Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bohus Stickning Exhibit

The walls of the American Swedish Institute are probably still echoing from all the excitement and enthusiasm of the opening weekend of the Bohus Stickning, Radiant Knits: An Enchanting Obsession exhibit. Bohus Stickning was a Swedish cottage industry started in the 1930's during the depression. To make some money, the women started knitting. At first it was socks and toy animals, but in order to do something more unique, the bohus sweaters were designed. It became a well run organization with the wife of the Governor of the Bohus Provence as the head and first designer. After the war the sweaters were well known and coveted garments, making their way to the US. With the advent of modern machine made garments the market and organization died out. In 1995 Wendy Keele wrote the book, Poems of Color, which awakened this tradition to the US and world.
No pictures could be taken in the Swedish Institute which was very hard! The sweaters were beautiful! Here is the back of a Bohus sweater worn by someone attending the exhibit.
Laura brought a sweater her mother owned.


Susan brought three Bohus sweaters she has made in the last year. The patterns and yarn are available from Sweden.
Solveig Gustafsson hand dyes the yarn exactly to match the original sweaters and sell kits with the patterns and yarn. The yarn is 50% merino and 50% angora. Solveig spoke over the weekend telling about her work. Other highlights of the weekend were a documentary film,"Bohus Knitting-from Relief Work to World Success" with the filmmaker present to talk about it. One of the designers of the sweaters in the 50's and 60's gave tours of the exhibit. To view the available kits and order one of your own, check out http://www.solsilke.se/
Susanna Hansson along with Wendy J. Johnson are responsible for putting this exhibit together. It may not be done anywhere else, so we are very privileged! Susanna has been teaching classes on Bohus Stickning and translates the patterns to English. She taught workshops over the weekend where we made wristlets.

Wristlets started in Susanna's class.

Wristlets from previous classes Susanna has taught were made into socks and mittens.



What a wonderful weekend! To read other blogs about it, check out Ellen's blog, http://twinset.us/ and Susan and Sally's blog at http://www.theraineysisters.com/ The exhibit is open until March 29 and I encourage everyone to see it. Check out the booklet, Bohus Stickning. Radiant Knits: An Enchanting Obscession. It tells the whole story of bohus knitting and the people behind it. It is a wonderful remembrance of the exhibit as no pictures are allowed and is available in the gift shop and online. It is written by Wendy J. Johnson and Susanna Hansson.

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3 Comments:

At 6:55 PM, Blogger twinsetellen said...

What a great post! You really captured the beauty of the history and the sweaters. That picture of suebell and her sweaters just leave me in awe, though!

see you soon - I think we're going to have a reprise of the knit out in March!

 
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