The Capellagården foundation was started in 1960 by husband and wife Carl and Siv Malmsten with the vision "A school for creative work". Here you can take a course in ceramics, gardening, furniture, textiles or building maintenance. Capellagården has become a concept, a meeting place for craft and culture-interested people from Sweden and the world. The old Ölandsgården includes workshops and housing for the students. The workshops are kept open almost 24 hours a day and as a student you have the opportunity to familiarize yourself with the craft and the materials in a way that is rarely possible at similar schools.

A bit of history

The village of Vickleby, where Capellagården is located, is a typical Öland row village where the farms are close together along a village street. 

However, the village differed from other villages on Öland. When Siv and Carl came to Vickleby, most of the farms were deserted or converted into farm workers' housing. In the 1930s, the sugar mill in Mörbylånga had bought up farms in Vickleby in order to grow sugar beet on the good agricultural land west of the village. It was the land they wanted, the houses were not as important. Carl could therefore beg for two farms next to Capellagården and use the residential buildings for student accommodation.

Over the years, Capellagården grew and even some cottages from the village boarding house became part of Capellagården. Today, the school has 26 buildings on the grounds, all with an interesting history.

Siv and Carl Malmsten

Siv and Carl Malmsten searched for a long time for a place in the country where they could realize their school project. In Vickleby on Södra Öland, they found a farm in 1957 that suited their plans. They had already realized several school projects and for many years ran short summer courses around the country. But here in Vickleby, their bigger visions could be realised. The workshops could be open for work at all hours of the day, the students could live and eat at the school and the place could be inspiring and stimulating.

Carl Malmsten was a very prolific furniture designer and decorator with a professorial title, but his passion was to give people of all ages the opportunity to realize their craft and creative dreams. He used what he earned from his furniture to realize his school projects. Wife Siv was a trained teacher and was highly involved in school activities.

Carl often wrote and spoke about that "put your hand and spirit in." creative cooperation" as a counterweight to the authoritarian and over-theoretical school he himself attended and detested. Today, we instead use the concept of the intelligence of the hand, where research shows how practical work is also important both for theoretical learning and for increased creativity.

He has been called a romantic revolutionary and in one of his many writings he describes the vision of a school as a farm:"...where in the fields they cultivated and took care of what was required for the sustenance of life, where they wove, worked, and forged everything from textiles, household utensils, furniture, tools and ornaments that the farm and farm people needed, and the houses were built from materials from the properties..." 

In Vickleby he was probably regarded as a backward mover, although in fact he was far ahead of his time. He refused help with weed control with DDT, which at the time was considered harmless and modern. He also wanted to grow vegetables and fruit for his own kitchen. Many thought this was strange when there were vegetables, preserves and semi-finished products to buy in the store. Why would you then have your own kitchen garden?

Siv and Carl built up their school and soon there were courses in furniture, textiles and ceramics here. Gardener Thöger Rhenman Reenberg was hired and he introduced biodynamic principles to the cultivation. This aroused great interest and many wanted to learn from him. This is how the horticulture courses at Capellagården came about. Today, the kitchen, the farms and the nursery are KRAV-certified.


Friends of Capellagården

Capellagården has a friends association that develops and supports the business and the school's students in many different ways. You are very welcome to join as a member. Here you can read more about Capellagården's friends