives.

Sketch for chasuble, Alice Lund-Sofia Widén AB 1962
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

fredag 2 november 2012

In the archives...

The blog has been a bit neglected these past days. I have started my research project about the textile artist Sofia Widén. Right now I am going through several binders of articles from the 1950s about her and her studio "Sofia Widén Textilier". An estimation is that it is about 600 pages filled with articles - so there is a lot to read. The texts vary a lot, from a short text about a new chasuble for a church made by Sofia Widén to a review of an exhibition in which her textiles is presented. Here is some examples;

The top articles shows newly designed chasubles for two churches in Sweden. The bottom talks of a damask cloth designed by Sofia Widén that has been sent to all of the Swedish embassies around the world.
Articles about Sofia Widén, 1956
Material belongs to Alice Lund Textilier's archive

This article, from 1959, is about an exhibition of Swedish design in Holland. The picture is of an appliqué piece by Sofia Widén.

Articles about Sofia Widén, 1959Material belongs to Alice Lund Textilier's archive

Here is one of the few pictures in colour, from 1960. The article doesn´t talk about the appliqué piece by Sofia Widén in the background, but instead the outfit that the women in front is wearing. Although I hadn´t seen the piece, which is called "Riddar Skrammel", before in colour so that was very interesting.

Articles about Sofia Widén, 1960
Material belongs to Alice Lund Textilier's archive
This is what "Riddar Skrammel" looks like in black and white.

Sofia Widén's "Riddar Skrammel", in appliqué technique
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

fredag 19 oktober 2012

Mini exhibition at the studio

Since we have a lot of beautiful textiles in the archive at Alice Lund Textilier it is fun to take some out once in a while and hang them up. So last week we made a mini exhibition at the studio with some different examples of the studio's work; a Sofia Widén appliqué piece, an Alice Lund drapery from 1960, a tapestry designed by Gösta Backlund and a sample weave of Helena Hernmarck's "Signals". "Signals" is the largest tapestry ALT has made for Helena (82 squaremeter!) - you can watch a short film about it here.

Alice Lund Textilier's studio
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

We also display some church textiles - a chasuble (mässhake) from the 1960's and four examples of collection bags (kollekthåv).

Alice Lund Textilier's studio
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

Here is one of my favorites; a piece of appliqué work by Sofia Widén called "Geo" from 1960. The printed fabric that it is made out of is also designed by Sofia and is called "Kastanj" (Chestnut). I am currently doing research about Sofia Widén's appliqué work which you can read a bit more about here. Last week I started a new research project about Sofia, so more about this on the blog during the fall.

Sofia Widén "Geo", 1960, at Alice Lund Textilier's studio
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

 A picture from the archives of "Geo".

Sofia Widén "Geo", 1960
Photo: Svensk Forms arkiv

onsdag 17 oktober 2012

ALT in the news

Sometimes I find hidden treasures when looking at Swedish television. Alice Lund Textilier has made interior textiles since the 1930s for different environments all over Sweden and the world. And on occasion some of these textiles make it on to the news. Here are two examples;

Olle Nyman is a famous Swedish artist who amongst many other things designed textile art. In the background of the interview below you can see a damask weave designed by Olle Nyman in the 1960s. It is called "Droppar" (dripps).

Skärmdump från kulturnyheterna 21/9 2012, SVT
Many of Olle Nymans textiles were woven at Alice Lund Textilier and today we still have a length of this fabric in the archives. The fabric was designed as a suggestion for a new curtain for the National theatre "Dramaten" in Stockholm in 1962, but it was never carried out. Where it ended up instead I am not sure.

Olle Nyman "Droppar" 1962
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB
 Another curtain I found recently on the news was at the ABF-house in Stockholm. The house was built in the early 1960s and of course Alice Lund got the commission to do the interior of textiles. Here one can see the large curtain in red and black on the left hand side.

Presskonferans med Scibbaye och Persson 14/9 2012
Skärmdump från SVT
Here are another picture of the room from ABF's homepage.

ABF huset på Sveavägen i Stockholm
Photo: www.abf.se
And here are some earlier pictures from Alice Lund Textilier's archives. One can see that they have changed the chairs over the years.

ABF huset 1960-tal, inredning av Alice Lund Textilier
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB
 Here is another part of the house.
Interior from the ABF house in Stockholm, 1960s.
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

onsdag 10 oktober 2012

Royal visit to ASI

This weekend the King and Queen of Sweden visited the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. Amongst other events, Helena Hernmarck presented her exhibition "In Our Nature" to the King and Queen at ASI. The picture shows the three of them in front of Helena's tapestry "Passing events".

Helena Hernmarck, The King and Queen of Sweden in front of Hernmarck's
tapestry "Passing events" at American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis
Photo: Jessica Gow/Scanpix

tisdag 2 oktober 2012

More shadow to light...

Here are the finished result from the course "Shadow to Light". All the participants worked so hard in trying to interpret their "egg" in yarns and weave. And the results are remarkable!

The finished result from the weaving course "Shadow to Light"
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB 

And a very short video of the intense ambiance of the studio.

video

torsdag 27 september 2012

In memoriam: Elisabeth Hasselberg Olsson

One of Sweden's great textile artists, Elisabeth Hasselberg Olsson, has passed away. She was an autodidact textile artist who was known for her meditative and tranquil tapestries. Her most famous tapestry is "Minnet av ett landskap" ("The memory of a landscape") which hangs in the parliament.

Elisabeth Hasselberg Olsson "Minnet av ett landskap", Riksdagens plenisal
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

Alice Lund Textilier has woven one of her tapestries. It hangs in Sky City, at Arlanda airport outside of Stockholm. It is a beautiful tapestry - even though someone has done their best in covering it with bad lighting and tons of furniture.

Tapestry by Elisabeth Hasselberg Olsson at Arlanda Airport, woven at Alice Lund Textilier
Photo: Helena Hernmarck

Tapestry by Elisabeth Hasselberg Olsson at Arlanda Airport, woven at Alice Lund Textilier
Photo: Helena Hernmarck

onsdag 26 september 2012

Wonderful yarns...

Here are some pictures from our visit to Wålstedts. I've been there countless times now but I am always as amazed by what they do...

Wålstedts wool yarn "Vålbergsgarn" - perfect for knitting
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB
 Fourth generation Wålstedts, Sonia Bush, explains how they help us and Helena dye yarns.
Fourth generation Wålstedts, Sonia Bush, explaines how they help us and Helena dye yarns
Photo: Birgitta Jönsson
 All of the wool is hand sorted into quality and type. Almost all of the wool is from Swedish sheep.
Sorting of the different wools
Photo: Birgitta Jönsson
Pictures from the production.
Details from the mill
Photo: Birgitta Jönsson

Details from the mill
Photo: Birgitta Jönsson

Details from the mill
Photo: Birgitta Jönsson
 Need I say more...
Is this heaven perhaps? No, just Wålstedts!
After two amazing but intense weeks on can need a bit of relaxation. Luckily I bought some yarn at Wålstedts that made my weekend. The colour is called "Brick" and the knitting technique I am using I learnt at Wålstedts last year.

Vålbergsgarn "Nytegel", from Wålstedts
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB


onsdag 19 september 2012

Eggs in every angle

Some of the participants have been very productive and have finished one weave already and are now working on a new design. Here are some of the results;

Weaves from the course "Shadow to light"
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB
We've also talked about the importance of good materials. Tomorrow we'll go to Wålstedts and see how they make their fabulous yarns, so more on that later on. This is how many colors Wålstedts can dye for one of Helenas weaves.

Yarn samples dyed for Helena Hernmarck's Tabula Rasa Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB
Most importantly the work continue in the looms...

Annika Söderström weaving an egg design
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

Annika Söderström weaving an egg design
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

torsdag 13 september 2012

In the loom

Busy days - now the weavers finished their first attempt at the technique. First an exercise of capturing a color painted on paper in the loom. Secondly weaving a gradation from dark to light. Now they've started on their design of an egg.

The participants first task; trying to interpret a painted color in to weave and a gradation from shadow to light.
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

Berit Lundqvist is weaving a broken egg shell.
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

 We also had the opportunity to listen to Helena at Fornby Folkhögskola, where she gave a talk about how to create monumental textile art. Very interesting!
Helena Hernmarck giving a talk at Fornby Folkhögskola
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB
Lis Korsgren, a member of Team Hernmarck, came to visit. She was kind enough to show us how one can twine the linnen warp with a spinning wheel. 
Lis Korsgren, a member of Team Hernmarck, showing how to twine the warp of several 16/2 linnen threads.
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB

Lis Korsgren, a member of Team Hernmarck, showing how to twine the warp of several 16/2 linnen threads.
Photo: Alice Lund Textilier AB