Tempting Violet

Agnes Branting was a real entrepreneur, creating a whole new market. She became the CEO of Handarbetets Vänner in 1891 and the year after she embarked on a journey to Berlin that had a huge impact on her, the organisation and the churches in Sweden. There she visited an exhibition for religious art and several textile studios.

In 1904 she started the textile company Licium, aiming at developing and producing religious textile for Swedish protestant churches. Until her death in 1930, more than 1600 textile items were produced. The name of the company was cleverly chosen, since it refers to a special knot used in weaving, joining new threads to the old abb.

However, I think the most impressive innovation was that she (re)introduced the five liturgical colours: red, white, black, green and violet/blue. Thereby she also created a market, where of course every church needed textile material not only in one colour, but in five.

In 2004, I had the opportunity to see the exhibition "Textil konst för själen" (Textile Art for the Soul) at the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm, and I was impressed by the beautiful chasubles made by the artists at Licium.

My favourite colour (not only in the liturgical context) is violet. Apparently, this is the colour for reflection and penance. A good fit, I suppose. It's also the colour for the lent period, that starts now!

From Christmas 2014

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