The story behind collection Signatur

Written by Johanna Vestlin, 17 November, 2016

Enthusiastic and friendly meetings, laughter and tears of joy – that was the backdrop to our work as we developed the Signatur wallpaper collection. This makes the warmth that greeted the launch of the collection and the work of Joy Zandén, Lillo Wikstrand, Ylva Källström-Eklund and Dagmar Lodén extra special.


We followed our hearts when we created the Signatur collection. It all began when Joy Zandén and her daughter Jessica caught the eye of our Creative Director, Hanna Wendelbo-Hansson, with Joy’s amazing and untouched originals from the 1950s. Take a look at Elle Decoration’s delightful interview with Joy.


On a sunny spring day, Hanna and I visited Joy at her wonderful home in Särö, outside Gothenburg. All the beautiful originals were spread across the floor and we discussed them back and forth with Joy and her daughter, Jessica. The pattern which later became Särö was a hidden treasure only preserved as a black-and-white photograph. After 60 years, Joy had bought new paints and attempted to recreate the pattern and original colours from memory, just to give us a better feel for the concept.


Once back in the studio, Hanna accepted the challenge of turning the black-and-white photo into an original suited for our collagraphy machine. To achieve the appropriate hand-drawn look, the obvious choice was paintbrush and gouache.


It was a great day for us at the factory when Joy came along to watch her patterns being printed for the first time. Although she was suffering from lumbago, she was radiantly happy as she discussed the printing technique. She showed a real appreciation of the work that we do, day in and day out. 


We have Lillo’s granddaughter, Johanna Gartmyr, to thank for her inclusion in the collection. Johanna is also a designer, and the author of the inspiring blog, aprillaprill. Lillo Wikstrand was the last name to be added to the collection when Johanna, with amazing timing, contacted Hanna and showed her her grandmother’s beautiful embroidery and patterns. It was immediately obvious that Lillo would be a natural addition to the Sandberg range.


After a great deal of correspondence, including the matching of patterns and colours, it felt so good to welcome Johanna at the factory when her grandmother’s beautiful clover meadow was being printed by our collagraphy machine. I know that Johanna dreams of continuing her grandmother’s artistic work, and I really hope that she will be able to realise her plans one day…


I first started considering Ylva when I spotted a copy of the song book ”Våra Visor” and its imaginative illustrations on my parent’s bookshelf. I was not familiar with Ylva Källström-Eklund, but the search lead me to her daughter Erika’s blog, where she records her mother’s artistic work.


Ylva spent all her life working as an illustrator in the publishing industry. It turned out that there was quite a range of dust jackets and cover papers with heart-meltingly beautiful patterns and shapes typical of the era.


To maintain the hand-drawn look, I continued to draw her designs by hand when I interpreted them into a wallpaper pattern.


We discovered Dagmar Loden through the wonderful treasure-trove of patterns on Jobs Handtryck, and after contacting Dagmar’s daughter, Marina, it turned out that there were several beautiful patterns which were no longer in production. We asked our designer, Sara Bergqvist, to reinterpret the magnificent thistles, with a repeat of almost 3 metres on the original fabric, into something that would fit our collagraphy machine, while still doing the patterns justice.


After a long hunt for patterns and working on the details it was sheer joy when Tistlarna rolled off the machine. A more satisfying experience is hard to find.

This collection has been great fun to work with, in so many different ways. We have come to know these women and their exciting lives, and learned from their creativity. 

Johanna Vestlin, Designer/Sandberg Wallpaper