Every time I teach aclassmy students inspire me to come up with different variations of braiding and weaving using pewter thread. Here are a couple of projects I’m currently working on that combine Celtic and Nordic influences.
This pattern is nicknamed ‘Viking Star’.
There’s also this fancy ‘Josephine’ and ‘Viking Star’ combination.
What’s in your imagination these days? Share your latest projects with our community on our Saami Inspired Crafts Facebook page!
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.
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!
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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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.
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!
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!
I don’t know about you but sometimes I can get a little crazy when it comes to all the different variations of braids that are possible for my bracelets. For example, I’m working on the two bracelets pictured below which are double strand, four braid weaves. They are essentially the same except for the division of strand groupings. In the first picture on the left, the braid on the left (“dubbel fyrflata”) uses around 6 feet of 0.35mm tin thread divided into 4 sections and doubled over for a 6.5 inch finished braid. The style on the right uses 3 strands at 18.5 inches each and 1 strand at 21 inches doubled over for a 6.5 inch finished braid. It’s all in how you divide up the strand groups. Stay tuned for some examples where we combine leather, beads, silk cord and fish leather into the braid!