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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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
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.
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)
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.