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Gunilla Lagerbielke


Gunilla Lagerbielke (1926–2013) was a Swedish textile artist who exerted considerable influence on arts and crafts in Sweden as a result of her heading Konstfack and chairing the Swedish Arts Grants Committee. She is also remembered for the textile works she created with her husband Lars Johanson which were exhibited in Gothenburg in 1970.

Born on July 24, 1926, she was brought up by her mother in the centre of Stockholm after her father passed. On matriculating from an all-girls school, she studied textile art at the Konstfackskolan school, located at Mäster Samuelsgatan in Stockholm. She found that the textile work department could suit her, and created textile art. After her studies were finished, Lagerbielke found herself participating in various exhibitions while working in the textiles business, making curtain collections for Håkansson's Kinna plants and mats for Svängsta Mattfabrik in Blekinge. She soon married Lars Johanson and the couple proceeded to create textile works together.

After their divorce, her career branched off and Lagerbielke started working at the Playmilla Council, an agency which developed guidelines on how preschools would be organized. Gunilla Lagerbielke became the first city council director. In 1978, she became Rector at Konstfack. In the same year, the school received college status and during the twelve years that she was head, the level of education and school status was raised. Thereafter, she received many government assignments, including the modernization of art colleges and the development of art in public places. In the 1990s, she became deputy head of the Swedish Art Grants Committee and head of the Swedish Visual Arts Foundation. In particular, she was effective in developing a more international approach to the work of these bodies, improving Sweden's worldwide image.

It wasn’t until towards the end of her life when Lagerbielke decided to go back to her textile works. She exhibited at the Galleri Inger Molin in 2004, 2006 and 2012, and mainly focused on designs with embroidery. She died on August 15, 2013 and her legacy is carried on by her daughter, Erika Lagerbielke who went on to be a glass designer.

Swedish Flat Weave