Oct 15, 2008


Image © Jen Buley

Since moving to Sweden this summer, I've been looking at lots of vintage crochet and knit work. Every Swede, it would seem, has at least one female relative who was prolific at "virkning," or crochet. There was a strong tradition in Sweden of Do-It-Yourself long before the current DIY trend; it's reflected in family heirlooms -- and in the thrift shops -- as well as in Sweden's fashion and home design markets. Much of it is dowdy (I'm talking about doilies, after all), but some of the old designs I'm seeing are clean, complex, and fine.

Antique Swedish crochet. Image © Jen Buley

Spinning off some of the most beautiful examples, I am inspired now to apply crochet designs and looks to hard forms and non-textile products, as well as to revive a traditional, but now uncommon, Swedish application for crochet.

Based on what I saw at Première Vision in Paris last month, and on the street, crochet (a.k.a. guipure and macrame) is right on target for 2009-10. At PV, there was a strong trend for chunky or delicate crochet and lace paired with, and layered on, silky, satiny or reflective cloth -- a combination of “craftiness,” with sophistication and shine. This fashion trend comes home, so to speak, in a trend that I'm thinking of as, "Hard-Soft forms."

I am seeing a strong trend for using crochet patterns in hard-products. Like this small side table spotted in a Paris boutique last month:

Image © Jen Buley

Or, this "doily bowl" featured in an online DIY article -- made from antique doilies, molded and hardened with a polymer.

Bowl by designer Jane Schouten, image from Design*Sponge

One particular design product I'm inspired to do now is crocheted shades for modern glass and metal framed lamps. The "fishnet stocking" lamp, below, was spotted in a Paris boutique last month. I would like to see more decorative crochet patterns for this type of application.

Image © Jen Buley

I saw the lamps in the image below at an exhibit in Borås, Sweden. It's a cool concept, particularly with lighter, more open, crochet.

Textilmuseet, Image © Jen Buley

But the following image is more directional. This image -- from a women's fashion editorial in a Swedish magazine -- is a better illustration of where I would like to go with the crochet covers for lamps.

Insynsskydd is the Swedish word for a window treatment that covers the lower half of the window. Insynsskydd made of crochet work, stretched on fitted frames, were a traditional window treatment in Falun, in the region of Dalarna, Sweden, where many homes have low, street-level windows. The crochet work allows light to enter (important through winter's short days), while providing some privacy. I like the stretched and framed application of the traditional insynsskydd -- but I'm thinking about cleaner, more modern designs, as well as the logistics of manufacturing for standard window sizes.

Traditional Swedish insynsskydd. Image © Jen Buley

The insynsskydd product is common in Sweden today in modern materials like adhesive (plastic) designs for windows, and structured paper screens. The improvised insynsskydd in the picture below, suggest a nice direction with color and texture. I believe there would be a good market for these products -- in interesting designs, and higher-end materials -- for America's urban-residential settings.

Image © Jen Buley

A final note on color: I love the clean, minimalism of traditional cream and white crochet -- and that will always be beautiful -- but I think that incorporating focused color, and jewel tones, into crochet-look window treatments, tabletop, and bed products, is an interesting and timely design direction for this traditional look.

1 comment:

Meg said...

I have just discovered your blog. How pleased I am that I have! Just beautiful.