A rug is born
When you invest in a rug from Pappelina you invest in quality – quality that lies in true Swedish craftsmanship developed in Dalarna in the heartland of Sweden.
A rug begins its life in the mind of Lina Rickardsson. It is she who is Pappelina, she who is the designing force. When her idea for a design is realized, the pattern is transferred to a computer file, then sent to an expert who uses a special digital weaving programme. Now it’s about the fine details. Skilled eyes determine exactly which thread in the warp (the length-wise running thread in the rug) should be raised and exactly when so that the loom can recreate Lina’s pattern. The information is entered into the weaving programme, which creates a long punch-card strip to guide the loom.
This is where the weaving mill enters the picture. Nils Björklund set up the business in 1948, his son Lars then brought the legacy to contemporary days. Now his grandson Kim Fröyen has learnt the craftsmanship. For a visitor, it’s like stepping into a museum: a big bunch of looms, some from the fifties, some the sixties. Large and loud in cast iron. And the reason for this sense of antiquity is quite simply that such looms are no longer produced.
“Look after them and they’ll last forever,ˮ says Kim.
He knows what’s what. Should anything ever break, he’s often the one to fix it.
“We’ve gathered quite a lot of parts over the years,ˮ says Kim, opening the door to one of the larger rooms. Spare parts. Floor to ceiling. It’s impressive.
Kim is able to fix practically everything himself, constructing new parts when necessary. Most importantly, he knows how to weave. “It’s not something you learn in school. It’s about gaining skills and experience,ˮ he explains. Skills and experience that have been passed down through the generations.
To begin with, the 600-metre-long thread must be warped onto the loom. Next, each individual thread must be inserted the right way. All of this is done by hand. Especially important is the setting of the weights that ensures the straight edges of the rug. As always, it’s about the detail.
The same is true of the plastic, which is delivered from Gislaved Folie in the south of Sweden, where it is dyed, milled and cut to the right width. On arrival in Dalarna, it is heated and wound. Once more it’s about precision. It can be neither too stiff nor too soft.
“Hands, eyes and skill,ˮ says Kim, adding, “It has to be perfect. If it’s not, then the rug is discarded.ˮ
An incorrect margin of one-tenth of a millimetre can ruin everything. Naturally, this can and does occasionally happen, the result being a defective rug. But here Kim is quick to point out that such a rug never leaves the mill. For him, it’s a case of professional pride – and survival. “We’re the ones who are affected if the product isn’t good.ˮ But the product is good – in fact, it’s really good. “We have to be the best,ˮ says Kim. “And we are. I can make that claim without hesitation.ˮ
Each rug is given a final inspection before being packed and sent to boutiques. Experienced and careful eyes check each centimetre. It’s a true piece of craftsmanship. It’s quality. And it’s Swedish through and through.