SÖTHOLMEN - a great example of genuine craftsmanship
SÖTHOLMEN cushion cover adds both colour and character to your balcony or garden sofa. The cover is made of synthetic fibre which is hard wearing against sunlight and wind, as well as numerous washes. And if you look closely at two cushion covers, you can see really small variations between them. It shows how each cushion cover reflects the unique touch of the skilled craftsman who made each one.
The Thai Binh Province in Northeast Vietnam, with its subtropical climate and broad coastal plains, is an excellent place for growing rice. The rice colours the landscape intensively lush and is an important source of income for inhabitants. But the villages around the province are also well-known for their rich traditions and great craftsmanship, not least in terms of different types of weaving, crochet and knitting. In the middle of one of these villages there are two weaving centres where experienced craftsmen crochet our SÖTHOLMEN cushion cover by hand.
Craftsmanship complements agriculture
Someone who has visited the village and these weaving centres is Anton Löfstedt who lives in the southern part of the country. Together with his colleagues at IKEA in Vietnam, he works closely with various suppliers to ensure good production and a good working environment.
"The weaving centres in this village complement the income that the village inhabitants earn from agriculture", explains Anton. "At the same time, the workplace's flexible working hours mean that they can still spend time on agriculture when needed, like planting rice and taking care of fruit trees."
Anton says that the central location in the village is a great advantage since the craftsmen are close to their homes and children. Inside each weaving centre there is a view of the village and the lush landscape.
Tradition intertwines with functionality
SÖTHOLMEN is made of polypropylene, a plastic used for things like food packaging, and it is totally harmless. The material is dyed before it is spun into a fibre thread so that the colour becomes part of the fibre and doesn’t just colour the surface. It’s a technique that makes the colour long lasting, even if the cushion cover is exposed extensively to strong sunlight.
Traditionally, different types of natural fibres are used in the Vietnamese village, but the same methods can be applied to materials such as polypropylene. The actual crocheting is based on deep-rooted, well-known techniques ‒ and a cushion cover takes just around three hours to complete for an experienced craftsman.
"The production of SÖTHOLMEN means that the traditions and ways of life in this village thrive and survive", explains Anton. "And as the cushion cover lies on your sofa, it’s interesting to think about how it reflects the unique touch of the craftsman who made it.”