Thursday, November 05, 2009

ikea musings and tea towels

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Admittedly I am not one of those who swoon from the whispers of the name that begins with an I continue with a K, E and ends with A. A major part of my childhood was lived in the vicinity of the largest and most famous IKEA department store ever - built in 1965 and the second one opened situated in Kungens Kurva in the southern outskirts of Stockholm - and most families I knew back then were pretty frequent visitors to that store.

I think many people found it pretty awesome that good (?) design suddenly was available for all wallets and the siren calls of modern, new, mass produced and cheap were irresistable. The many - now more obvious - back sides to the new and very shiny coin were nowhere to be seen.

Yes, I can see the founder of IKEA, Ingvar Kamprad, as a clever, ingenious and in parts inspirational businessman. But I'm far from sure that I find the fact that the IKEA phenomena has spread over the world like a wildfire, as something Sweden should be all that proud about. For many reasons. Some of the reasons for that are the fact that I wholeheartedly advocate

:: small-scaleness production,
:: long-lived handcrafted quality.
:: add preferably with a quirky uniqueness.
:: not to mention, with those prices, how ethically sourced is the production, what about obvious criterias as organic and fairtrade?

So with few exceptions I rarely frequent IKEA as a grown up. The things the brand stands for do quite the opposite than speak to my heart. Apart from my Billy book-shelves - so far 10 of them, I claim pure necessity - I pride myself in not shopping IKEA.

There are the odd case when the above well advocated criterias meet IKEA and makes sweet love together. One such case being the rather brilliant, previously mentioned, 'I wish we had IKEA' tea towels made by South African designer Heather Moore with her brand Skinny la Minx available on Etsy.

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Even if I may say that one probably should not be so unhappy about not having an IKEA store nearby, I do love the quirky thought and end product. The orange towel I kept for myself, the grey one was a gift to someone who actually is a great fan of IKEA - being a woman in her forties whose goal in life still is to be working at IKEA when she grows up. Oh indeed we all have our different dreams - and she loved it, for every reason.

And such people, the ones who frequent IKEA a lot, do know their way around the product-names (imagine that) thus spotted a misspelling on sweet towels; table Leksvig 's proper name is table Leksvik.

Despite me being an upstanding member of the spelling squad wouldn't have spotted that for the world and I really don't care - see I can be as word mellow as the next one - because the towels are quirky and personal, cute and snazzy. And a pretty darn perfect gift to anyone who happens to think (imagine that) that IKEA is one of the most amazing places for shopping there is. Plus, the tea towels have been thoroughly paw approved.

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Dotty kitty prefered the grey version
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Whilst liquorice fellow chose orange
(a cat after my own heart)

Upon receiving the tea towels I also had a revelation of the uttermost Malte kind. The little loafie extraordinaire has obviously made a firm paw print at IKEA too - there's a bar stool pluming the Malte name. Of course nothing like the real deal on four legs, and a comfy arm chair had been a better choice for the distinguished name, but still cool cats dig bar stools as well as tea towels.

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3 comments:

Heather Moore said...

Pia, this is such a lovely post with such beautiful photos of the tea towels I sent you (I picked it up through Google Alerts). I'm delighted that you like the tea towels, and interested to read your views about IKEA. One thing I often say when people ask me about this design is that I also quite like NOT having IKEA, because often the dream is a lot better than reality, and it's nice to believe in your dreams.

So pleased the kitties approved too!

xx

Forever Feline said...

Aaah IKEA! We do not have an IKEA in South Africa and so when we were in the UK 2 months ago I walked around the store with eyes and mouth wide open :)
I do however also prefer hand crafted unique items but I was quite envious when it came to all the kitchen accessories and the other little trinkets at such good prices.
I bought a "toy tunnel" for my cats which they love!

I love your tea towels :)

Pia K said...

thanks, heather! the feedback can be found at etsy too:) to believe in dreams is very important, i agree.

thanks, forever feline, cat tunnels are great fun (if your a cat;) i have them too, though strangely enough not from ikea, hm...:)

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