A brief history...
Maybe it all started when we moved out to the countryside in 1984.
In the country you´re supposed to have animals.
Somewhere I had read that you could make money from the wool of Angora rabbits. I decided to buy a few and before long I had plenty of them as well as scratches on my arms. You had to cut the fur by hand and the rabbits didn´t always agree with me on how this was going to be done.Howewer, I certainly didn´t get rich as many others had gotten the same idea and the price of wool dropped.
After a while it wasn´t any point trying to continue. But I had lots of wool and started to spin, dye and design different patterns and found out that I really loved working with wool.
At some time or another I learned how to "tova*" but not in my craft class. I didn´t make anybody happy there, especially not my teachers. It was a lot later that I learned how to "tova*". Working as a music teacher I had to help out during a theme day to show the students how to do it. I got rid of my angora rabbits, bought sheep´s wool and got started. At first without any plans at all but then I found out about a Christmas fair to be held in Gislaved and made a few "tomtar". To my great surprise people bought them and wanted more! Maybe this was going to amount to something? Selling my own crafts would be great but could I make a living doing it?
The sheep from the Swedish island of Gotland are unique. Using their curly grey wool along with warm water and soap, we create a felt that is then handshaped into caps and noses.
The sheepskin is turned into beards and hair. We also use sheepskin from Icelandic sheep, which have a long straight fleece in a variety of colors.
Many different products were made in the neighbourhood. Some of the crafters I already knew and I established contacts with many others. I finally made up my mind to start my own business. We built a small workshop in 1993 and called it "Åsas Tomtebod". Would I have been daring enough to take that step if my family hadn´t been in business since their youth? Maybe not so perhaps it all has it´s roots from my childhood? The workshop just barely made a living but my own products became very popular, I made jackets, boots, witches, trolls and "tomtar".
After a while I started to think that maybe not only people nearby would be intersted. I had already showed my products in Halmstad, Tällberg in Dalarna and in Gothenburg so maybe that was something to think about?
I finally took the step and signed up for the big Formex exhibit in Stockholm. The year was 2000 and that was the start of the big change. When I got back from Stockholm I sold out everything that was left and the shop became the centre for the production of my own "tomtar".
It became "Åsas Tomtebod" for real and I had found my calling.
* Tova- Mixing the wool with soap and warm water to make felt.