Product news: London print designers Eley Kishimoto teamed up with Icelandic design collective Vík Prjónsdóttir for DesignMarch in Reykjavík last week, where they presented a seal-shaped blanket inspired by an Icelandic folk tale.
Above: photograph c/o Eley Kishimoto
First designed by Vík Prjónsdóttir in 2005, the Seal Pelt was designed in reference to the mythical story about a woman who has to choose between being a seal or a human and is transformed after clothing herself with a seal's skin and fur.
The "remixed" Seal Pelt features a pattern of squirrel graphics by Eley Kishimoto. Guðfinna Mjöll Magnúsdóttir of Vík Prjónsdóttir told Dezeen: "The Seal Pelt has now been united with the great squirrel. These two animals, that until now have not been in a close relationship, will from this moment be knitted together."
The designers presented the Seal Pelt at the Culture House during DesignMarch. They also showed Papageno, a stripy blanket inspired by the colourful feathers of a parrot, which is the latest addition in the bird collection. Other blankets in this range include The Raven, The Flamingo and The Swan.
Above: The Swan
Each piece is woven from Icelandic sheep's wool.
Above: The Flamingo
Above: The Raven
Design March took place from 14 to 17 March.
Photography is by Ari Magg, apart from where otherwise stated.
Here's some more information about the Seal Pelt and Papageno:
The Seal Pelt - Folktale
In the Icelandic myths, seals are believed to be condemned by humans. One ancient story from the south of Iceland is about a farmer who early one morning finds a seal pelt laying on the beach. In a cave nearby, he hears voices and music. He takes the seal pelt home and hides it in a wooden chest. Few days later he returns to the beach and finds a crying, naked, young woman sitting on a rock. He brings her to his house where she stays, but he never tells her about the pelt. As time goes by they get married and have children. But the young woman is restless and often stares quietly out of the window at the ocean. One day when the farmer goes fishing, his wife accidentally finds the key of the chest, opens it and discovers the missing pelt. She takes leave of her children, puts the pelt on and before she dives into the ocean she says: “ I am vary anxious, with seven children on land an seven in the sea.” She never comes back but the farmer misses her terribly. Later when he goes fishing there often is a seal near his boat and its eyes are filled with tears. It is said that the farmer becomes a very lucky fisherman. And when his children play at the beach there often is a seal swimming close to land. Sometimes it brings them beautiful stones and colorful fishes. But their mother never returned.
The Papageno is a new blanket from Vík Prjónsdóttir and a part of the evolving bird blanket collection. The birds that have until now been part of the Vík Prjónsdóttir collection are the Sea Eagle and the Raven, both of these birds play a big role in the wildlife of Iceland. The Papageno represents the parrot, a bird that is very exciting and exotic in the eyes of Vík Prjónsdóttir.