[No: VI | By Viveka Hansen]

During the period 1700-1850 – from which the double interlocked tapestries or “rölakan” in southernmost Sweden mainly emanate – all colours of the spectrum were produced from natural dyes. Primarily from plants but also in some aspects from various lice, first and foremost the cochineal from the second half of this period. 

 

Dyer’s weed (Reseda Luteola). One of the best and hardiest plants which were used in the dyeing of yellow shades (Lindman, C.A.M., Nordens Flora, 1917-1926).

Dyer’s weed (Reseda Luteola). One of the best and hardiest plants which were used in the dyeing of yellow shades.
(Lindman, C.A.M., Nordens Flora, 1917-1926).

Generally it can be said that these textiles were woven in clear, sharp and saturated colours, often with great contrasts. Yellow and brown tones were the easiest to produce when using readily available Nordic flora. Whilst green, red and blue carried with them certain limitations, these colours were therefore preferred in regions of economic prosperity, where it was possible to spend a lot of time on weaving and dyeing or buying imported dyes.

Here it is clearly shown how the yellow colour has faded on a cushion from Gärds or Villands districts in Skåne, Sweden (owner Helsingborgs Museum) Courtesy of: The IK Foundation & Company, London.

Here it is clearly shown how the yellow colour has faded on a cushion from Gärds or Villands districts in Skåne, Sweden. (Owner: Helsingborg Museum). Photo: The IK Foundation, London.

Detail of a border from the same “rölakan” cushion, shows us how detailed the patterns could become, when the flax warp is covered by the coloured woolen yarn of fine quality, together with that a compact reed had been used... (owner Helsingborgs Museum) Courtesy of: The IK Foundation & Company, London.

Detail of a border from the same “rölakan” cushion, shows us how detailed the patterns could become, when the flax warp is covered by the woollen yarn of fine quality, together with that a compact reed had been used… (Owner: Helsingborg Museum). Photo: The IK Foundation.

In contrast to the double interlocked tapestry with a simple star pattern, where both the warp thread and woolen weft are of significantly coarser quality. Skåne, Sweden (owner Malmö Museum). Courtesy of: The IK Foundation & Company, London.

In contrast to the double interlocked tapestry with a simple star pattern, where both the warp thread and woollen weft are of significantly coarser quality. Skåne, Sweden. (Owner: Malmö Museum). Photo: The IK Foundation, London.

To be continued…

[SOURCE: Hansen, Viveka, Textila Kuber och Blixtar – Rölakanets Konst och Kulturhistoria, pp. 10-73, 1992.]

PLEASE REFERENCE AS FOLLOWS:

  • Hansen, Viveka, ‘The Importance of the Details – Colours’, TEXTILIS (August 24, 2013); http://textilis.net/ (Accessed: Day/Month/Year)