No, you probably haven’t missed the turn-off. Keep going down the winding roads a bit longer. Pass a few more farms and mirror-like lakes, and you’ll soon see the chimneys stretching to the sky, surrounded by a scattering of red brick buildings.
The little mill town of Fengersfors in north-eastern Dalsland is home to Not Quite. It’s the place that doesn’t really fit, but which is, at the same time, absolutely spot on. And although the flame of industry has long since been extinguished at the old paper mill, it’s now home to a burning spirit of creativity. It was here that a group of newly qualified art, design and craft students from Dalsland’s Steneby College came in the early years of the new millennium. They wanted to work and live in the countryside and travelled round half of western Sweden, hunting for the ideal location. It was when they came to Fengersfors that they found what they were looking for and a place that was once a decommissioned paper mill has now been restored to life and vibrancy. The old mill has flourished and become a centre where artists, craftsmen and women, and designers can network and create. The workshops radiate heat from ceramic kilns, forges and hot saws. The old mill buildings are home to exhibitions, galleries and stores, and tasty food made from local ingredients is served in the bistro. Not Quite has grown, step by step, since its launch back in 2002 and has become not only a contender in the art world, but a place that also, from time to time, plays host to musical events and other happenings.
One person who fell immediately for Not Quite’s charming atmosphere is Frida Ramstedt, who runs one of the Nordic region’s biggest interior design blogs, Trendenser.se. Like so many others, she was inspired by the unique environment.
Cultural centre, artists’ collective, or simply a creative place. However you choose to describe Not Quite, it’s a place that leaves no one unmoved. The raw, rustic and industrial façade provides a fascinating contrast with the bubbling creative joy and every little corner of the old paper mill is filled with creative works of art. This is truly a pulsating cultural mecca – right in the heart of the Dalsland countryside.
THEN: Paper mill NOW: Creative artists’ collective.
“Not Quite is a must-see destination or stop along the way if you like design and arts and crafts, or if you want to have lunch or take a coffee break in an inspirational environment, or even just take in the atmosphere in the wonderful buildings and exhibitions.”
Frida Ramstedt | Trendenser
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