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Viking Crafts at Your Fingertips

Happy Summer Everyone!

Happy Posament Peeps

There are so many things to enjoy during the summer months. One of my warm weather favorites is hosting classes without the adventure of traveling in the snow and sleet!

We hosted a lively group June 7-8 at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, MN for the “Viking Posament” Bracelet Class. This was an especially exciting class for a couple of reasons. 

Josephine Knot Bracelets

The mighty Handcraft and Foods Programs Coordinator Erin Swenson-Klatt approached me earlier this year to develop class curriculum to complement the upcoming “Vikings Begin” exhibit currently on view at ASI. I’d done some research on the historical use of the pewter thread used in my Sámi Inspired Bracelet Classes and was delighted to find records of gold and silver thread decorations in Viking graves in Birka, Sweden dating from the 8th-10th century.

The term “posament” refers to a type of decorative trim using metal wire woven into braids or knots resembling Celtic knot work. It’s speculated that some of the knots also resemble the knot work art created by sailors of today. Since Birka was a large trade center and the Vikings were masters of maritime travel, it’s possible the technique was influenced by these designs.

This past week’s workshop was particularly special since it was the first official offering or ‘maiden voyage’ of a new class! I always ‘test kitchen’ my classes on my friends before I develop a completed offering to the variety of our teaching venues. My students were super helpful in giving me feedback regarding what did and didn’t work. 

We began by practicing the triangular knot (sometimes called a “Viking star”) and “Josephine” knot using thick nylon cord. After everyone felt comfortable with the process we moved to using the same 0.35mm pewter thread I use in the Sámi Inspired Bracelet class. Students completed a bracelet using the “Josephine” knot style. The completed trim was sewn on to a reindeer leather strip and finished with a pewter button. A couple of sassy students (I’m talking about you two, Kim and Laura!) tackled a more challenging pattern incorporating both knot styles and the results were stunning!

Posament Practice
Sassy students

If you want to get more of your ‘Viking’ on, join me at ASI September 28, 2019 for my Viking Knit Bracelet Class. We’ll create a timeless fine silver bracelet design in the style of nålbinding fit for a queen or Viking warrior. Check our website for class dates and venues.

See you soon – skål!

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New Sami Inspired Celtic Braid Bracelet Kit

Celtic Four Braid Sami Bracelet Kit

New Sami Inspired Celtic Braid Bracelet Kit

Happy Spring Everyone!

Spring is finally here and summer is just around the corner.  Whether you’re busy planning your vacations or your summer book list, make sure that creating something by hand is part of your plan too.

Our new Sami Inspired Celtic Braid kit is the perfect project for those lazy summer days or even long rides in the car. This “Celtic” Braid pattern is reminiscent of designs prevalent during the Viking Age and adorned everything from sword hilts to jewelry. You can even find examples of this braid pattern decorating the hand painted pages in the Book of Kells at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland.

If you’ve already mastered the art of our other kit selections, try this unique “twist” on the Saami Inspired Four Strand double braided bracelet version. The secret is all in how the individual strands are divided up before you begin braiding. Our 0.35mm tin thread is the perfect diameter to use with these patterns and the end result is a substantial and beautiful finished width ready to be attached to reindeer leather strips for bracelets. 

We’ve also expanded our service by offering online video instructions to guide you through your projects!  In addition to our awesome step by step instructional videos you’ll get tips and tricks from premier instructor Liz Bucheit that will have you braiding like a pro.

Here is the link to our Youtube channel. Be sure to subscribe and hit that bell to get notifications when we add new videos.

These bracelets are perfect for graduation and birthday gifts and make wonderful wedding party gifts as well. Want a particular color of leather not listed on our site? Send us an email and we’ll set you up!

Check out our class calendar and don’t forget to subscribe to receive 20% off your order! Stay tuned for new product offerings and special deals this summer.

                                                                                Happy braiding!

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Sami Bracelet Kits in New Styles

Sami Bracelet Kit

Sami Bracelet Kits in New Styles

Winter has been long here in the Midwest so we’ve had lots of time to work on developing some unique and exciting bracelet kits. We are also stoked about our new corresponding instructional videos to help you with your individual projects. Whether you are buying a kit or want to purchase pewter thread or other materials individually, our videos will help you measure out the proper length of materials for different braid styles without the waste.

Our Four Strand Double Braid Bracelet kit provides the materials to create this beautiful dense weave. If you have purchased our original Saami Inspired Double Braid Bracelet Kit and are ready to be challenged this is a great project to expand your skills.

Sami Bracelet Kit
Sami Bracelet Kit

The Four Strand Double Braid method is also an introduction to the myriad design possibilities you can explore. Try substituting one of your pewter thread strands with our 1.00 mm round colored leather cord. You can also try round silk cord, ribbon or even beads! If you find styles online and need help figuring out what to order in terms of length for particular braids don’t hesitate to contact me.

I’m happy to answer your questions so please leave me a comment and if you haven’t subscribed, please do and get 20% off your first order!

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Are Folk Schools the Best Way to Learn?

North House Folk School Grand Marais, MN

Happy Spring everyone!

We have survived driving in the snow and rain to host our classes this past winter and I am excited to announce our Sami Inspired Bracelet class schedule for 2019. The number one question I get asked by my students is ‘where else do you teach?’.

We have taught classes for weaving and textile guilds, conferences, private parties, museums, folk schools and even Scandinavian specialty shops. The number two question posed by my some of my students is ‘what is a folk school?’. I love this question because some of my skills are the direct result of having attended a folk school myself.

The folk school model is a tradition associated with Scandinavian countries where life long learning is part of the culture. That means folks don’t stop taking classes after they’re out of school. Discovering and building things by hand regardless of age or gender strengthens community and brings people from all walks of life together in an environment where everyone is free to be creative.

Folk schools also give people an opportunity to work with their hands and try something new or hone skills they might already have. Folk schools keep the legacy of craft traditions alive by offering classes in a relaxed environment with talented local and regional instructors as well as international teachers. I was lucky enough to attend Raulandsakadimiet in Rauland Telemark Norway in order to learn traditional filigree and metalworking techniques. However, you don’t have to travel to Norway (although it’s pretty sweet!) in order to experience a folk school environment.

For example, we’ve been teaching at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN for over 16 years and it is the first established folk school in Minnesota to offer classes celebrating Northern European craft. You can take a variety of classes including blacksmithing, silversmithing, boat building and timber framing as well as a variety of jewelry classes. The campus is right on the shores of Lake Superior and the view from many of the classrooms is stunning. This is the first folk school where I began teaching Sami Inspired Bracelet classes. Since then we’ve taught at a variety of venues where we are invited to teach annually. Our current schedule includes some new venues so you have additional dates to choose from if you are busy planning your upcoming summer and fall getaway.

Saami Inspired Bracelet Class
North House Folk School – Photo courtesy of Bryan Hansel

North House Folk School Blacksmithing Class
North House Folk School Willow Fence Class

The Marine Mills Folk School located in Marine on St. Croix, MN is a brand new facility. Their mission is ‘to support and strengthen connections by inviting all people to discover the joy of creating together through traditional arts and crafts’’ I was thrilled they contacted me to be their first Sami Inspired Bracelet class instructor and we are already busy planning additional classes and dates for 2020.

As I mentioned, we recently braved a swathe of cranky Minnesota weather to teach at the Marine Mills Folk School for the first time to a group of determined students who wanted to know more about the craft as well as the Sami culture. Students asked questions like, ‘is it okay to use the term ‘Sami tribe’ or ‘Lapplander’?” (which are not culturally acceptable or accurate descriptions) or “what is the origin or history of pewter spun thread?”

Instructor Liz Bucheit – Saami Inspired Bracelet Class

My students and I also shared and exchanged several resource books on the Sami culture for further reading and information. So if you are looking to learn something new in a low stress, hands-on class with like minded people interested in traditional crafts, the folk school environment is for you! Check out our class schedule for 2019 and contact me with any questions you may have. Classes fill quickly especially in the summer so register at your preferred venue early.

Want to be on our list for upcoming classes, news, events and offers? Subscribe now and in addition to being on our mailing list, enjoy an awesome 20% off our products.

Giitu! (Sami for ‘thank you’)

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Sometimes it’s nice to be invisible..this may help!

Happy New Year everyone!

The holidays were crazy and sometimes I wanted to be as invisible as one of Santa’s elves! Now that all the celebrating and gift giving is over I’m guessing all of our customers, clients and students were the most sought after secret Santa’s of the season.

To help get your creative mojo going for the New Year we are adding new products, more kits and learning videos. 

We’ve taken all of your wonderful suggestions and advice on how to improve our supplies and learning tools so stay tuned for some surprises during this month. To get you started we’ve added Nylon Monofilament Thread to our product list.

Sometimes it’s great to be invisible! Regardless of your sewing skills this fine “invisible” thread will have you stitching like a pro. Use this high quality transparent thread with our #11 needles to sew your braids on to leather, wool, etc. Each spool contains approximately 200 meters.

Don’t forget to subscribe for a sweet 20% off your first order!

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Lanesboro Jewelry Artist Wins International Award

Lanesboro Jewelry Artist Wins International Award

International award winning jewelry designer Liz Bucheit is the recipient of the Grand Award in the Wire Category of The Metal Jewelry Artistry Awards competition. Designed to draw attention to metal and wire artistry, this juried competition sponsored by Bead & Button magazine and FacetJewelry.com drew entries from around the world.

Bucheit’s “Saami Inspired Ruff Collar” entry was created using pewter braided thread and reindeer hide. Bucheit keeps close ties to her Scandinavian heritage and credits her inspiration to her interest in traditional crafts of the Saami culture, Scandinavia’s indigenous people.

All finalists were invited to send their pieces, which were displayed throughout the weekend at the 2018 Bead & Button Show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Liz Bucheit is an active speaker on the topic of Norwegian filigree work and conducts workshops and classes in jewelry design and fabrication. She co-owns and operates Crown Trout Jewelers in Lanesboro, MN with partner and fellow goldsmith Michael Seiler. Visit www.crowntrout.com.

Liz Bucheit “ruff” collar

 

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Saamisupplies.com Now Offers Imitation Reindeer Hide and Kits.

Imitation reindeer leather - blue

Saamisupplies.com Now Offers Imitation Reindeer Hide and Kits.

Faux Real!

It never ceases to amaze me how I continue to learn from my students. I recently returned from an instructor’s retreat at the North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN where I took a class in Aniishiinaabe style moccasin making from the very talented Marcie McIntire.

Funny thing, I found myself saying exactly what my students say during the course of my Saami Inspired Bracelet Classes. Things like “Am I doing this right? Can you check my work? How long does it take you (the instructor) to complete a pair of moccasins?”  It’s easy to forget we are all students at one time or another and the experience taught me to listen more and be as empathetic as possible during the course of my classes.

I’ve also taken to inviting my students to give me suggestions about additional materials, tools and techniques.

One suggestion came from our client Chris who wanted an alternative material instead of reindeer hide to make her projects. After a bit of research we found the perfect solution.

We are now proud to offer imitation reindeer leather bracelet kits in a variety of colors! Instead of genuine antler buttons, kits will include pewter “replica” antler buttons in addition to needles and thread.  These bracelets make great graduation, confirmation and birthday gifts for women and men.  Try a beginning kit out today and stay tuned for more kit variations to come!

New Saami Bracelet Kits in Fantastic Colors!

Imitation reindeer leather - blue
Imitation reindeer leather – blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you haven’t subscribed to the blog please do and receive a sweet 20% off coupon on your order!

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You’ll Love Happy Spring Things

You’ll Love Happy Spring Things

Happy spring everyone! We are excited to add some new products to our ever growing inventory of exceptional products.

Want to use a bit of “spring” when weaving and braiding? Try our lightweight plastic crafting clamp. This is a handy tool if you like to craft on the go. The handles have holes on each of the handle ends that are perfect for hooking your paper clip.

weaving and braiding clamps
weaving and braiding clamps

weaving and braiding clamps
weaving and braiding clamps

weaving and braiding clamps
weaving and braiding clamps

This is a great help so you can maintain even tension while you are working your pewter thread. The plastic pads on the clamp jaws won’t mar your surface. I’ve even used this clamp on international flights when I’ve wanted to work on my projects since I can attach it to just about anything until the “captain requests you to return your table tray to its upright position”!

Try some different button variations with our new antler inspired pewter buttons. These buttons are metal versions of the traditional reindeer antler variety and are one of a kind. Use them to add a “surprise” sparkle and polish to your creations. 

We’ve got lots of exciting things happening with class offerings and private parties so make sure to check out our class calendar or call us for information on booking a personal venue or reserving a date for our Lanesboro, MN studio.

If you haven’t subscribed to the blog please do and receive a sweet 20% off coupon on your order!

Please share photos and feedback about your projects on our Saami Inspired Crafts Facebook Page. We’d love to see your creations!

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You’re Going to Love This…..

You’re Going to Love This…..

Happy spring (almost!)

We are always looking for unique and unusual items to accentuate your designs.

Recently our client Paula inquired about the tiny silver beads she was seeing on several bracelet designs online.

After a few emails we followed up on her advice to add silver beads to our product listings and voilá! They are now available.

Saamisupplies is proud to offer Sterling Silver 3.00mm beads in packages of 100. Use these beautiful high polished beads to accent your favorite bracelet designs.

Manufactured exclusively for saamisupplies these sparkling beads provide an attractive contrast to the soft white of our 0.35mm pewter thread.

Integrate them into your braids or sew them onto your projects separately.

And since we’re talking materials, let’s talk about one of the hardest working tools of the craft.

Now you can purchase No. 10 round needles in packages of 20.

These high quality German manufactured needles are perfect for sewing finished braids to your leather bracelets and necklaces.

Use these sharps with transparent or cotton thread.

The diameter of this needle is ideal when separating braid sections during stitching.

*Remember to only use “sharps” when sewing your braid to your leather. Do not use a leather needle when sewing braids as it will cut the pewter thread very quickly!

These are just a few examples of new products we will be adding to the website in the coming weeks so we are excited and curious to know what our clients and students are creating!

Let us know if there are other items you would like to see us carry.

If you haven’t subscribed to the blog please do and receive a sweet 20% off coupon on your order!

Please share photos and feedback about your projects on our Saami Inspired Crafts Facebook Page. We’d love to see your creations!

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A History of Tin Thread Embroidery of the Sámi People

A History of Tin Thread Embroidery of the Sámi People

We love pewter thread for the distinct and unique properties that make it so wonderful to braid and weave when creating bracelets and necklaces. The coiled thread is soft and holds its shape after years of wear.

However, did you know that the use of coiled thread to decorate clothing and everyday items has been around for centuries? Small fragments of gold coiled thread have been found in Viking graves outside of Uppsala dating back to almost 3,000 years ago.

Historically the art of sewing silver, gold and even bronze thread to cloth and leather can be found around the world. There are examples to be found throughout a myriad of cultures including textiles and objects from China, Japan and India.

The Saami people of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia have been using tin thread embroidery since the 1600’s and the designs and patterns are specific and unique to the many Saami groups within the culture. In particular, tin thread embroidery is used to adorn the many styles of traditional Saami clothing called gákti.  Here are some examples from my Pinterest page.

Sadly, tin thread embroidery almost disappeared in the 1800’s when Saami groups were being forced to assimilate to modern Norwegian and Swedish culture. I just finished watching the film “Sámi Blood” this past week and I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to know more about this period.

Fortunately, around 1905 a gentleman named Andreas Wilks from Sweden brought tin thread embroidery back to the forefront of Saami culture after discovering his mother’s tools for creating the distinctive coiled thread. He began teaching classes throughout Northern Sweden and managed to prevent this beautiful craft from disappearing altogether. *(From Tin Thread Embroidery by Mona Callenberg 1997)

Here’s a link to some wonderful books about Sámi culture.

Stay tuned for my next blog where I’ll show some different and creative ways to use tin thread.

Don’t forget to subscribe so you can enjoy firsthand new kits, techniques, specials and discounts!

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