For three generations, our focus has been on working with wool: from the raw fibre to the finished product, whilst retaining focus on good raw materials, excellent processing and high quality. Silkeborg Uldspinderi was established in 1987, but our know-how with regard to the material goes all the way back to the 1940s when Ludvig Bruun Olsen founded the spinning mill that later formed the basis of Silkeborg Uldspinderi. Today, a third-generation Olsen sits at the helm, and he is in the process of transforming the family business from a typical manufacturing company to a modern Danish design brand with a focus on fine craftsmanship and sustainable design.
Unification of craftsmanship and design
When Jesper Castillo Olsen took over the reins of the company from his father Jesper Olsen in 2017, it was with the vision of combining the our unique knowledge of wool and its many properties with a new approach to design and the knowledge of textiles possessed by Denmark’s many capable artisans and textile designers. Future development is based on ensuring that craftsmanship and design become equal components in product development.
The idea of marrying design and craftsmanship is not entirely new for us, however. Our first designs took place as long ago as 1990 when weaver Kamma Gudmand-Høyer designed throws that had roots in the Scandinavian tradition. Almost another 20 years went by before the next collaboration saw the light of day - this time with textile designer Tina Ratzer, who took the initial step of contacting us. This collaboration really opened our eyes to the importance of design. “Twist a Twill” was such a great success and opened so many new doors at home and abroad that we had, in reality, made our first modern design classic.
Design and craftsmanship hand-in-hand
It is also this collaboration that has formed the basis for future design collaborations, which will be a strategic focal point for us in its endeavours to become the woollen throw´s uncrowned design icon.
It is a vital criterion that new collaborations in design take place with respect for craftsmanship and on the terms of the wool. The creative process is therefore often rooted in craftsmanship in close collaboration between us, and the designers in order to ensure that the design is compatible with both material and craftsmanship.
A sense of wool
The raw wool has always been the focal point for us, whilst the fascination of wool as a unique natural material has remained intact over the years. Wool is blessed with endless possibilities, as it differs depending on which sheep it is taken from and from where on the planet it originates. In addition, processes such as the spinning of the yarn, the weaving and finishing all enable a world of possibilities in terms of creating attractive and high-quality products.
We have kept up with developments in raw material and expertise throughout the world and has established our own offices in Peru and Lithuania, where manufacturing also takes place. The alpaca lives in Peru, whilst in Lithuania knowledge and professional competencies with regard to textiles has been developed to reach a high level of international expertise.