17.–23.01.2022 #immcologne

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Handmade Tale: The Rise of Handcrafted Items for the Home

silversmith in the Georg Jensen atelier

A skilled silversmith in the Georg Jensen atelier in Copenhagen sharpens his tools.

Move over mass production, it's time to make room for makers! Don't get me wrong, buying mass produced items is still the norm, but in recent years there's been a steady rise in demand for handmade furniture and accessories for the home.

So, why is this? We've been living in a sea of sameness, and there's a growing desire to find unique items such as chairs, vases, pots, plates, glasses, and wall-hangings that will set your home apart.

The buying process alone, is unique. When you source something directly from a maker, you get direct access to the designer and craftsperson and gain an understanding of the love that has gone into it, and the story of its past. More than that, you are supporting age old craft techniques and / or small businesses. Our purchase makes a difference.

The beauty of handmade, is that every piece is unique, distinctive and usually crafted to the highest quality. And unlike machine-made items, the beauty is in the imperfection, with every irregularity giving it life and soul. As with everything precious and rare, handmade pieces are something to be treasured, and cared for, for years to come. T

From chairs and rugs to sculptures and glassware, let's take a look at the handmade pieces that are taking the interior world by storm.

Handmade Pieces from Traditional Art Forms

Handmade pots and candleholders by Swedenland Ceramic Studio

Handmade pots and candleholders by Swedenland Ceramic Studio make for a playful display on a shelf.

Pottery

f you visit a nice restaurant, you'll no doubt be served food on a variety of wonderful, hand thrown plates - carefully selected by the chef. And in the home; there's also a growing trend towards handmade pots, candleholders and mugs.

Each piece reflects the potter’s studio, which is a place to slow down, reconnect with your hands and tap into the therapeutic art form. And every imperfection and irregularity in the colour, shape or size is a small gift from the potter, and will help to give your restaurant, cafe or home its soul.

Paintings

Posters and prints are so easy to come by these days, but there's nothing like slowing down, and taking your time to buy an original painting.

To me, a home should tell a story - and when you invest in original art, you'll remember the day you bought it, the artist who made it and what it was about it that caught your eye and stole your heart. It'll no doubt take pride of place on your wall - not only telling something about the artist, but also you as a person. And above all else, it will bring joy every single day!

Sculptures

When I first moved to Scandinavia over 17 years ago, I remember wondering the cobbled streets of Copenhagen and seeing an array of busts on the windowsills. I marvelled over how they caught the light and felt curious to know about the creative soul within.

Today, there's a growing demand for sculptures (particularly busts) and I can completely see why. There's something incredibly special about the lines and contours that come with working with sot materials. And you can't help but find yourself dreaming about the muse. As a piece of art, they can add a wonderful, poetic, soft and organic feel to a room - particularly when they're given a place to shine.

window interior
A painting by Mogens Anderson
pendant-lamps
A window seat in Marianne Vigtel Hølland’s cabin
A handmade rug from family-run Austrian brand Natur Pur
CH24 Wishbone Chairs
art of pottery
A tray of organic and recycled yarn

A bust by D. Carlhammar dated 1926 catches the light in the window interior designer Marianne Wikner’s home in Österlen, Sweden. (Source: Photography by Marianne Wikner)

A painting by Mogens Anderson steals the show in the Cille Grut’s living room on the Danish Riviera. (Source: Photography by James Gardiner © CICO Books)

A cluster of one-of-a-kind SKY pendant lamps, mouth blown in the Pernille Bülow workshop on the Danish island of Bornholm, hang over my desk. (Source: Photography Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home)

A window seat in Marianne Vigtel Hølland’s cabin is laden with hand-knitted cushions for an extra cosy feel. (Source: Photography by James Gardiner © CICO Books)

A handmade rug from family-run Austrian brand Natur Pur adds texture and warmth to my living room in Malmö, Sweden. (Source: Photography Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home)

A set of iconic CH24 Wishbone Chairs in my dining area feel extra special thanks to the high level of craftsmanship that has gone into each and every piece. (Source: Photography Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home, Styling Helen Sturesson)

My daughter, Alice learns the art of pottery throwing at Wallåkra Stenkärlsfabrik, Sweden (Source: Photography Niki Brantmark / My Scandinavian Home)

A tray of organic and recycled yarn is kept to hand in the sitting room of Marianne Vigtel Hølland’s Norwegian mountain cabin. (Source: Photography by James Gardiner © CICO Books)

Glassware

Glass is a fascinating material. It's barely there, yet subtly present. And it changes according to the light. In recent years, there's been a steady rise in mouth blown glass - a slow, ancient process dating back to the 1st century BC. And glassware is more beautiful than ever as a result!

There's something special about the weight, wavy irregularities and bubbles beneath the surface that give mouthblown glass its unique look and feel. Plus, whether it's in the form of a pendant lamp, candle holder, hourglass or drinking vessel - you know it's one-of-a-kind.

Knitted items

Long gone are the days of Grandma's itchy wool sweaters (thank goodness!), today the variety of yarn available is quite incredible - and makers are tapping into the soft threads to make beautiful handmade pieces for the home. Think cushions, blankets, dishcloths and lamps! Your home will become cosier with every stitch!

Furniture and accessories

It's always lovely to buy from a small business, but you'll also find larger businesses who pride themselves on a history steeped in craft - and it paves the way for customisation, limited edition pieces and a unique item that will be treasured for generations.

Rugs

Rug weaving is an ancient technique, thought to start in Persian (now Iran) over 2500 years ago. They were originally designed for utilitarian reasons - to protect from the cold, but rug weaving has slowly developed into an art form and practised all over the world.

In Sweden, you often come across wooden looms which are used to create colourful 'trasmatta' - rugs woven from old rags. And in Cisnădie, a lush, hilly district in Transylvania, highly skilled craftspeople take great pride in producing high quality rugs by hand.

Furniture

While some larger companies are looking for ways to start producing handmade furniture, there are others who pride themselves on a history of handcraft.

Danish company, Carl Hansen & Søn for example, has been producing the world renowned CH24 Wishbone chair since it was designed by Hans Wegner in 1949. There are more than 100 steps required to make it, the majority of which are hand assembled and it takes a skilled craftsman an hour to weave the seat using 120 metres of paper chord.

Crafting furniture by hand is a skill that takes years to learn and perfect, and one that carpenters, and craftspeople take great pride in - for good reason. They’re usually made from high quality natural materials and will last for generations to come!

Do It Yourself

This past year has seen a major increase in arts and crafts around the world, with people feeling a yearning desire to tap into their inner potter, painter and patternmaker.

It's less about the end result, and more about the process, with ateliers and pottery studios slowly becoming the heart of the community and a gathering place for budding makers.

The benefits are unlimited. To produce something by hand is about slowing down and going back to basics. It's about working with your hands and reconnecting with natural materials to create something new. More than that, the process itself can be incredibly therapeutic as well as sociable.

Once finished, it's empowering to knowing that when you drink your coffee, or gaze at the painting on the wall, you've made it yourself. And above all else, you’ll gain a cherished item which will help to make your house your home.

Guest article by Niki Brantmark, Author, CEO & Founder My Scandinavian Home