A Legacy of Innovation & Excellence
in Textile Design

By Martin Chard, International Executive at Märta Måås-Fjetterström

Solid, simple and beautiful. In an essay from 1905, Märta Måås-Fjetterström (1873–1941) defined her ambitions for Swedish handicrafts while heading the Malmö Handicraft Association; living and working in a time of great change, with an ambivalence between the possibilities of modernity and mass production and a fear for a loss of identity and traditional knowledge, she had a vision for new designs rooted in the rich heritage of Swedish folklore but combined with contemporary and new influences. Her ideas did not find fertile ground at the Malmö Handicraft Association, an association mainly interested in reproducing old designs, and Måås-Fjetterström was subsequently let go. A great blow to Måås-Fjetterström at the time, but it would later prove to be a stroke of luck.

Women of the Workshop

Historical Images

Barbro Nilsson 1899–1983

Barbro Nilsson was born in 1899 in Malmö, Sweden and was a skilled, passionate and intuitive weaver, creating works deeply rooted in the folk traditions of Sweden that were also radical in their sheer exuberance and technical feat. The daughter of Swedish architect and designer Erik Lundberg, she went studied at the Brunssons Vävskola and Tekniska School in Stockholm (now known as Konstfackskolan). From 1934 to 1947, Nilsson taught at Konstfackskolan, Stockholm (University of College of Arts, Crafts, and Design) and later served as the head of the school’s textile department.

In 1942, Nilsson became the artistic director and chief designer at the Märta Måås-Fjetterström workshop where she continued the studio's tradition of high quality craftsmanship and creative fervor. She created many flatweave, pile and tapestry-woven carpets for Märta Måås-Fjetterström. Her designs often feature nature-inspired patterns with an emphasis on color, the subtle variations in hue enlivening her works. Barbro Nilsson died in 1983 and her textile designs continue to be highly coveted by decorative art collectors.

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Auction Results Barbro Nilsson