Summer exhibition: Textil patterns - from damask to jacquard

June 5 – August 31 2024

Final year students at The School of Handarbetets Vänner exhibit at Almgrens Silk factory & Museum. They show projects where they have worked with damask and jacquard weaving.

It is an exhibition about the rich possibilities of pattern making that damask- and jacquard weaving offers in creating designs and weave structures. It is also an exhibition about meetings; in weave and fabric structure, pattern and colour but also meeting between education, museum and industry.

Handarbetets Vänner (HV) founded in 1874, celebrates 150 years in 2024. However, it is not the first time during this one-and-a-half -century that HV and Almgren meet. In the museums archives you can find drawings, designs and weave samples for jacquard fabric commissioned by HV at Almgrens through the years.

In the museum: Student work with handwoven damask projects, inspired by the museum's archive of patterns.

In the finishing room: Jacquard woven Tea Towels made in a collaboration between the School of Handarbets Vänner and Klässbol Linneväveri. Since 2019 the students has had the opportunity to meet the textile industry and develop their own designs into jacquard weaves.

In the silk mill: Two final year projects in damask and jacquard weaves.

The Factory

About silk shawls, jacquard looms and female workers in the textile and clothing industry from the beginning of the 19th century to today,  

In our new permanent exhibition on the third floor you get to meet some of the women who worked here and learn more about the silk scarves, and everything else, that they wove or sewed. The exhibition explores Almgren's silk factory's almost 200-year long history through a global perspective. From the beginning in 1833, before the breakthrough of industrialism in Sweden, through the glory days, the decline, the broadening of the business, the crisis of textile and clothing manufacturing in Sweden, and finally the restart, tying up the knot at present day. It is an exciting story that both reflects the development of industrialism in Sweden and provides a perspective on today's unsustainable fashion industry. Change is necessary and we can all contribute.

The exhibition Fabriken is built around three themes, from the 19th century to the present day and which are highlighted based on the history of Almgren's Silk factory.

The rise and fall of the textile and clothing manufacturing 

The demand for shawls in combination with entrepreneurship and technical innovation (jacquard mechanics) creates a successful silk industry in the 19th century and may here represent Swedish industrialization in a broader sense. But how did the Silk Weaving Company survive the 20th century, a time when the demand for silk fell? During the 20th century, the business expanded and several companies in fashion were started.

Female labour

Almgren's Silk Factory has always been a women's workplace and the exhibition highlights the women who have worked here from the 19th century onwards. Here are stories from previous employees and objects showing their work. Today, almost no textiles are manufactured in Sweden. It is instead a source of income for women on the other side of the globe. What was it like working as a woman in the Swedish textile industry in the 19th century? And in the 20th century? What are the similarities and differences with today's working conditions in other countries?

Silk shawls

Using the shawl as an example, we tie together the Silk Factory's nearly 200-year history. In the 19th century, the shawl was the silk mill's most important product with a large spread among women, especially among the peasantry, which at that time constituted a large majority of the population. Girls often received their first shawl in connection with confirmation. At the same time, the shawl was a fashion accessory and an example of popular luxury consumption. The demand for factory-made textiles pushed industrialization. Around 1900, women began to prefer wearing hats, a development that aroused some resistance but could not be stopped. The exhibition provides historical and contemporary perspectives on the use of shawls.

The Factory has been produced with support from the Swedish National Heritage Board.

Earlier exhibitions

The City Hall Fabric – Jenny and Maja

See the silk fabric and meet the women behind it in the exhibition  March 30-Nov 30 2023

This year marks the centennial anniversary of the opening of Stockholm City Hall. Maja Sjöström was the designer of all textiles for Stockholm City Hall. She made an inquiry to the K.A. Almgren silk factory regarding production. However, Almgren's declined the full order due to a lack of weaving resources, but accepted an offer of producing one single fabric. This was the upholstery silk with green- and silver stripes for the Prince's gallery. 

During the spring of 1923, Jenny Lindberg wove the full 88 meters of upholstery fabric by hand.

Transgressive Haze

A number of contemporary weavings by newly graduated textile artist Terese Molin. Using weaving as her primary medium, Terese creates abstract motifs where the narrative of color plays a central role.

The exhibition opens during Sthlm Craft Week on 5 October and runs to 2 November 2023

In the exhibition Transgressive Haze, threads melt together and present colour spaces, gradients and abstract landscapes. Through the linear process of weaving, compositions with shifting qualities emerge. The narrative is revealed through colour responding to colour and lines responding to lines.

There is energy in the woven line. The colour demonstrates the temperament which is constantly in motion. Elusive and fleeting, but in brief moments; obvious and strong. The weave embodies an abstract narrative where the crossing of lines (warp meets weft) can be seen as a pixel or a raster dot - a smallest unit in a macro zoom, or an "image of remote", if you will.

Terese Molin is a textile artist who works predominantly with weaving and dyeing. She was born in 1992 in Falköping and has previously studied at Konstskolan Munka in the south of Sweden and HDK-Valand in Gothenburg, where she recently graduated with a Masters degree in Textile Art.

Molin began weaving whilst studying at HDK. She found inspiration in the strict order of weaving, where endless possibilities for variation arose even in the most basic of bindings, the plain weave. In the exhibition you can see the result where the artist's intuitive touch both embraces and challenges the strict order of weaving.

Transgressive Haze at K.A. Almgren Silk Factory is her first solo exhibition in Stockholm.

Yes, we are Milliners

June 16 – August 10 2023

An exhibition showing degree projects from the Milliner training at Tillskärarakademin in Gothenburg.

A milliner mainly makes hats of all kinds and also creates accessories such as evening bags and gloves. The training lasts two years and includes at least four weeks of internship.

At the end of the milliner training, the student completes their degree project where all acquired knowledge and skills are put to use. The theme is "My Vision" and gives free scope for interpretation and implementation. The project is divided into several parts such as research, planning, design process, experimental/preparatory, production and a detailed written report as well as oral presentation with reflection of the work and the project. The journeyman exam is voluntary and can be taken after graduation.

Yes we are Milliners shows works by:

Ewa Jespersson, Maria Handberg, Sara Mattsson, Anne Teahan och Klara Stålenbring (images from left to right)

Tillskärarakademin in Gothenburg was founded in 1947 and is a center for education in textile crafts, for Fashion and Performing Arts with a focus on quality, aesthetics and sustainability. Today, five full-time courses are offered with supervision and state subsidies The Swedish National Agency for Higher Vocational Education. A number of shorter courses are also available within the faculty.

Textile Trilogy, part 3 – Detours

March 31 – May 6 2023. Vernissage March 31 at 4 – 6 p.m

The third part in the trilogy about textiles and humankind has the subtitle Detours, which alludes to the organic textile – the non-linear. Almost everything bends and curves in nature, so does the human psyche and thought activity. A trodden path across a field is rarely straight, it undulates in gentle curves. Such is the motion of man.

Curator Anna Wolgers and Fiber Art Sweden invite three artists: Britta Carlström and Eva Mozard and Kari Hjertholm.

Read more about the exhibition

Ingrid's Dress

Dec 16 2022 - Feb 3 2023

Ingrid Brattberg (1912–1996) was a trained fashion designer and had a central role within the company Almgrens Konfektion, which was founded in 1945. She was married to the company's director Hans Brattberg.

Ingrid's evening dress has recently been donated to Almgren's collection by Ann-Christine Svensson (née Brattberg) and her husband Lennart Svensson.

It is made of synthetic material sometime between 1945 and 1955 and is mostly machine sewn. The decorative stones, pearls and sequins on the bodice of the dress are hand sewn. In the post-war period, decorative and luxurious details were important elements in the creation of extravagant party fashion. Ingrid probably wore the dress on a more formal occasion. Maybe she had the dress sewn up for a nicer dinner party?

During the fall of 2022, Julia Bengtsson from Uppsala University was an intern with us. Julia has worked with the dress, sewn at Almgren's confection, and the exhibition is a result of Julia's work.

Textile trilogy

Part 2 - some control. October 727 - November 11 2022

Fiber Art Sweden, and curator Anna T Wolgers, has invited five artists who in different ways include the idea of system and organization in their designs:
Ebba Andersson, Emilia Elfvik, Heli Tuori Luutonen, Tomas Robefelt och Grethe Wittrock.

Read more about the exhibition 

Summer exhibition: Ada's Dream

June 3 - September 1 2022

When K.A. Almgren travelled to France in the 1820's, he did so in order to seek treatment for his Tuberculosis. But he had further motives. He wanted to learn French. Almgren aspired to learn it so well that he could come within the closed doors of the French silk mills. These doors were not open to foreigners. Within them was the latest, and most efficient in weaving technology, the Jacquard loom.

The Jacquard mechanics was revolutionary in its time. The machine uses punch cards to lift the warp, and reduced the demand for labour. This invention is commonly considered to be the beginning of the digital age we live in today.

Since the days of K.A. Almgren, looms have been computerised. A modern equivalent to the Jacquard looms is the so called TC2 (Thread Controller). The TC2 is controlled through a computer system, although the weaving is done by hand. Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design is equipped with a TC2 machine. Three Bachelor's students have used the machine to produce their examination projects of 2022. These pieces are displayed in this exhibition.

The participating artists are: Emelie Ivert, Erika Coleman och Rebecka Jonsson.

Textile trilogy

 Part 1 - Humankind.  March 27 - June 12 2021

The exhibition is about textiles' references to human experiences and shows works by Liisa Hietanen, Kari Steihaug, Anna Sjons Nilsson and Helen Heldt Hortlund.

Textile trilogy part 1 has "man" as its theme, which of course is a huge topic, but when it comes to textile materials and methods, it is natural to start at that end. The textile is linked with the senses, with the body, the skin - touch. Textile handling is also strongly associated with thinking, calculations and technology - knowledge. Textile as an artistic medium is suitable for the theme "man" with its connotations of body and intelligence.

Read more about Textile trilogy

Print for Christmas

Digitally on our social media in December 2020

The tradition of decorating your home for Christmas is old. For several hundred years, both castles and simple cottages have been decorated with textiles to create a weekend atmosphere, especially for Christmas. The fabrics could be woven, embroidered or painted. The first printed Christmas tablecloths did not arrive until the 1920s. In the 1950s, the colors and shapes became bolder, at the same time as textile artists began to be hired more and more. Demand was high and Christmas tablecloths were mass-produced. The exhibition "Printed for Christmas" highlights an overlooked form treasure.

Until the so-called TEKO crisis (textile and clothing) during the 1950s and 70s, Sweden had an extensive textile industry. Today, almost all textiles and clothing are manufactured in other parts of the world, especially in Asia. As Scandinavia's oldest yet active industrial environment, the silk factory is a perfect platform to showcase these mass-produced textiles that still adorn so many homes for Christmas.

"Printed for Christmas" was supposed to be shown in the silk factory in December 2020, but then came the pandemic. Now we make a digital Advent calendar instead starting on December 1. Every weekday until Christmas, a printed Christmas tablecloth is published on Almgren silk factory's social media. It will be an example of the large design tax that was delivered from the Swedish textile industry in the 1950s and 60s. For the third Advent, we are putting up a film that shows how you can print Christmas motifs on textiles yourself. As a Christmas gift tip, or maybe for yourself, because it is so fun to create in textiles.

The exhibition Printed for Christmas is a result of the cultural historians Anna Lindqvist's and Marie Odenbring Widmark's survey of printed Christmas textiles and has been created in collaboration with the Textile Museum in Borås, Västarvet and Östergötland Museum. Their work is also compiled in the book "Printed for Christmas" (Carlssons).

The Tie Factory

Sept 14 - Oct 31 2020 

For many years, ties were made at Almgren's silk factory. The silk fabrics were woven in the factory on Repslagargatan while the actual tie sewing took place up in the attic of the office property at Kornhamstorg 6.

Tie has long been a mandatory accessory for men in suits. At the silk factory, however, not many wore ties. The manufacturer and foreman made up a few exceptions adorned in this otherwise female-dominated workplace. In recent times, the dress codes have changed and the occasions when a tie is required are now quite few. Ties have become shelf warmers in many men's wardrobes. Some preserve them for emotional reasons, such as reminders of various events or periods in life. Others dispose of their ties, throw them away or pass them on.

Previously, no textile was thrown away. For most of the 20th century, textiles were counted as a capital in all classes of society and were managed to a small extent. Silk quilts and other status objects, for example, were made of silk. In step with mass production and mass consumption, textile waste also increased. Today we throw 8 kg per person every year, straight into the household rubbish.

The artist duo Katarina Brieditis & Katarina Evans run a textile studio in Stockholm. They make unique textiles mainly from used clothes and surpluses from the textile industry. Used t-shirts and torn wool sweaters, for example, were given new life in the Re Rag Rug project, where 12 rugs were created in 12 different techniques in as many months.

Almgren's silk factory has now invited Studio Brieditis & Evans to create a design in the preparation room. This time the material is luxurious, but just like before, it is a matter of mass-produced and leftover textiles. The starting point is a thousand discarded company ties of silk that they received as a donation. Ties that were produced during the late 20th century to be worn by male officials for entertainment purposes.

Visions / thoughts from Studio Brieditis & Evans:
With the industrial premises' old machines as a starting point, we form a fantasy about how the silk factory's machines may have been used and what they can achieve. Mass production, monotonous repetitions. Too many of the same become abundance, leftover, over. Eternity machines that produce and produce. Drive belts of ties, piles of ties, ties that drip, spray and are fed out of the machines. Discarded, remade and mixed into mash or ash? Recycled? Discarded ties are given new life through textile experiments in the Tie Factory.

4800 threads

Film by Johanna Schartau from the exhibition Urban Weft at Silk Weaving 2010