Märta Måås-Fjetterström, an Icon of Swedish Design, Gets the Royal Treatment

July 1, 2020
In the staid, tradition-laden crafts scene of early 20th-century Sweden, Märta Måås-Fjetterström was considered something of a rebel.
Måås-Fjetterström in 1927.
After having studied at art school in Stockholm and launched a successful career as a textile designer, she mastered the classic techniques of Scandinavian weaving in some of Sweden’s most prominent studios.
But Måås-Fjetterström itched to merge the age-old discipline of weaving with a fresh sensibility and approach. When the opportunity presented itself in 1919 to open her own atelier in the swish resort town of Båstad, she jumped at the chance, and the rest, as they say is history.
A tapestry by Måås-Fjetterström.
Måås-Fjetterström went on to design more than 600 patterns for tapestries and rugs, many of them inspired by nature. Her atelier produced two other titans of Swedish design—Barbro Nilsson and Marianne Richter—and still turns out highly prized handwoven goods based on the original motifs.
A tapestry by Måås-Fjetterström.
Design cognoscenti have collected Måås-Fjetterström’s pieces for decades, perhaps none so avidly as the Swedish royal family. Since the very first year of her business’s opening, Sweden’s kings and queens have furnished their private apartments with Måås-Fjetterström’s work and commissioned her to make official gifts for their visitors.
A pillow made from a Märta Måås-Fjetterström weaving in the home of John Baker, cofounder of Toronto’s beloved shop Mjölk.
Now the present monarchs have mounted an exhibition at the Royal Palace in Sweden’s historic Gamla Stan district to celebrate the centenary anniversary of the Måås-Fjetterström opening her atelier.
Even if you’re not able to get there yourself, you can get a vicarious glimpse here.