About this blog:
This blog is about several kinds of mid-century Swedish weavings designed during the period of 1935-75. These include flatweave rugs, called in Swedish, “rölakan;” pile rugs called “flossa,” “halv-flossa” and relief-flossa; rya rugs and tapestries, in “gobelang-teknik,” and in other weave structures. The designers who designed these rugs tended to design in all of these different kinds of rug genres. I’ll occasionally also look back in time to give background to my mid-century focus, or to look at weavers whose design careers began earlier but who were still active during this period.
I am an architectural designer, and an independent design historian with a long-standing interest in textiles.
An interest in materials, how things are made, and the processes of making led me originally to architecture. Architectural training taught me both how to design and how to think about design as part of a larger social context. Further training in architectural history and historic preservation led to work that involved studying buildings, decoration, furniture and objects from different historical periods.
I have studied and practiced architecture in New York and Brussels and taught architectural design in Hong Kong. My textile interests over the years had a lot to do with where I was working and/or traveling: from ’60s Marimekko (Chicago); to textiles by Voysey, Josef Frank and Alvar Aalto (Brussels); to Japanese happi coats and obi, and Chinese robes (Hong Kong/Tokyo); to Bauhaus, Anni Albers and the Cranbrook weavers (New York); to ikat (Singapore); to African Kanga and Dutch import fabrics (Tanzania). I became fascinated with the ways the historical international trade in textiles set up design conversations between continents and countries.
Once I discovered Swedish mid-century rugs about ten years ago, I needed to know more. They were graphic, colorful, well-designed: textile counterparts to the more famous mid-century chairs, light fixtures and silver jewelry I already knew. I am fortunate to live in New York City, where there are great design libraries, a number of dealers who handle Swedish rugs, and a number of professional “rug people” who offered encouragement as I started my research on Swedish rugs. I was prepared to start learning Swedish so I could do research, since it looked like most of the literature on these textiles had not been translated into English. Because Sweden is in the process of digitizing much of its craft history and museum collections, it also means that there are now many fascinating pieces of the puzzle to be found on-line. I have also been visiting archives in Sweden to pull out drawings and find out more about designers as I identify them.
This blog will be about what I have discovered and what I’m continuing to learn. It is primarily about several kinds of mid-century weavings and their designers. But it’s also about the whole culture of weaving and home design in twentieth-century Sweden. I hope you enjoy sharing my meanders in Swedish textile and design history.
So glad to have discovered this blog!
What a wonderful blog! I lived in Hong Kong in the 60’s. Up somewhere in Ladder Street, was it? I found a Scandinavian shop that changed my life. Such gorgeous furniture and textiles. I’ve never been the same.
Do you know if Berga Parti is a classified as a rya yarn?
Thanks for your research and for sharing it.
Thanks for the appreciation, Val! And such an interesting memory of a Hong Kong Scandinavian design shop. I wonder if that might have been up Ladder St on Hollywood Road. It was not there when we lived there in the early 1990s, but that street had all the interesting and expensive antique stores.
I’ve sent you an email about your wool question.
Thanks again for reading!
Dear Anne, I spoke to Jenny von Platen yesterday at seminar about Swedish textiles and she recommended your blog and instagram. Jenny had a lecture about Josef Frank and I about my favorite subject Swedish rugs. I have been collecting signatures for almost 30 years now and have a dream to write a book. But finding the time is very difficult. What great work you have done to find more information about these fantastic ladies. I’m so happy to have found you! Maby we could do something together? I hope to hear from you!
All the best, Maria
I’m so pleased you saw Jenny’s lecture and connected with her about this blog. I’d seen you following on IG and thought, Ahha-another serious enthusiast! I’d love to talk to you further. Could you write me an email on my firstname.lastname@example.org account (which I use for all this), so I have your email address and we can talk more directly?
This is such a great blog. I found it because I bought a rug by Eva Németh and did some research on her in advance. Then I got (positively) lost browsing through your wonderful and interesting posts. Thank you!
I also have a question: do you know a rug designer (probably swedish) with th signature J.C. I saw a carpet at a fleamarket with the signature “J.C. 1979, 84” on it.
I’m glad you’ve been enjoying poking around on my blog! I don’t know of a JC, but originally started with a 1935-75 framework and if I saw this, and it was dated later- like the one you saw— might not have noted that. Feel free to send me a photo at email@example.com, if you want me to keep my eyes out for similar pieces.
I am looking for att rug called “Fjällhed”. How old? Designer? Some tips on where to look?
I created some Berga Rya Rugs in 1970, that have adorned my walles and floors. Now that I am retired I wanted to once again hand stitch some rugs. Are Berga Rya Rug kits still available
Unless you are in Sweden snd can go to a Hemslöjd shop, your best bet might be kits through Byrdcall Studio. Tell Melinda I sent you!