The rugs by Swedish textile artist Barbro Nilsson are often characterized by her strong sense of colours that she used in a picturesque way to create depth, contrast or interplay of different tonalities. She lived by the seaside and was inspired by the ocean and the movement of the waves that she transformed into abstract motifs. The present rug is no exception. Its name “Krabban” – “The crab” – might both refer to its strong red color that evoques the redness of a crab and to the patterns of delicate fine lines in the sand that emerge when crabs or other small water living animals dig or move around in the shallows.
In contrast to several other designers of rugs, Barbro Nilsson was in fact capable of weaving her own motifs. She had been trained at a weaving school in Stockholm and had a profound knowledge of the possibilities of the different weaving techniques. During the years 1947-1957 she was assigned to the art and design school Konstfack in Stockholm as a teacher in weaving and in 1942 she was appointed as artistic director of the renowned Swedish weaver Märta Måås-Fjetterström’s textile workshop in Båstad in the southwestern part of Sweden. The workshop was an epicentre for Swedish textile art and Barbro Nilsson was to ensure the transmission and development of the craftsmanship and artistic work. Nilsson held this position through to 1970 and during the almost three decades she directed the workshop she managed to maintain a living environment alongside with her own prolific production of rugs with motifs inspired by nature and folkloric art, of which many are still in production.