L’ULTIMA TESSITURA DI TAPPETI NORVEGESE

Photo credit Ledaal

Italiano (Italian)

Ledaal Teppeveveri is a small textile company based in Stavanger, a small city on the west coast of Norway.

The company is the only carpet weaving workshop that survived the market crisis that shook the textile sector on a global scale.

Even in the rich northern European capital of the oil industry and social democracy, many companies had to close leaving Ledaal as one of the few survivors.

Photo credit Ledaal

The company was founded in Hillevåg in 1949 by Håkon Hærem. In 2012, weavers and loom moved to another part of the city, closer to the centre: Våland. The new space can now host both the production and a big showroom.

To unlock the secret of Ledaal’s success we need to understand its true soul: the people who work there and keeps it alive. Cathrine Hærem, Håkon’s daughter ‘holds the keys of the house’ (just like a real Viking woman) and runs the company since 1993. She can boast to be Ledaal’s vital core. Alongside her, we find the ever-present husband: Steffen Wesnes, the two sons: Thomas and Morten and the daughter Hannah.

2

Photo credit Ledaal

The weaving workshop is an essential part of the Wesnes Hærem family. An unstoppable passion sustains the work of this well-oiled team despite hardships. Cathrine and Steffen have always believed in what they do, finding pleasure in creating their products from beginning to end. Determination walks together with a positive attitude for a lifestyle that is shaped around the needs of the family company. The 70 years-long traditions of Ledaal comes forward in the company’s distinctive design. Cathrine loves to be inspired by her father’s drawings. Found in scattered notes, made yellow by time, she just adds small changes transforming them into appealing products.

Found scribbled onto old yellowed paper, simple drawings bring to us harmonies patterns. Together with some dusty woollen threads, they also remind us of coloured surfaces. These models feature a 70s aesthetic that Cathrine says is now back in fashion especially among young people.

Photo credit Ledaal

The weaver, who is also the head designer, has been able, over the years, to modify the carpet’s style according to the latest trends. Introducing small variations on a good recipe that captures and meets the needs of society.

And Ledaal’s carpets are Norwegian!

They cannot be defined otherwise. Thought to be placed on wooden floors, in wooden houses. Surrounded by the soft colours typical of the minimalist furniture of these areas of northern Europe, Ledaal rugs match not only with the interior style of the houses but also with the environment outside the walls of the houses. They recall the colours of the ocean, the wind that blows incessantly and the soft light of the long winter days. Sometimes, in the city of Stavanger, it seems that grey envelops you until you slowly doze off in its embrace.

So, also Ledaal’s palette has always been inspired by these shades of pale blue and blue: cold; of greys: neutral, of browns: muddy, of beige: blanch, of pink: faint.

Photo credit Ledaal

Sometimes, a touch of vibrancy and saturated colour appear sprinkled onto the striped surfaces.

Like the flashes of light that strike you abruptly at these latitudes, the wild green of the mosses or the deep orange of the lichens (typical of the wild and muddy nature of these places) sometimes come into play. The memory of nature thus enters the domestic space which otherwise would remain peaceful, silent and steaming like coffee (drunk by the litre to counteract the drowsiness of certain endless winter days). What makes these carpets so special is that they are unique pieces, difficult to replicate. The wool used is mostly from Norway while the warp linen is supplied by industry in the Biella area.

The making takes place with old industrial looms dating back to 1880.

Photo credit Ledaal

The mechanical parts of these rattling giants were produced between 1860 and 1954. Nowadays they are definitely out of production. Thus, every time a piece of gear wears out (and this occurs cyclically) it’s a real crisis among the weavers. Will it be possible, this time, to reproduce the same bolt? To change a micro gear?

Photo credit Ledaal

These fascinating survivors from a time far gone, still mysteriously function with fewer and fewer pieces available. Steffen tells us that a new Devold loom has recently joined the team and this is only 50 or 60 years old. Cathrine and Steffen are deeply attached to these heavy machinery that must not be modified if not when strictly necessary. Here, the production is performed almost as it was 50 years ago: with a synchronic dance between human an machine. Time, in the weaving workshop, is marked by the rusty noise of the looms and the shuttle’s breath, pushed into the warp with a push of compressed air.

The Ledaal thread is unique, made by rolling 3 to 6 threads of wool around a central jute thread. The machines that produce it must be closely watched as they whirl around generating, in addition to the twisting, deafening noise and freezing wind.

Photo credit Ledaal

Leedal design is unique because these machines give the possibility to mix colours according to the customer’s needs. This has led Ledaal to produce rugs on commission for demanding clients, including the major churches in the country as well as the Norwegian royal family. When it comes to ecclesiastical architecture, the company must work under the strict control of the specific authority proposing a product that takes into account space and liturgical elements.

Photo credit Ledaal

Ledaal rugs have also been commissioned by public spaces and have often supported and inspired the work of international textile artists.

Lately, alongside the carpets, the company has begun the production of pillows and soft woollen ponchos.

Photo credit Ledaal

Ledaal products appeal to many: the ones longing for traditions and the ones that like a modern but warm design.  With their simple and up-to-date aesthetics, these carpets show us the importance of know-how given by years of experience and bring us the warmth of handmade products, essential for a life near the fjord and elsewhere.