A treasury of patterns

Märta Måås-Fjetterström left more than 700 patterns. Thanks to her sketches, the craftsmanship and the cultural heritage live on.

The exhibition on Märta Måås-Fjetterström’s work gives us an insights into the work of the textile artist. Her work processes, from sources of inspiration through to completed rugs, can be seen in her highly detailed sketches.

Märta Måås-Fjetterström invariably painted the sketches for her rugs and weavings in watercolour. These sometimes show the entire rug, but usually depict only a part of the whole – the rest is suggested with a few quick pen or brush strokes.

Her watercolours often clearly show whether the pattern was intended for a fixed tapestry rug, a heavy, velvety flossa rug or an airy, flowing hanging.

A watercolour sketch alone is not enough for a weaver to work from. In the working sketch, painted in watercolour on squared paper, Märta Måås-Fjetterström or a colleague sketched out the entire rug. This gives the weaver all the necessary information about the pattern, the closeness of the weave and the quality.

No two rugs are identical – there is always room for the weaver’s personal interpretation, but this must be done with a sense of responsibility and with respect for the artist’s sketch.

Top image: Märta Måås-Fjetterström (1873–1941) at her desk in her Båstad workshop/Watercolour of her sketch for rug Svarta Trädgårdsmattan. Photo: Archive image from Märta Måås-Fjetterström AB

Detail of the rug Ståndaren, from the Royal Collections. Photo: Sanna Argus Tirén/Royalpalaces.se

Watercolour of Märta Måås-Fjetterström’s sketch for flossa rug Ståndaren for the M/S Kungsholm liner, 1928. Photo: Anette Nilsson

The King's grandfather and great-grandfather were extremely fond of her work, and they both commissioned a significant number of rugs from her workshop. The image shows king Gustav VI Adolf visiting Märta Måås-Fjetterström workshop in Båstad 1970. Photo: Hans Karlsson

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