Since 1996, Lotta Jansdotter has captivated a global audience with her iconic Scandinavian print patterns. Today, her name is synonymous with timeless design and organic motifs, and the designer, author, and teacher shares her unique approach and experience through exclusive retreats in the Åland Islands, her beloved birthplace.

With AI encroaching on the artistic fields, working with your hands, feeling the texture of the material, and letting the tactility guide you may be one of the few uniquely human modes of creation left. It is this process of manual creation, exploration, and interplay between matter and creator which inspires and characterises the work of Jansdotter. This, alongside a strong Scandinavian design identity and inspiration from the nature of the Åland Islands, is what has made the self-taught designer and artist a force within her field.

Lotta Jansdotter: Exploring and expanding in a world of manual creation

The tactility of drawing and printing manually is at the core of Lotta Jansdotter’s work.

Jansdotter started her company, Lotta Jansdotter, 27 years ago. “I have done a lot of different things, worked with magazines and written about my work and style of life throughout my career,” she says. “What keeps coming up is my process – I refuse to use technology and always have; I create all my designs by hand by cutting shapes out of paper, drawing with pens and using my hand carved blocks. I never use photoshop or Illustrator. I could do it, I know how to do it, but I choose not to do it. I want to feel the crinkly paper, touch the glue, get ink on my fingers and cut with my hands – this process is very tactile and very important to me – my creative process is my meditation.”

Born in the Åland Islands in Finland, Jansdotter today lives and works predominantly in Montclair NJ, US, but spends her summers in Åland where she runs her coveted summer retreats. Recently, she has set up a summer studio or, as she calls it, ‘her playhouse’ in Åland – soon to open to the public.

Lotta Jansdotter: Exploring and expanding in a world of manual creation

A global career

Jansdotter’s remarkable design adventure began when the then 19-year-old moved to California where she, after a stint at community college and a screen-printing course, began selling her simple, organic, hand-screened home accessories to local design stores. In the decades to follow, collaborations with major design stores, furniture designers, museums, and makers followed, and Jansdotter’s motifs were found on a wide range of products, from fabric, rugs, and bedding to elegant dishes, stylish luggage, and exquisite paper goods.

Furthermore, her creations have graced the pages of renowned publications such as Elle Decor, The New York Times, and O Magazine, and her artwork and sketchbooks has been exhibited in various art institutions and galleries. However, Jansdotter’s influence extends far beyond her designs. With 16 books on lifestyle, travel, and sewing under her belt and a decade of collaborations on the Japanese market, the designer has a following all over the world.

During the later years, however, the designer has placed a greater emphasis on individual one-of-a-kind works. “I am in a phase where I stopped licensing because I don’t like the mass production, so I pulled out and cleaned up,” she explains.

As part of this process, Jansdotter has initiated a bespoke collection of limited hand screenprinted fabric by the yard. The collection will launch this fall and, like her hand-printed cushions, table linens and original artworks, will be available to purchase from her website.

Lotta Jansdotter: Exploring and expanding in a world of manual creation

Lotta Jansdotter is launching a new handprinted collection of fabric by the yard this autumn.

Åland retreats

Though Jansdotter today lives in the city, the beauty of her home region and the special connection she felt with nature growing up “running barefoot on the cliffs” is something she continues to return to and explore, in both work and life. “Åland is where I am from, it’s in my backbone – that special connection with nature is in my DNA,” she stresses.

In 2014, Jansdotter arranged her first Print Workshop and Nature Retreat on Åland. This annual event has become a coveted experience, with tickets for this summer’s retreat selling out in ten minutes. Surrounded by the archipelago’s unique natural beauty, Jansdotter guides participants through various simple printing techniques to create cherished items to take home.

But it is just as much about creating memories, so on top of courses and incredible meals prepared from local produce, the retreat offers ample time for exploration, swimming, and spontaneous adventures. “I try not to have too much scheduled, so there’s an element of surprise – it’s also about enabling people to get out of their everyday routines, to play, feel free and connect with their creative side,” says Jansdotter.

Following her own advice, she has recently begun working with galleries, putting her work on canvas rather than utility and design items – a challenge she admits is scary but exciting. “So far, I have been painting on paper, but I am getting really excited about working on canvas. It’s a new place for me to be, but I also need to be pushed a bit to keep growing.”

Lotta Jansdotter: Exploring and expanding in a world of manual creation

Lotta Jansdotter’s Print Workshop and Nature Retreat on Åland has become a bit of a phenomenon, with tickets selling out in ten minutes for this year’s retreat.
Instagram: @lottajansdotter
Facebook: Lotta Jansdotter Official Page
Bookings for next year’s retreats open on 30 September.


Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Receive our monthly newsletter by email

    I accept the Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy