Suppose you were interested in Stockholm, and suppose you were interested in crafts and arts. You then decide to travel when the summer days enlighten the city, and you feel you don’t even need a jacket with you (wrong thought by the way, since Stockholm’s weather is fairly capricious). Then the obvious choice is the isle of Södermalm. You would come from the isle of Gamla Stan, probably, little houses and thousands of tourists, and find your way to Slussen.
First stop! Konsthantverkarna.
Sweden’s oldest crafts association has here its headquarters and will show you jewels, textiles, ceramics and more. It was founded back in 1951 and has nowadays 85 members. Here is the link:
Now, left or right? Choose Hornsgatan, climb up the stairs because this is where most galleries are. Promise, it’s worth the sweat drops! This is the so called “puckeln”, hump. Among all galleries, your craft-detector will find Blås&Knåda, http://www.blasknada.com. This economic society for working potters and glassblowers has beautiful and spacious rooms and has always some new exhibition you can peep from the main window, if you are not lucky enough to find it open. You will find traditional craft and modern, abstract, artistic craft. Take the latter as a definition for the sake of convenience, I won’t debate here about what is art, what craft, if art is craft and if craft is art. Just enjoy the gallery!
I find that the pieces at Kaolin (http://kaolin.se/), the next gallery and group of ceramists, use to be somehow darker, more oriented towards natural colours. If I had to compare Blås&Knåda and Kaolin, I would say that the first is blank, the other matt – they perfectly complement each other! If you look at your right, by the way, you will find Bellmansgatan, Brännkyrkagatan and Monteliusvägen – amazing surroundings, a splendid panoramic view on the city and, if you’re into Swedish writers, one of the places where the Millennium trilogy is set.
If you are not in the mood for stopping by a nice café or relaxing on one of thousands benches around, you can head to Götgatan to find another beautiful quarter and two more galleries: Galleri Hantverket, http://www.gallerihantverket.se/index.html and 125 kvadrat, http://www.125kvadrat.com/ (on Kocksgatan, a side street), both with a variety of crafts and the latter, I’d say, more oriented to the user.
Behind all these galleries you will find craftsmen/women that, from the 50’s onwards, decided to stick together, in order to get stronger and survive. It´s easier to reach your goals and to fight if you´re not alone, and sometimes it seems like that of working with crafts is a continual fight. After so many years, these associations still keep opening their galleries, day after day, still organize new shows. As old members retire, their bones marked by the hard work, new members and new ideas flow in. They inherit a piece of modern history but also associations facing a deep crisis.
Suppose you were to travel to Stockholm, suppose you were interested in art and crafts. Don’t miss these galleries!
P.S.: Suppose you were to travel to Stockholm during the summer months; do not forget to take with you a sleeping mask, if you are sensitive to light. At 3 o ‘clock in the morning, as you see, the skies of May are already lit up, there in the North!