Monday, October 1, 2018

Gudrun Sjödén—A Colourful Universe

I recently visited the American Swedish Institute and discovered the colorful world of Gudrun Sjödén, an artist known as “the watercolor-painting entrepreneur.” On view from July 27 through October 28, 2018, this bold exhibition, Gudrun Sjödén—A Colourful Universe, celebrates Gudrun Sjödén’s illustrious career as a Swedish textile designer and a global entrepreneur.  

Gudrun’s whimsical, feminine aesthetic is inspired by Swedish folk art, nature, and global motifs. Her designs are characterized by bold colors and big patterns: florals, zigzags, stripes, and polka dots. She founded her company over 40 years ago in Stockholm and the Gudrun Sjödén brand now has a presence around the world with 22 international stores. “Our colorful customers can be found all over the world. They are strong, self-actualized women who express their personalities. We aim to inspire women to make a statement and be seen.”  
  
Although she is very connected to the art of her brand, she also understands business and still leads the company as the CEO. Her motto: “Mastering the numbers is fundamental for creative freedom.” In January 2018, Sjödén received the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for “best international growth.” Her artistic passion fuels her entrepreneurial spirit. Gudrun Sjödén is a living brand.

“I am a watercolor artist and entrepreneur,” she wrote. “Beauty to me is adding colors and patterns. Quality of life to me is living close to nature, in clothing that is comfortable and practical. My vision for my company is similar. I share a language with the women who choose to wear my clothes—they are like me. My customers and I like clothes that can be used for a long, long time.” 

The exhibition includes six unique spaces: 

  1. The Osher Gallery: Gudrun’s World: Gudrun’s watercolors come to life with garments displayed on paintbrush mannequins. 
  2. The Ballroom: Folklore Around the World: This room includes a variety of Gudrun’s folk art inspiration, including arts and crafts of Sweden, China, Japan, Estonia, and Mexico.  
  3. The Photo Room: Get a peek behind the scenes with video and still photos of models in photoshoots around the globe.
  4. The Green Room: Learn about Gudrun’s passion for a woodland aesthetic and her commitment to sustainability. 
  5. The Global Room: Explore Gudrun’s design cycle from her first watercolor sketch, through the manufacturing process, and to the final collection. 
  6. The Striped History Room: Examples of Gudrun’s designs over the years are on display, highlighting their timeliness quality.

After strolling through the exhibit, be sure to stop by the charming museum café, FIKA, for lunch or coffee and a cardamom bun. At the base of the castle, you’ll feel like you’re on a European vacation!

Visit the exhibition: 

When: July 27-October 28, 2018
Where: American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55407


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