Märta Måås-Fjetterström (1873-1941) grew up in the small town of Vadstena as the daughter of a vicar. After studies at the Higher Art Industrial School in Stockholm she worked as art teacher in Jönköping. Subsequently she worked for the Association for the Cultural History of Southern Sweden, an open air museum in Lund, in 1902. During this time Märta Måås-Fjetterström started sketching models for fabrics.
The designs that she showed in the Stockholm Exhibition in 1909 were later bought by the Röhsska Museum. She sketched the rug “Sankt Göran och draken” for the Baltic Exhibition in Malmö in 1914. The striking fabrics drew the attention of Ludvig Nobel (nephew of Alfred Nobel) and in 1919 he offered Märta Måås-Fjetterström to open a studio Båstad, a small town in southern Sweden. From here on Märta focused on creating rugs, but she also produced drapes. During her life Märta Måås Fjetterström and her weaving studio received a number of prestigious assignments, but the breakthrough was 1934 with an exhibition at Liljevalchs Art hall together with designers Elsa Gullberg, Carl Malmsten and Svenskt Tenn.
Märta Måås-Fjetterström stayed in Båstad until her death. The surrounding nature was her never ending source of inspiration. She stylized flowers, leaves and the occasional horse with great artistic skill and placed them in the rich splendor that were her rugs. She employed local weavers to weave anything from large parade piles such as Svarta trädgårdsmattan (the Black Garden rug), and Örtagården (the Herb Garden), to the ingeniously simple modernistic composition Blå Bårdmattan (Blue edge rug), in Swedish kilim technique.
After the death of Märta Måås-Fjetterström the workshop was transformed into the company AB MMF. Here the rich treasure of patterns left by Märta Måås-Fjetterström are managed and renewed. Barbro Nilsson was employed as artistic leader, and together with Ann-Mari Forsberg and Marianne Richter, the company was renewed. Barbro Sprinchorn was employed in 1955, and later also Kaisa Melanton. the architect trio Claesson Koivisto Rune launched three new Swedish Kilim rugs in 2006.
Märta Måås-Fjetterström is represented in a number of large museums, such as the Louvre in Paris and the National Museum in Stockholm.
Märta Måås-Fjetterström’s rugs and tapestries are all signed by the studio in Båstad. The signature varies based on whether the item was made before or after the death of Märta Måås-Fjetterström in 1941. You will find that the description of the item often states if the item is made before or after 1942. This is how to decipher the signatures.
- MMF in the left-hand corner means that the rug / tapestry is made according to Märta Måås-Fjetterström’s pattern and before 1942. It is also possible that Märta herself has inspected it.
- AB MMF in the left-hand corner means the item was manufactured after 1942 and after the death of Märta Måås-Fjetterström.
- If there is a signature in the right corner, is means Märta Måås-Fjetterström has not designed the rug. For example, it could be BN, who became artistic leader of AB MMF when Märta Måås-Fjetterström died in 1941. The signature will then normally be AB MMF in the left-hand corner and BN in the right hand corner.
- Some items are not marked at all. This is probably because the pattern covers also the far edges of the tapestry, and there has been no room for a signatures. This applies mainly to tablecloths.
- The weaver have often marked the rug / tapestry by weaving in different color plots.
- An unmarked item, with patterns from MMF, normally means it has not been woven in the studio but at the home of a weaver. It may of course also be a copy of an original.