Väva Spis

Historic craftmanship becomes modern fashion. Fine Little Day and Hemslöjden in Skåne in a joint exhibition. The back of an embroidered folk vest has become a trendy college shirt, an old apron a skirt that breathes contemporary fashion. When the designer Elisabeth Dunker is inspired by Skånes hemslöjdsförbund’s collections of crafts from several centuries, magic is created.

When Åsa Stentoft, handicraft consultant at Skåne handicraft associations, approached her in late 2015 with a request for a joint project, that therefore became the beginning of an evident collaboration. The basic idea of the project was to disseminate knowledge of the two archives in Hemslöjdens possession, the archives that the union for years worked to digitize and make available on Digitalt Museum. The archives consists of thousands of handicrafts made throughout several centuries and that anyone can enjoy.

To reach out to younger people that work creatively Hemslöjden wanted use social and digital communication channels. With hundreds of thousands of global followers through her brand and creative platform Fine Little Day Elisabeth Dunker was an obvious cooperation partner. Åsa Stentoft quickly realized they shared ideas, values and interests to take advantage of handmade objects from the old as well as new times.

– Our idea with the project was to show the archives could inspire designers in many different areas.
Thus making it a benefit for us that Elisabeth is not educated within textile, and therefore can look at what we have from a different perspective. It’s been really exciting for us to see what she has taken a liking for and see how archives can inspire people that do not primarily work with textiles, Åsa Stentoft says.

Originally, Elisabeth made a digital exhibition on digitaltmuseum.se , and highlighted objects that inspired her under the #handicraftarchives hashtag on Instagram. She also wrote about findings from the archives on her blog, which repeatedly has been named one of the world’s most influential interior design blogs. It directly resulted in more people finding out about the digital archives. Later, plans for a physical exhibition started to take shape, and thus sowed the seed for the project Väva Spis.

The name of the exhibition originated from the essence of handicraft that is all about ”taking something you have to create something you need.” The stove symbol stands for the groups of women that throughout history have been sitting together in their kitchen and embroidered, sewn or woven.

Elisabeth has always liked the stove as a symbol, both for its graphic form, but also for what it represents.
– The stove or cooking place exists in all cultures, even if it looks different. For me it is a symbol of life itself.

Hemslöjdens hopes that Elisabeth Dunker would find new ways to re-cultivate the treasures from the archive were immediately met after the work began. One of the first things Elisabeth was fascinated by in the collections were black and white, half-colored photographs of Swedish folk textiles. The bitwise coloring has been done for future generations to know how the objects looked like in its original form, but Elisabeth found the graphics of the photographs themselves appealing. A woven rug inspired by these photographs, half black and white and half in color, became one of the first products that were developed for the exhibition.

– That was an eye-opener for us. The carpet has gotten its pattern from a small piece of an old textile. Enlarged, it becomes something else entirely. At the same time, the carpet is equally inspired by the documentation of the fabric itself, because the black and white photo became the template. It was a new way for us to look at the material says Åsa Stentoft.

Similarly, the back of an embroidered vest was made to a printed pattern on a sweater. Elisabeth Dunker has always had a penchant for the a tad awkward, things that does not feel corrected, and for the exhibition she has created another series of prototypes for new products developed in collaboration with craftsmen and small-scale producers in Skåne and Västra Götaland. Although Elisabeth loves handicrafts, she has no personal experience of it, and during work became deeply impressed by the handicraft abilities.

– They are possessing huge knowledge and it is cool to see how it is stored physically, tactile, in their hands, she says. This cross-fertilization between smithers and designers, both from Sweden and other countries, has become the main objective of the project. Historically, that type of exchange has occurred to a large extent, not to mention during the golden age of the handicraft of the mid-20th century. Many many objects in the collections testifies about that. But when cheap mass production abroad became the death of many Swedish industries in the 1970s, the conditions changed radically. It became a hard time for Swedish handicraft, and the new conditions have created the need for new forms of cooperation.

Today handicrafts has a favorable climate again. Items with personal stories has become trendy interior decorations and the interest in reuse is widespread. The old deeds of previous generations about taking what you have and creating what you need remains alive. Or rather, alive again.

The exhibition Väva spis opened at Hemslöjden in Landskrona in May 2017, and continued to Fine Little Day’s showroom in Lindome, Gothenburg. Elisabeth Dunker has continued to seek inspiration in the archives and feels that she has gained a more structured way of working through the project.

– I’m thankful for it, and hopefully I can also pass it on to others. I take with me the feeling that art is allowing and that you are allowed to fail. Perfection feels so distanced, she says, and describes how in our modern society it is easy to massproduce products, but more difficult to produce objects with nerve.

»The nerve that handmade things consist of is the true allure.«

— Elisabeth Dunker


When the exhibition opened, visitors could see the distilled results of countless meetings between Fine Little Day and Hemslöjden. Unique objects and prototypes for products designed by Elisabeth Dunker were shown, together with sketches and models from the archives of Stiftelsen Skånsk Hemslöjd and Östra Skåne hemslöjdsförening. Some of the products have been available for sale at Hemslöjden Skåne and Fine Little Day.


Linen apron designed by Elisabeth Dunker, manufactured by Vävaren in Båstad and Yallatrappan, Malmö.


Jacquard knitted sweater in wool, designed by Elisabeth Dunker and manufactured by Mariedal Design, Alingsås.


A woven rug in wool and linen inspired by old photographs, half black and white and half in color.


Jacquard knitted sweater in wool inspired by cushion "Kattamannen" (MSSH-0315). The Skånsk Hemslöjd Foundation. Design by Elisabeth Dunker, manufactured by Mariedal Design, Alingsås.


Cushions in linen inspired by embroideries, photos and sketches in the archives of Stiftelsen Skånes hemslöjd and Ö:a Skånes hemslöjdsförening.


As a link between then and now, inspired by a seat cushion from Gärd's county from the beginning of the 19th century, we find this digitally printed silk shawl. Photo from Lilli Zickerman's inventory, 1910-30. Östra Skånes hemslöjdsförening's archive. Design Elisabeth Dunker.


Jacquard knitted sweater in wool. Design Elisabeth Dunker, manufactured by Mariedal Design, Alingsås.


Screen-printed skirt in wool made by Matilda Ekström Rosenberg. Artwork by Elisabeth Dunker where inspiration comes from symbols, shapes and characters of the textiles in Skåne's handicraft archive.


Jacquard knitted sweater in wool where inspiration for the motif came from the back of an embroidered vest in Skåne's handicraft archive, which were at least as appealing (sometimes even nicer) than the front. Design Elisabeth Dunker, manufactured by Mariedal Design, Alingsås


The stove, as a symbol of life itself. A boiling soup or pot of domestic cultural heritage, aesthetics and inspirations.<br />


Products developed in collaboration with craftsmen and small-scale producers in Skåne and Västra Götaland.

Vävaren i Båstad

Matilda Ekström Rosenberg, Textiltrycket, Malmö

Yallatrappan, Malmö 

Elin Jantze, Stockholm

Kristina Boughardt Hattenbach, Simrishamn

Gunvor Johansson, Staffanstorp

Mariedal Design, Allingsås

Eva Berg, Landskrona

Blommiga Gredelina, Klagshamn

Satoko Kobayashi Fridolf, Göteborg