Member Spotlight – Hemslöjd

Member Spotlight – Hemslöjd

When Ken Sjögren started carving and painting Dala horse signs in his garage over 40 years ago, he couldn’t have foreseen that Hemslöjd, the gift shop he would start with neighbor Ken Swisher in 1984 would sell tens of thousands of Dala horses. In fact, that shop at 201 North Main Street in Lindsborg sold its 49,000th horse just in time for the February 29th Chamber Connection.

Corey Peterson who, with his wife, bought Hemslöjd in 2011, shared the history of the business for the Chamber Connection attendees. As he spoke the crowd could also watch Riley, a talented Bethany art student, hand paint Dala horses carved in the shop. Hemslöjd, (pronounced hem-sloyd) which means “handicraft” in Swedish, is similar to Swedish shops where you can watch the artisans work in the back.

Dala horses started centuries ago in Sweden when men in the army or timber industry would be out for long periods of time with little to do since there was no electricity in those days. There were plenty of trees so they would carve the animals that were important to them, then bring them home to their families where the wives would apply Swedish folk art to them. Skills for creating the Dala horse have been passed from generation to generation in Sweden and today it is one of the few living folk traditions of that country. Today the Dala horse is recognized as an unofficial symbol of Sweden throughout Swedish-America.

In addition to Dala horses, Hemslöjd creates other Swedish-style wooden items such as clocks and door-harps. They also custom-etch glassware and ship it all over the country. This is in addition to the many Swedish and Scandinavian gifts, foods, and more filling the shelves of the shop.

Hemslöjd produces a 40-page catalog every year and ships product around the world. In fact, the catalog and internet business eclipses the sales conducted in the actual gift shop. They print and distribute about 40,000 copies of the catalog, to give you a picture of the scope.

Hemslöjd is open seven days per week so stop in and see the many Swedish and Scandinavian items they have to offer or browse the selection on their website. Follow them on Facebook and be sure to check out photos from the February 29th Chamber Connection.