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