There is so much to share about our kulturtant safari in Sweden, it’s been a struggle figuring out where to begin. So let’s being toward the end!
We had the pleasure of visiting several design/craft operations that are making small scale, very high quality goods. Up in Dalarna, we checked out the Jobs Handtryck printing studio and adjoining shop, built in 1944, overlooking lovely Lake Siljan. In the studio, they print textiles by hand and in the shop, they offer yardage and home goods made with their fabrics.
Peer, Lisbet and Gocken Jobs began printing textiles in the early 1940s. The sisters Lisbet and Gocken started out as potters who often depicted local flowers and fauna that grew nearby their home in Leksand. When the Second World War made it impossible for the sisters to import glazes for their pottery, their brother Peer started transferring their patterns onto fabric using handcarved printing blocks.
Over time, Jobs began printing not only Lisbet and Gocken’s many designs, but also ones created by Eva Jobs, Peer’s wife, and other well-known artists including Dagman Lodén. Screenprinting eventually replaced blockprinting as the means of production.
Jobs continues to print many of its archival designs featuring local flowers, fruits, and veggies, with about 80 designs currently in production and over one million meters of printed textiles in the world, and counting! And it is still a family-run business, now in the hands of Peer and Eva’s children, Jesper and Pernilla, who work at the studio and workshop.
We were so stoked to catch them printing–the cotton/linen rolled out on two 30-meter long heated tables and two printers going down the line, placing the screen for each color in metal locks and passing the squeegee back and forth.
This, somewhat, we’ve seen before at Zoo-Ink, who printed our fabric in San Francisco (more on that soon), though the guys at Zoo are sadly bereft of such a lovely view and general cosy atmosphere. The metal music was the same, though.
The Jobs printers also blend their own dyes by hand, using water, algae, salt, and color pigment.
Our favorite studio detail was their genius, very simple drying rack that hung over the lengths of the tables. Basic dowels are slipped beneath the yardage and the whole length is lifted up to the rack in sections. As they dry, the lengths can be very easily raised to the next level on the rack, which has space for five lengths at a time. There is also an attacking gorilla up there.
There is so very much to learn about the history of textile design and production, and this particular slice of it felt very close to what we want to do, and very dialed. Plus the whole situation at Jobs–the studio with the shop nextdoor and the house right over there and the cabins for works, right on the lake–was a tremendous inspiration and reminder of what is possible in terms of work and living, craft and production, and scale. We feel like little grateful lambs, just starting out.