‘Yes, we all know that life doesn’t go on forever, but why should it end right when you are in the middle of the best of times? Despite the fact that we didn’t know each other then, our paths crossed already more than 60 years ago in Åkersberga. You were maybe 19 years old and had already mapped out your life. You were going to start at Konstfack and leave Österskär for the big city. I was far from decided on what I would do with my life; I was only 9 years old. Our families were two important employers in Åkersberga, pursemaker Hydman and curtainmaker Weil. We could have taken over and both become factory owners, but that’s not what happened.

No, as everyone knows, you went to Konstfack, became a ceramic artist, met your love Bertil, went out into the world with him, and were more independent and secure than most. That it ended up being Åfors and not a larger metropolis for you and Bertil, and that Kosta-Boda became your shared workplace, has been invaluable for our glass industry.

When you entered the glassworks, the tradition still held true that artistic leadership decided the direction. You and Bertil not only became part of the artistic tradition, but also part of a design tradition in the spirit of Ellen Keys that was at least as important. It was about beauty for all, about the beautiful-yet-useful objects that we should all be able to afford to have in our homes. Unfortunately, no one can explain what happened with your glassworks in the late 1970s. Maybe some number-crunchers were at fault. Kosta-Boda lost its soul, the company’s accounts fell out of balance, and the business entered a crisis, almost ending up in bankruptcy.

When our Proventus came in as owners, we hoped that, with the help of patience and engagement, we would be able to recreate the company’s strong artistic and design tradition, thereby establishing security and survival.

At the first board meeting with us as owners in 1982, I asked you and Bertil to contribute by stating your view of the company’s situation. Bertil was objective and, with all of his experience and sensitivity, gave his perspective. You, on the other hand, explained loud and clear that you definitely didn’t intend to participate in a collaboration with a capitalist like me.

You had absolutely no interest in creating any closeness in any shape or form. I had no place here. It was so typically you, Ulrica, to give your view so pointedly and coldly—which I only later understood was simply a part of a very special personality, one filled with warmth and acuity. I actually believe that already then, you had the sense that capital could actually create freedom and independence, that your family background as a factory owner’s daughter had perhaps given you that. Besides, you became a little bit curious about who I was. We became best friends. And Kosta-Boda went full steam ahead thanks to the increasing influence of the artists and designers. You were happy that Kosta-Boda regained its important role, not least through your works, and that you became the important, colorful person the company loved to display around the world. Bertil’s successes, with a completely different artistic expression but also as a top designer the world over, stoked even more ambition in you. Living with and loving your competitor isn’t a gift granted to everyone.

Our strong friendship continued through the years, and our families became inextricably intertwined. The closeness gave opportunities for unforgettable memories. Our long journeys around the world and our encounters with people in different places created stories we could never stop talking about. Not to mention your wonderful photo albums that you sent after every journey, with crazy comments and drawings that showed what actually went on in this or that person’s head.

Ulrica, my beloved friend, no more arguments, no more initiatives where you always had the answers—whether well thought-out or not. I will always love you for who you are! You were probably right many times, but I also had to show my resistance.

You hated complicity, not thinking for yourself, not questioning, and not taking your own path. Now you’ve done it again. But if I had the power to decide over life and death, I would have forbidden you from leaving us all.’

Robert Weil

DI Ulrica det är inte sant! – 180406