New York Times Interviews Liz Bucheit about Sámi Culture
Happy Spring (almost)
This year started off with a bang for everyone here at
I had the pleasure of being interviewed by New York Times journalist Penelope Colston for her “Echoes of Scandinavia” article about Sámi craft and culture. Ms. Colston contacted me this past December about her upcoming piece and I am thrilled to have been included.
Who knew reindeer were strutting the streets of Manhattan! Many thanks to Ms. Colston for a fantastic
piece highlighting traditional and contemporary aspects of Sámi culture and
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.
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?”
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.
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Saamisupplies.com Now Offers Imitation Reindeer Hide and Kits.
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 offerimitation reindeer leather bracelet kits in a variety of colors! Instead of genuine antler buttons, kits will includepewter “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!
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.
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.
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)
In addition to creating custom jewelry in our Lanesboro, MN studio our Saami Inspired Bracelet Classes keep us on the road for a good portion of the year. We’ve been teaching these classes for 16 years and have introduced this unique craft to over 1300 students. After teaching and presenting in dozens of venues and traveling to three states just this past year, we are happy to be hosting our final class of 2017 on Saturday November 18 from 10-5pmin Lanesboro, MN. Need a jump on some handmade Xmas gifts? You’ll be the most coveted Secret Santa around!
Saamisupplies.com announces International Shipping Service
We have expanded our ordering platform to include International Flat Rate Shipping! With over 700 subscribers we have been getting order inquiries from Japan, Switzerland, Spain and even Russia. Stay tuned for new products, kits, books and tips and tricks for this unique craft. Don’t forget to check out our class schedule at www.crowntrout.com for upcoming venues and new class offerings for 2018. Get a jump on those Christmas gifts by ordering materials and kits early and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog.
Join our blog and add some color to your pewter thread bracelets. I love the look of traditional pewter thread braids but sometimes I long for a little variation to really make the materials pop. I usually wear several bracelets at a time and often I can color coordinate my selection with what I’m wearing. We recently added a rich rainbow of 1.00mm round cowhide leather cord to our inventory at saamisupplies.com. Follow the steps in this project to brighten you bracelets and your day.
Double Four Braid Pewter Thread Bracelet with 1.00 Round Leather Colored Cord
Begin by cutting 4 pieces of 0.35mm pewter thread approximately 18 inches long each. Cut one 18 inch section of 1.00mmround leather cord.
Take 2 pieces of pewter thread and place a strand on either side of your leather cord. These will be your borders. Double the entire piece in half on the end of an open paper clip attached to your table clamp. Make sure to keep everything flat. It’s a bit of a challenge so don’t be discouraged if it seems like you need another set of hands to get everything positioned properly.
Double your remaining 2 strands of pewter thread over the end of the paper clip and you are ready to start braiding.
Proceed to braid as you would for the double four-strand pewter thread bracelet project in our previous post this past week.
You should end up with a 6.5 – 6.75 inch finished braid. You can sew the braid to a leather strip at this point or simply cap the end with a button and loop for a different look.
It’s hard to believe that the addition of color can make this braid look so different. You can also try using round polyester cord or silk beading cord for variety. I’ve had students use flat strips of suede or reindeer hide and even ribbon! Remember to use materials at least 1.00mm wide so your material doesn’t disappear between the sections of your pewter thread.
Don’t forget to join our blog and stay tuned for another exciting project next week. Visit www.saamisupplies.com for everything you need to fuel your creativity!
The long awaited Saami Inspired Bracelet Basics E-Book by Liz Bucheit is here and available on Amazon.
Explore the wonderful world of spun pewter thread jewelry! Historically, Vikings used metal spun thread to decorate their clothing and leather goods. This technique enjoyed a resurgence in popularity during the 16th century among the Saami, Scandinavia’s original native population. In this book you will learn the craft of braiding pewter coiled thread to create a unique bracelet on reindeer hide with an antler button clasp. Follow easy instructions, large photo examples and additional video links for a step by step guide to completing these beautiful bracelets.