I didn't appreciate Swedish design or my Swedish heritage for that matter until I visited "the Motherland" with my husband's family several years ago. And now I love it!
Last week, I visited the 17 Swedish Designers exhibit at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle. When I bought my admission ticket, I told the volunteer who was selling tickets that I was there for the exhibit. She responded (in a very straightforward Swedish tone) "Oh, what are you expecting?" almost with a smirk. I was a bit caught off guard by her question and blurted out: "I'm expecting a lot of color." Based on the colorful photograph on the promotional postcard I received for the exhibit (see above), I was also expecting Swedish clothing designs. (Don't laugh - they are tres chic!) The only piece of apparel was a lovely grey scarf and the rest of the exhibit featured "more than 60 examples of high design in the form of furniture, textiles, glass and ceramics representing innovative development of objects for everyday use."
In true Scandinavian style, the designs were modern, non-fussy, functional, sophisticated, smart and beautiful. Color is used thoughtfully throughout the exhibit... a pop of red here and a pop of yellow there amongts white, wood, metal and glass.
But more than the pieces themselves, I was inspired by the stories of the 17 designers. With names like Lena, Ulrika, Monica, Pia (photo, left), Nina and Sofia, they each have vast design, architecture and/or art training in Sweden. They also juggle young families and a busy work life.
I love this quote from home furnishings and jewelry designer Eva Schildt... "If you want to properly engage someone then you must dare to show yourself without being afraid of seeming banal."
And this one about graphic designer and illustrator Lotta Kuhlhorn: "Lotta enjoys working hard, intensively and intuitively." I love that!
Another quote in the bio of Anna Kraitz caught my attention: "I use furniture and objects to tie down and capture the world around me. A world that sometimes, in the midst of the day, for a moment, can reveal itself as unfamiliar and sometimes seem somewhat surreal." Anna designed the lamp below and the colored lamp pulls, so unexpected and the perfect touch of color.
I enjoyed the exhibit so much that I even bought the coffee table book. I'm enjoying learning more about these amazingly talented, beautiful and inspiring Swedish women. It makes me long for a trip to Sweden ... or maybe at least to IKEA!
I wish I could have taken photographs to share with you but cameras were not allowed in the exhibit. I guess you'll just have to go and see it for yourself. It runs through August 21 at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Ballard.