NIAB/Nordiskas Ryor: Part 2

What follows is a brief discussion of the various NIAB material and brochures on which the research in the previous post is based. This discussion may be of less interest to the general reader and of greater interest to dealers, auction houses, and collectors.

As sales-promotional material, Nordiska Industri first produced hand-sketched designs for rugs, then loose-leaf binder pages and subsequently, several printed brochures or catalogs, each with photos of 20-some patterns for rya rugs (and cushions) which could be shown to potential purchasers.

One of the best collections of early NIAB materials is in the Nordiska Museet and accessible via It is filed with other materials originally owned by one Lydia Janssen, an enterprising woman from north of Uppsala who moved to Stockholm in 1928 to open her own weaving business, selling carpets and other cloth to middle-class women from several areas including Stockholm’s archipelago of islands who came into to Stockholm to shop. I haven’t been able to determine if there is any more of a connection between Janssen and NIAB than simply that she offered the NIAB patterns for sale in her shop. It seems unlikely, given her connections to Stockholm and Uppsala and NIAB’s origins in Gothenburg.

The Lydia Jansson collection contains the earliest NIAB materials I have seen. It consists of two parts. One group of rug designs are shown in hand-colored sketches very much like those drawn by hemslöjd designers I have looked at in this blog, but the sketches are presented on NIAB-stamped pages. Each is labeled —apparently by hand— with the name of the design, and that of the designer, annotated with the year of composition, and the various sizes of rug the design could be made in. Yarn color samples were also attached. All of the designs of Kerstin Adde discussed in the previous post, are part of this part of the collection

Another set of colored-photo images of rugs are printed on pages punched to put in a binder. These images have the rug titles and designers’ names, but are undated. But they also contain yarn samples for each rug. This group seems to be the earliest company brochure, with some of the same artists and same images used in subsequent publications. Some of the first rug designs by Ingegerd Hyltén-Cavallius, and one by Birgitta Salenius, are in this group of images.

Unfortunately, I cannot reproduce any of these earlier rug designs since they are held in the collection of the Nordiska Museet in Stockholm, and are under copyright. They are, however, available on at this link: .

There seems to have been little overlap between the designers employed by two companies producing designs for rya rugs— Bergå in Stora Skedvi in Dalarna, and Nordiska Industri in Gothenburg— so that looking at the NIAB materials lets us identify several less-well known designers and thus attribute several rugs which are seen with some frequency at auctions around Sweden. I should note that I do not have access to the full run of the Nordiska Industri catalogs, so the names below may well constitute only a partial list.

There were several later iterations of the NIAB brochures. I have two of these (the first two shown below). One of these which I have was published earlier by Mats Linder on his blog, and Joe in Detroit who has the “askHugh” blog post, has published the covers and images from two more. These four brochures all seem to have been published in the 1960-70 period. Joe identifies the last two as from 1967 and 1968. These covers of these are shown below, in the order in which they seem to have been published. The “Orange” brochure below is also significant in that it seems to confirm my hypothesis that the NIAB products were marketed through local yarn shops, and that Lydia Jansson’s atelier was but one of these.

50 IMG_2710
NIAB Brochure (Orange) 20 rya rug designs and 13 rya cushion designs, all in rya). Labeled also with the name of the yarn shop in Stockholm stocking these products, Hinderson’s . Size 8-3/4 x 8-1/2.”
1: IMG_2725
NIAB Brochure (Yarn) 24 rya rug designs and 9 rya cushions. In Swedish, English and German. Size 7-1/4” x7.”
52Screen Shot 2019-10-30 at 11.28.42 PM
NIAB Brochure (Black and tannish rya) Number of designs and content unknown. Identified by “thankHugh” blog post as published in 1967. Size unknown. Image from thankHugh blogpost:
53 NIAB Catalog copy
NIAB Brochure (Rainbow) Number of rug designs and cushion designs unknown, but many new designers beyond the first two. Identified by “thankHugh” (see sources) as published in 1968. Size unknown.

From the brochures above, including images on both Mats Linder’s and the “thankHugh” blogs, and from both the early hand-colored pages mentioned above in the Lydia Jansson collection, and the printed pages available on the digitaltmuseum NIAB entry, nineteen NIAB designers can be identified. There may well be more. The following list includes the names of those whose designs I have seen and the name of their rug designs, and dates, as well as an identification of which brochure(s) their work is shown in. (Dates of composition are available on the early digitaltmuseum collection; designs from the four later brochures —that is, those I call Orange, Yarn, Brown Rug pattern and Rainbow brochures— are undated, but assumed to be ca 1960-70). NOTE that this list does not include designers included in the 1967 brochure which I have not seen.
—Kerstin Adde, ( collection): Hoppe hage / Hopscotch, 1957; Mexiko, 1957; Kyrkfönster /Church Window, 1957; Gallergrind (cushion) 1956
—Ingrid Bjernefors-Dahlman (Rainbow brochure, 1968): Skiffer;
—Gunvor Bröjer (Rainbow brochure, 1968): Eko;
—Kaisa Edström (Rainbow brochure, 1968): Cirkus; Vintergatan/Winter Street; Hjorton-Land/ Vattenspel/ Water play; Sauna
—Margit Eriksson, ( collection): Prickrutan, 1954; Kvastarna (Brooms), 1954; September, 1955
—Agneta Goës, (Orange and Yarn cover brochures, ca. early 1960s): Solera; Ängsull / Cottongrass
—Karin Nisses-Gagnér, ( collection): Stella, 1954; Värblommor /Springflowers; subsequently Karin Gagnér-Holger, Azalea, 1956.
—Greta Hammarquist, ( collection): Älvros / River Rose 1950; Bjålbo, 1953; Lavender / Lavender, 1954; Klostermattan / Monastery rug, 1954; Lekvattnet /Toy water net, 1955; Näckrosdamm /Water Liliy Pond, 1956; (Orange): Rhododendron
—Barbro Hellberg, (Orange and Yarn cover brochures, ca. early 1960s): Glasmålning / StainedGlass; Ballad
—Ingegerd Hyltén Cavallius, ( collection): Katedral; Arstidernas /
Seasons (4 colors); ( Orange and Yarn cover brochures, ca. early 1960s): Kontiki;
Guldkusten / Gold Coast; Droppsten; Safari; Gulläpple / Golden apple
(Rainbow brochure, 1968): Polarmatt, 1968
—Aappo Härkönen (Rainbow cover brochure, 1968) Isblomma/ Iceflowers
—Gull-Britt Johansson, ( collection and Orange and Yarn brochures, caearly 1960s) Skogstjärn, undated but ca 1957; Elddans /Fire Dance; Ädelsten /Gemstone
—Maud Johanneson (Rainbow cover brochure, 1968) Symfoni; Sirocco;
—Kerstin Olson, ( collection and Orange and Yarn cover brochures, ca early1960s) Vinterorgel / Winter organ; Skuggspel / Shadow;
—Maud Poom (Rainbow cover brochure, 1968) Forum
—Birgitta Salenius, ( collection): Ali Babba; (Orange, Yarn cover brochures, ca early1960s): Peru; Glöd /Glow; Alaska; Drömträd / Dreamtree; Bali; Siena;
Eldorado;Pajazzo; Natt och Dag; Skogsrå /Wild Forest; Tarantella; Vita tulpaner /
White Tulips; Acapulco; (Rainbow brochure, 1968): Sesam; Oas
—Brett Säfve, ( collection) Blå tuppär / Blue roosters, (a cushion) 1953; wallhangings: Dalamotiv, 1953; Madonna på ängen /Madonna in the Meadow, 1953;
Sunnanäng / South Meadow, 1955; rugs: Blå salongen / BlueParlor, 1956; Blomsterryan
/ Flower Rya,1957.
—Gerd Stenberg-Allert (Rainbow cover brochure, 1968) Mila; Navarra; Kohinoor
—Berit Stålell-Blide, ( collection) Färglek / Color Play, 1956; Pårlrand, 1957; Örtagården, 1957
—Unidentified ( collection and others) Zebra, 1956; Desirée, undated; Slottsparken and Ringel-Rosen (both more traditional)


—, and Notes by
Berit Eldvik were especially helpful.
—Joe’s blog post,
—Nordiskas Ryor catalogs with Orange yarn cover and Blue Yarn cover
—Mats Linder, blog post,

2 thoughts

  1. Hi – thanks to your wonderful blog I found a sort of answer to a riddle. On a local platform in Germany, a small rya is offered. The design, so the label on the back, is “Sauna” (I hope I can put the link here. It will only work for the duration the rug is on offer. With your help I found the original design, “Sauna”, by Kaisa Edström, see above. But I’m still nonplussed – it is definitely that design, but it looks as if the maker has left out the darker wool on purpose, thus making it extremely bright and even more “sauna”-like.The wool is not bleached or bled, of that I’m fairly sure. It is also a late model (from what I gathered, the original design is 60s, however, this rug was made later, in the 70s). I wonder: have you ever come across variations like this? Maybe the maker has used the darf wool for something else, and in the 70s, settled for a smaller, brighter version of the original “Sauna”… Here is the link:


    1. I think your analysis is probably just right. People bought these kits either from Nordiska or from local hemslöjd organizations and although many followed the patterns exactly, others tended to vary them as they wished as to color or size. I have seen variants—sometimes very successful. I have one myself where I like the colors chosen more then the originally intended colors. But it’s up to you whether you like the rya as made!


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