Embark on a vivid exploration of textile landscapes with Thilda Olsson, a rising talent in the realm of textile art. Fresh from graduating with a Bachelor's in Textile Art from HDK-Valand in 2021, Thilda has swiftly made her mark, boasting her first solo exhibition and completing a public commission. With an intuitive blend of tufting and pearl bead embroidery, Thilda's pieces evoke a sense of wonder and contemplation, blurring the boundaries between reality and imagination.

Join us as we unravel the intricacies of Thilda Olsson's artistic vision and celebrate her contributions to the vibrant world of textile artistry.

The following interview has been edited and condensed.


COMA: Hi Thilda! You graduated from the Bachelor's in Textile Art from HDK-Valand in 2021. Can you tell us what you've been up to since then?

Thilda: Since then, I've had my first solo exhibition and completed my first public commission, both of which I’m very grateful for! I also got my own studio and, alongside my artistic practice, juggled two extra jobs.

COMA: Your recent body of work is characterized by the use of tufting and pearl bead embroidery. Could you describe how you conceptualize with these techniques, and what your creative process looks like?

Thilda: It typically starts with the materials and colors for me. I'm a collector of yarns and find combining them, both in terms of color and material, to be crucial to my practice. Although I sketch extensively, my process is often intuitive and playful. I enjoy setting myself small tasks and constraints, such as working within specific shapes or forms. This approach allows for experimentation with tufting and embroidery, which offer contrasting tempos that reflect my temperament.

COMA: We admire the vibrant colors and intricate patterns in your work, reminiscent of ecosystems seen from a bird's-eye view. Could you elaborate on the themes and ideas behind your pieces?

Thilda: I view my work as landscapes or fragments of nature straddling the line between fiction and reality. I explore our relationship with nature by depicting various terrains and surroundings. Inspired by natural phenomena and the tension between artificial and natural elements, my work draws from sources like algae blooms, maps, memories of places, and aerial photographs. I seek out color combinations and patterns from everyday life, translating them through textile materials to evoke themes of growth and vitality.

COMA: Tufting has gained popularity in recent years, partly due to social media. How has your experience been with social media, and have you benefited from the increased demand for tufting content?

Thilda: I believe it's fantastic that textile art is receiving well-deserved attention, inspiring people to engage in creative endeavors. Although it's challenging to quantify the impact, the accessibility and affordability of tufting tools have certainly been beneficial.

COMA: Do you see the surge in interest in tufting and textile art as prevalent in Sweden as it is in other countries like the US and Canada?

Thilda: There has definitely been a noticeable trend in Sweden. Textile art has gained more recognition in recent years, leading to increased interest in learning textile techniques. Popular crafts like crocheting and knitting have also seen a resurgence, likely influenced by social media.

COMA: Shifting gears, what improvements do you think could be made in the Swedish art sector to support artists' career growth?

Thilda: From an educational perspective, there's a need for better preparation for post-graduate work life. Basic knowledge on starting and managing a business as an artist is lacking. I believe incorporating this into the curriculum would be beneficial, along with providing more hands-on experience and transparency in areas like grant applications and public commissions.

COMA: Lastly, what can we expect from you in 2024?

Thilda: Apart from being a part of your fiber dream drop, I'll be spending a lot of time in my studio. I'm working towards two solo exhibitions in 2025, so this year will be dedicated to exploring and experimenting with ideas!

March, 2024 - COMA Editorial team