Mill Valley passion for Swedish design
Bonnie Wells has some very inspirational stories to tell about her trips through Sweden. She believes Scandinavia is one of the most important places for textiles, and after a few trips to Sweden and many other European countries, she decided to open a store, partly based on imported textiles.
”I saw the interest, the high control of design and quality,” Wells says when I interview her on a sunny Tuesday morning. Textiles have always been a passion for her. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in textiles and painting, as well as a master's degree in textile art. She calls herself more of an artist than a businesswoman, but if you ask me, I say that passion makes business. Wells opened her store Material Grace in Mill Valley in mid-February and has seen a real interest and curiosity for her store since day one.
During her trips to Sweden she became amazed with the quality, control and design. Textiles like those she saw are hard to find in the U.S., Wells says.
Sweden has a specific tradition when it comes to textiles. They are simple and beautiful; the Swedes work really hard to keep it that way and keep the tradition in the textile industry alive. Wells has seen much of the Swedish industry through her trips, from Ystad in the south to Östersund in the north.
Today, approximately one-third of her interior design collection—such as table top linens, runners and more—is imported from Sweden, much of which is inspired by her road trips and tradeshow visits.
Wells does not doubt that there is an interest for Swedish as well as other European textiles in San Francisco. From what she has seen so far, people are curious and amazed at what beautiful textiles she has to offer. She doesn't only sell material but also products she has made.
She believes that Scandinavia may be the most trendy and important place for textiles. When I ask her if and when she is going back to Sweden, Wells says “Of course! Hopefully I can be there in August to see the Formex tradeshow in Stockholm.” Her dream is to expand her business even further so she can one day expand her long printing table. Just like the one she once saw in Sweden.
Written by Cecilia Nylander