It’s hard to imagine that nearly a year ago we were facing a lock down and requests to shelter in place.
We all have missed and put life events on hold like celebrations, memorials, graduations and so much more. We also had to make the computer our means of staying connected. I for one, miss very much the fellowship and vibrancy of the physical classroom and I’m already looking to the fall in hopes of making that expectation a reality.
That said, there were upsides to being able to meet students via Zoom classes from all over the world! I was able to develop new curriculum and class projects for the venues where I normally teach in person.
I’m excited to share with you one of those new projects currently being offered through the Vesterheim Folk Art School in Decorah, IA. If you’ve been looking for a bit of inspiration to get your creative juices going outside your pewter thread bracelet projects, check out this new “twist” on tradition. Check out my new Sámi Inspired Sparkle Hoop Earring Class!
Explore a new “twist” on a traditional craft! Using pewter wire thread and a macramé style weave, students will create a pair of hoop earrings with a silver drop and sterling silver French hook ear wires. Finished hoops are approximately 1 inch in diameter and display a soft shimmery sparkle in sunlight and candle light. No previous experience is necessary, but a willingness to use hand tools is required. Kits come with all supplies needed (an $80 value!) with the exception of pliers. Two flat nose pliers are required, but if you don’t own a pair they can be purchased separately from the Vesterheim Museum Store. Get ready to rock your own jewelry tradition!
Hopefully everyone is finding time to find a bright spot during these troubled times. I am constantly amazed at the resiliency of the human heart and that artists and organizations around the world are among those at the core advocating for change.
I want to take a moment to thank all of my students and clients who helped keep saamisupplies going during the last three months and to thank you, yet again for your incredible patience regarding the delay of your orders.
It’s been a frustrating eight weeks waiting for supply orders because of manufacturing/ shipping disruptions worldwide and the on-again/off-again nature of the safety shutdown. You’ve been waiting for tin thread to start and or finish projects (me too!) and everyone is antsy. Please know I am as anxious as you are as I’m used to filling orders immediately.
I ask that you continue to be patient and know that I will expedite your orders as soon as I receive my shipments. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have questions about your orders or if you want me to send partial shipments of products I have in stock. If you are placing a future order please be advised that shipping times will possibly delayed by 6-8 weeks.
In the meantime, here are some images to get you planning your next creation.
Life is quite different since I last posted and with most of Minnesota stuck at home I’m getting lots of orders for kits and requests for new projects. Since many of my classes have been postponed I’m busy filming and experimenting with new bracelet (and necklace!) designs I hope to hatch in April.
I’ve been receiving an uptick in emails from students and clients from all over the globe sharing photos of finished bracelets. Emi Sawaishi is a maker from Japan who has kindly allowed me to post her earring and bracelet photos.
I also received the loveliest compliment from my client Tiina regarding the New York Times “Echoes of Scandinavia” article about Sámi craft and culture by Penelope Colston. If you didn’t get a chance to read the article here’s a link: Follow the link to the complete article: Link
“I loved the Times article. My entire life nobody but my husband knew who are the Saami people so I would say, when asked “I’m Finnish “ . You wouldn’t believe that about 85-90% of the people who asked my ethnicity would reply, “Finnished with what?” This doesn’t happen today because of the awareness that people like yourself are bringing to the American public, so thank you”
I get so much inspiration from all of my students and clients it’s hard not to sit down and make a few bracelets myself.
If you are a happy crafter enjoying the solitude of your home at this time check out our kits and our instructional videos for individual styles and downloadable pdf’s. Please let me know if you have questions or require different bracelet lengths.
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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.
There are so many features of this craft that are unique. Some people are specifically attracted to the intricate braiding and hand stitching that go into a bracelet or necklace. Other folks want to identify appreciation for their Scandinavian and or Saami roots by wearing tin thread jewelry to show cultural pride.
Butdid you know the materials used in this tradition also appeal to people who can’t wear regular jewelry?
We all have friends and clients who have jewelry allergies and these poor souls are pretty limited as to what they can wear even if they love silver and gold. The most common allergy is related to the nickel content in sterling silver jewelry. I’ve even had clients who react badly to wearing gold jewelry based on prescriptions they may be taking for a chronic illness or condition.
However, I’ve had people who are attracted to these bracelet styles purely on the premise that they are (for the most part) hypoallergenic!
Traditionally the Saami people of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia tanned their own reindeer skins using bark from a variety of trees.
Our black reindeer hide is organically dyed using the bark from the alder tree. Our coiled tin thread is comprised of 96% tin, 4% silver and is nickel free. Reindeer antler buttons and cord take the place of metal clasps on regular bracelets so no metal is touching the wearer’s skin.
So, if you have a friend, family member or client who always says ‘I love jewelry but I’m allergic to metal!’ introduce them to the special beauty and wearability of these handcrafted bracelets.
I have always been fascinated by how people are attracted to a particular craft or art form. For me, I developed an obsession with jewelry by the age of four and would beg my mother to let me “organize” her jewelry drawer. I would pile on as many rings, necklaces, bracelets and pins my toddler size frame could hold. Of all of the pieces in my mother’s collection her Norwegian brooches stood out the most. The fine silver filigree designs with their delicate disc shaped drops tinkled and sparkled like small waterfalls.
I was born in Decorah, Iowa, home to the Vesterheim Norwegian- American Museum where I would spend hours looking at the silver jewelry and bridal crowns. After graduating from the University of Iowa, Iowa City with a Master’s Degree in Metalworking and Jewelry I later traveled to Norway to study traditional “bunad” silver jewelry.
I attended Raulandsakademiet Folk School in Telemark where traditional crafts like rosmaling, weaving, acanthus carving, etc. are taught. It was there I first saw a Swedish woman in my class wearing several unique braided bracelets. She explained to me the technique was a craft associated with the Saami, Scandinavia’s indigenous people.
Our daily jewelry class was very intense and at the end of the day I would relax by watching her weave the pewter thread into different designs and sew the finished braids to strips of reindeer hide. Needless to say I was hooked and I am as excited about teaching this craft as I was 15 years ago when I made my first bracelet.
I can say with certainty my Norwegian heritage was the spark that influenced my interest in traditional and contemporary craft today.
What draws your interest about this particular craft?
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