Published: March 3rd 2009March 3rd 2009
In Like a Lion
March arrives in Kullavik.
Today I had a field trip with Gunnel and an American friend who moved to Kullavik shortly after we did, Perrin. I'm not a shopper, but I do love things for the home, so our destination was Ekelund, "Master Weavers since 1692". Yes, you read that right, I didn't transpose...1692. They're good. The fact that they are located in a town called Horred was simply a bonus. I actually received an Ekelund table runner from my Mom a few years ago, a beautiful pattern of aspen leaves in black and gray tones...I never dreamed I'd be in the very factory where it was made!
While Gunnel drove, she gave Perrin and I a geography/history lesson along the way. I will surely get some of this information goofed up, but I'll do my best. Horred is about an hour's drive away...through beautiful scenic countryside (but horrid, narrow roads!). It was a cold, rainy, windy day but that didn't detract from the many old stone fences, mostly covered in moss. Many of the fences are now fortified with barbed wire to contain the long haired, unique looking cows grazing within.
Our first stop was Fjärås Bräcke. Good luck pronouncing that. This
Beautiful even in the mist.
is a ridge formed during the ice age that essentially formed beautiful Lake Lygnern on one side and very fertile farmland on the other. There are also more than 100 large, upright stones scattered on the field side of the ridge that designate an "Iron Age" cemetary. I grew up across the road from a cemetary, so that doesn't spook me at all. I truly can't wait to head back to this area for a picnic when the weather is nicer.
We arrived in little Horred, and drove right to Ekelund. The building houses a museum, store, factory and cafe. We wandered through the museum, then hit the store. It was dishtowel nirvana. I didn't count, but I would guess there were at least a hundred different, and quite varied, patterns to choose from. Midway through our shopping expedition, we headed down to the factory to see how the modern weavers do it. There is simply a self guided tour - we were shown the door and told to follow the yellow stickers on the floor. There were enormous pallets of linen and cotton spools of thread, tablecloths being folded, edges being finished and product in all stages of
development. I would love to show you pictures, but we were approached by some fella who saw my trusty Canon hanging around my neck and asked me if we had taken any photographs. I admitted that I did and he asked that we delete them (Perrin was naughty, too) and stood there while I bumbled through trying to delete them from my too high tech camera. I feigned that I managed to delete them (really, I tried) and nervously tucked my camera back in my bag. They do this because they have new patterns in development and they don't want the trade secrets getting out. I can appreciate that - so no photos inside the factory. This "run-in" worked in our favor, "picture police" hooked us up with one of the guys working the looms and he explained how the modern looms work. As you can guess, the patterns are all loaded on to a computer hard drive. They can even scan a photograph and turn that in to a linen work of art. Truly, these pieces are little, every day works of art. They are artist designed and developed.
Our tour complete, we headed up to the cafe
Iron Age Graveyard
Fertile farm land beyond.
for our lunch...fish casserole with some really good house baked bread. We finished our shopping...which wasn't easy. Too many choices! Do I choose a traditional Dala Horse, Pippi Longstockings, Tomte, one of the many floral and vegetable patterns or Swedish delicacies crayfish and dill with schnapps, perhaps? I'm thrilled with my functional, beautiful Swedish works of art. Gunnel is the best Swedish teacher on Earth, but she's an even better friend.
There are more photos below