Sunday, 12 October 2014

Sámi weaving at the Weave Fair

Umea is European Capital of Culture for 2014.  Their plans for the year were based on the Sámi year of eight seasons.

I was looking forward to seeing contemporary Sámi culture as part of the Weave Fair and the accompanying exhibitions and events.

I was thrilled to meet Per Niila and Lotta for the first time.  They are Stoorstalka who make the wide selection of heddles which make patterned band weaving more accessible to people all around the world. Click on his link to see their web site.

I had found their web site quite by accident and discovered that they had made a double holed heddle for a weaver.  I wrote to them to ask if they could make a double slotted heddle.  These heddles are not widely available and even standard heddles are not easy to find in the UK. I can now teach band weaving using this design of heddle which makes learning to weave patterns so much more straightforward. Their stall was beautiful.

I had the chance to relax and do some weaving.

At the Weave fair, Astrid Enoksson, who lives in Tarnaby, had a display of display of Sámi costume and weaving and was on hand to answer questions.

There is an article about her in Vävmagasinet nr 3, 2014 pages 40 - 41.  She was also part of the cultural show of Folk costume at the Västerbottens Museum.

The Västerbottens Museum has a large open air section of traditional buildings where the costume show took place.

Later that evening at the nearby Sámi Cultural Centre, a singer demonstrated  joik, a traditional type of Sámi singing. 

There were also a number of weavers on hand to demonstrate different techniques for producing bands. 

There was considerable interest in this.  Here is one weaver being interviewed for a radio programme.
Another weaver was making plaited bands


On the Saturday, there was an 1860's market at the Västerbottens Museum. This was a superb event with all the stallholders dressed in costume and an astonishing variety of stalls selling handcrafted articles and food etc.  It was very fortunate that the weather was perfect. There were many stalls and many beautiful things to tempt buyers. Here is a sample.

There was also a Sámi stall selling reproductions of prehistoric Sámi pottery.

The Västerbotten cheese stall was very tempting.
Cloth and wool were popular

A book binding stall.

One of several 'streets' of stalls.
It was an excellent three days. I am now looking forward to the next Weave Fair in three years time.

Susan J Foulkes

October 2014

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