Nestled in the forests of Trolldalen, Hälsingland, in the northern parts of Sweden, lay a small linen weaving factory. Here the most preserved sites from the heydays of flax and linen production are found and the small sheds and workshops bear witness to the peasantry's utilisation of the many rushing rivers turning them into hydropower. This small factory carry forth the flax handcraft tradition on this cultural heritage site.
Växbo Lin is a linen weaving mill who weave and sow their fabrics in their factory in Växbo. They have been spinning and weaving their products since 1989 and pay meticulous attention to detail, regardless if it is a linen dish cloth, coffee filter, towel or a a table cloth. The thought and considerations that go into making their products is truly quite something, and we love companies that immerse themselves into creating something beautiful and long-lasting while keeping handicraft traditions alive.
For Hanna and Jacob it all started at the age of 16, when Hanna was working as a guide at the factory the summer of 1993. Fast forward 13 years and they find themselves dining at the same restaurant as the owner Rolf. Hanna walks up to him and asks if he remembers her, which he doesn't, but still he invites them to sit down for a cup of coffee at their table. After a bit of conversation Hanna jokingly says to Rolf, “If you ever think about selling the factory, call me. I'd like to buy it.” As faith would have it, while Rolf and his wife was driving to the restaurant he had said to his wife, “at age 64, it is perhaps time to find someone else to keep Växbo Lin going in the future.” Hanna's 13 year old dream to own the factory got realized there and then and in a cold March of 2006 they find themselves with the keys to Växbo Lin in their hands. They say it is perhaps their best case of impulse shopping.
Växbo Lin work closely together with their designer, Ingela Bengtsson, who they have collaborated with since the very beginning. Ingela creates the designs for Växbo Lin in her studio on Askerön, an island on the Swedish west coast. It is here she grew up and fell in love with linen as her grandparents cultivated and spun flax on the island, and it is also here she finds her inspiration. To Ingela nature is our biggest source of inspiration and she finds patterns in everything from sea shells and seaweed to the weather and wind. This is where a new pattern is born, in close contact with nature. The process start by deciding the thickness of the yarn needed for the design she is about to create whereafter Ingela sets up her small handloom to weave a sample of the pattern. Once the sample is finished, she washes, mangles, wrinkles and dirty the fabric, only to do so all over again. The purpose is to understand how the fabric will behave in different states to be sure it will still be as beautiful several years from now. Her desire is to create a product that will last for generations. If she is satisfied with the outcome, Ingela sends the design to Växbo Lin who set it up in full scale in their factory and weave a sample. Ingela receives the sample and if she approves the pattern is put in production.
Växbo Lin are unique in that their products are 100% linen, both in warp and weft. They truly do specialise in linen and for an authentic feel, even the thread they use to sow on the paper tag with is linen! As there is no flax for weaving being produced in Sweden, their linen come from Belgium and France and it is grown according to the ECO-Flower and the colours have the organic label GOTS. Their products are also labeled with the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation's “Good Environment Choice”, both in terms of fiber and preparation.
If you ever find yourself in the Hälsingland area in Sweden, why not book a stay at Växbo Lin's Vallen Remote Hotel, a remote traditional farmer's cabin now designed to reflect the values of Hälsingland. It is filled with traditional and contemporary design and exist for people looking for rest and relaxation.
We are overjoyed that Växbo Lin and Ingela Bengtsson continue cultivating their tightly weaved partnership, teaching new generations to value the old traditional handicraft and to be careful with natures resources. The result is beautifully and carefully created products that last for generations. A philosophy and product that we at Lagom Home love.