Tag Archives: Saami

Fish Tanning

I have been working with reindeer leather for the past year or so, hand stitching and making small bags, purses and pouches. My interest in reindeer leather began when I decided I wanted to weave and work with materials from my Saami heritage. My grandmother used to make reindeer leather shoes, bags and other items that she sold to the Sami community in Northern Norway. Many of these types of items were embellished with hand woven colourful bands or pewter thread embroidery. After doing some research in online museum archives, I discovered that fish skins were also tanned and used to make bags and other items.
I first learned about fish tanning during one of the textile and dye workshops that I attended in Finland. I thought I would do a bit more research on the various ways to tan a fish and make it into useable leather.

Wear protective rubber gloves at all times when handling fish. This will protect you from any bacteria that may be on the fish, and will also prevent the fish from getting bacteria that can affect the tanning process.

The basic procedure for tanning fish leather is to remove the skin from the fish. This is easier to do if the fish has been frozen.
Using a spoon, scrape off the fish scales.
Turn the fish skin over and gently scrape off the fat and as much of the membrane as you can. With some types of fish, this can be quite easy to do and sometimes more difficult.
Rinse in clean water.
Soak in the tanning solution for 12-24 hours – sometimes longer depending on the tanning method you are using.
Soften the tanned skin by rubbing egg yolks and oil. This replaces some of the proteins and fish fats that were removed during the tanning process.
Let the oiled skin dry.
Then massage, rub, stretch and work the skin until it is soft and flexible. This can take several hours to do.

Salmon Skin
Salmon Skin

Salmon Skin tanned with Birch Bark
Salmon Skin tanned with Birch Bark

There are many methods and recipes for tanning fish skin. Here are a few, though I haven’t had a chance to try all of them yet.

Urine Tanning
Urine is often used to tan fish leather. The ammonia from the urine helps to break down the fats and fibrous cells of the fish skin.
Urine Tanned Fish Leather

Egg Yolk and Smoke Fish Tanning
This recipe includes the use of egg yolks and smoke to tan the fish leather.
Making Leather from Fish Skin

Bark Tanning
Bark Tanning Salmon Skins

Fish Leather Products
Moon Rise Jewellery
What is Fish Leather

Maeya Amsterdam
Sustainable Fish Leather for Clothing

Kari Furre – A Maker of Fish Leather
A fin of beauty: the art of making objects out of fish leather

Fish Tanning Books
Lotta Rahme
Fish Leather Tanning and Sewing
Lotta Rahme has written a book about tanning fish leather. She also offers workshops in the fish tanning process.

Sami Fish Leather

Look for some of my handmade products made from fish leather in my Etsy Shop.

Salmon Skin Flex Frame Pouch
Salmon Skin Flex Frame Pouch

Salmon Leather Sun Glasses Case
Salmon Leather Sun Glasses Case

ALM EELSKIN EEL FISH LEATHER with Backing Assorted SCRAPS Black Red Metallic

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Saddle Buckskin Leather Deer Hides - Various Sizes

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Commercial Brain-Tanned Buffalo Leather Project Piece (1302-5PP-xxxx)

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Sami Reindeer Bracelets

Saami Reindeer Leather Bracelets

One of the traditional Saami duodji crafts is leathermaking. I thought I would give it a try. I started with something simple by purchasing a Sami bracelet kit from a Sami supplier in Sweden TNKReativt.

Sami reindeer bracelet kit
The bracelet kit includes a piece of reindeer leather, tin thread, artificial sinew, clear nylon thread, sewing thread, a sewing needle, a leather needle and a reindeer antler button.

Weave the Braid
The kit includes enough tin thread to make a six strand braid.
Cut the tin thread into 3 equal lengths and fold these in half to create 6 strands.
I use a foam felting mat to work on.
Pin the folded end of the tin thread onto the foam mat.
Separate the 6 strands into 3 strands of 2 threads each.
Work a 3 strand braid along the length of the thread.
I pin the braid onto the foam about every inch or so, to hold it in place as I am braiding.

When you have finished braiding, secure the ends by tying a short piece of sinew around the ends. The sinew that is supplied is a short length, but this can be separated into several strands. Use a small strand to tie the tin braid.
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Hand Stitch Braid to Leather Strip

To adjust the bracelet to the correct size, measure around your wrist. Add 1 cm to this measurement. Cut the length of reindeer leather to this size.

On the back side of the leather strip, measure and mark a cutting line 1.5 cm from the end of both ends.

Fold the leather strip in half and carefully cut a small slit into the leather, the width of the woven tin braiding.

Place the woven braid on the right side of the leather strip and slip the ends of the braid into the slits that you have cut.

Using the regular sewing needle that came with the kit and the nylon thread, stitch the braid onto the leather strip.
(The instructions that came with the kit, suggest using glue to attach the braid to the leather, but I do not recomment this) Hand stitching will make a better bracelet.

Attach Braided Loop to Leather Bracelet

The bracelet kit includes a short piece of leather strip and some imitation sinew. Split the sinew into a narrower thread and twist the sinew around the leather strip. The sinew will give the leather a bit of extra strength in the loop.

Thread the leather strip and sinew through the loop at the end of the tin braid. Then twist the leather strip and sinew together tightly and ply them together to make a spun thread. Tie the ends with the remaining sinew.


Thread the leather sewing needle with the end of the sinew and stitch the 2 ends of the leather braid together forming a loop. Sew this securely.

Trim the cut ends of the tin braid to 1 cm. Sew these end together with a bit of sinew.

Finishing
Using the leather needle, thread it with the polyester thread that came with the kit.
At the back of the bracelet, fold the ends of the leather together and neatly stitch them together.

Sew the reindeeer antler button to the other end of the bracelet.

Saami Reindeer Bracelet

Additional Tools

Once you have made your first Saami bracelet you might decide that you like working with leather, as I did. To make life easier, you will need to purchase a few extra tools.
1) A good lamp with a magnifying glass. Once I bought one, I don’t know how I managed without it. The hand can do what the eyes can see.
Brightech LightView Pro Dimmable LED Magnifying Floor Lamp with 6 Wheels Rolling Base – For Professional Use and Crafts– Adjustable Gooseneck Glass Lighted Magnifier Lens Standing Light

2) Extra Leather Sewing Needles
It’s helpful to have a few different sizes on hand.
Tandy Leather Stitching Needle 10/pk 1195-00

3) A good sewing thimble.
I like the Clover ones as I find them quite comfortable to wear.
Clover 6026 Medium Protect and Grip Thimble

4) Synthetic Sinew
Use synthetic sinew for stitching leather pieces together. Sinew comes in different colours, but I find the natural one is suitable for most uses.
1 X Natural Simulated Sinew

5) Jewellery Making Pliers
Use for tin embroidery to pinch tin thread into shape before stitching.
Jewelry Tools, High Grade Jewelry Pliers Including the Necessary Crimper, Organized Zipped Case for your Jewelry Making Tools
6) Good quality sewing thread.
The polyester threads are good but I prefer to use silk thread. I find it has less tendency to shred while stitching.
Gutermann Silk Thread, 100m/109 yd, Dark Brown

More Saami Crafts

How to weave with a Beaivi double hole heddle.
How to Make a Tin Embroidery Key Chain
Saami Art of Tin Thread Spinning

Saami Beaivi Loom Weaving Workshops

Beginner Saami Pickup Band Weaving Learn the basics of how to weave pickup using a Beaivi double hole rigid heddle loom.
Warp a Beaivi Loom Workshop Learn how to warp a Beaivi loom and how to weave pickup patterns.

Saami Reindeer Leather Purse

Saami Reindeer Leather Purse
Saami Reindeer Leather Purse

Look for my handmade Saami reindeer leather pouches and bags in my PaivatarYarn shop on Etsy.

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Saami Music – Itunes
Binna Banna – Kikki Aikio
Áphi (Wide As Oceans) – Sofia Jannok
Ulda – Ulla Pirttijärvi & Ulda
The Kautokeino Rebellion (Music from the Movie) – Herman Rundberg, Mari Boine & Svein Schultz
Beaivi, Áhcázan (The Sun, My Father) – Nils-Aslak Valkeapää

Saami Books
The Sámi People: Traditions in Transitions
The Sami Peoples of the North: A Social and Cultural History
Lapps and Labyrinths: Saami Prehistory, Colonization, and Cultural Resilience
Badin and the Secret of the Saami
Saami and the White Wolf
Talk Now! Learn Saami (Northern) (2015) (Talk Now 2015) by EuroTalk Ltd (2015-01-01)
Saami Inspired Bracelet Basics: How to make a Saami inspired pewter thread bracelet. (Saami Inspired Bracelets Book 1)

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Handmade Adjustable Floor Rag Rug Twining Loom 48" x 27.5"

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Antique Vintage Nilus Leclerc Loom Tension Box Warp Weaving Wood

$109.99
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Used Nilus LeClerc Table Loom Model MEDICO # S-22-4-73-00

$325.00
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What is Sami Duodji

Sami Duodji is all traditional handicraft that is made by the Saami people. The crafts are both artistic and have a functional purpose such as tools, clothing, knives, cups, bags, hats, belts, laces. These items have been made by hand for many centuries and were used in everyday Sami life.
Recently there has been a growing interest in Sami crafts throughout the world. I think it is wonderful that other crafts people are learning about traditional Sami style handicrafts and techniques.

In the early 1970’s, the Sami organized their cottage industry into Sami Duodji craft organizations whose purpose is to promote Sami handicrafts and provide an advocacy and monitoring role in quality control, training and professional development. The organizations help to ensure raw materials and supplies for makers and producers, and promote the protection and legal knowledge on a non-profit basis. Also the organizations help to foster contacts with government entities and organizations in the Nordic countries.

Members of the Sami Duodji association use a Duodji mark that identifies the products as made by authentic Sami people. The Duodji mark is administered by different organizations.
In Finland, Sami Duodji Finland
In Norway “Sámiid Duodji”
In Sweden, “Riksorganisationen Same Ätnam2
In Russia, “CEPES Sam Arts and Crafts Association”

To be a member of the Sami Duodji organization the person must have previous handicraft training and experience.
The Sámi means a person who considers himself a Sámi, and
– Who has learned the Sami language as their first language, or the father, mother, grandmother, or grandfather has learned Sami as their first language, or
– Whose parents meet at least one of these Sami mentioned conditions

Sami Duodji Trademark

The purpose of the Sami Duodji trademark :
– The mark is a trademark of Sámi handicraft
– Indicates the buyers that the manufacturer of the goods is the Sami
– To protect Sami handicraft quality
– To be a sign that the Sámi handicraft is a living tradition.
The products must be developed in a traditional way or use traditional materials.
Products that are intended for souvenirs and have no traditional or functional use, do not use Sámi Duodji trademark.

Please help support the Sami Duodji craft industry by purchasing products made by Saami people or purchasing materials for your crafts from Sami suppliers.

As my father was a Saami, born in Kola and lived in Petsamo throughout most of his childhood, I consider myself also to be Saami. My grandmother earned her living by herding reindeer and making handicrafts for the other Saami people. She traveled to Norway during the summer months to sell her crafted items. Therefore I have a strong interest in learning more about the Saami duodji crafts of my ancestors. As I pursue this area of study, I will be posting articles on my explorations.
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Saami Handicrafts

Saami Double Slot Weaving Reed
Beaivi – How to Weave on a Double Hole Sami Heddle

Saami Beaivi Loom Weaving Workshops

Beginner Saami Pickup Band Weaving Learn the basics of how to weave pickup using a Beaivi double hole rigid heddle loom.
Warp a Beaivi Loom Workshop Learn how to warp a Beaivi loom and how to weave pickup patterns.
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Saami Music – Itunes

Binna Banna – Kikki Aikio
Áphi (Wide As Oceans) – Sofia Jannok
Ulda – Ulla Pirttijärvi & Ulda
The Kautokeino Rebellion (Music from the Movie) – Herman Rundberg, Mari Boine & Svein Schultz
Beaivi, Áhcázan (The Sun, My Father) – Nils-Aslak Valkeapää
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Handmade Adjustable Floor Rag Rug Twining Loom 48" x 27.5"

$100.00
End Date: Monday Dec-2-2019 4:30:45 PST
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Antique Vintage Nilus Leclerc Loom Tension Box Warp Weaving Wood

$109.99
End Date: Saturday Dec-14-2019 5:45:28 PST
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Used Nilus LeClerc Table Loom Model MEDICO # S-22-4-73-00

$325.00
End Date: Sunday Dec-15-2019 9:09:52 PST
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Sami Open Braid Weaving

I have been doing a study on Sami band weaving and I noticed that the ends of the heddle woven bands are often finished with a simple braid technique of finger weaving or open braiding the ends. These types of braids are also used for belts, ties and bracelets and are traditional in Finland and other Nordic countries.

I thought that using bobbin lace bobbins for holding the warp threads would be a suitable way to weave this type of braid.
Bobbin lace braid

To weave a 2 yard length of braid I started with 3 yard length of warp yarn in 8 strands.
3 Blue
2 Green
3 Orange

I attached the ends to the top of an art board with a jumbo paper clip to hold the braid in place while I weave.
I wound each yarn length around the neck of a bobbin.

This is a very simple twill type of weave that makes a flat braid, much like a shoe lace. I will be using this braid for lacing a pair of hand felted wool slippers.

Step 1
Bobbin lace braid 1
Over 2
Working from the Left to the right
Take the first warp yarn (your working yarn) on the left and weave it Over the next 2 warp threads

Step 2
Bobbin lace braid 2
Under 2
Then weave the working yarn Under the next 2 warp yarns

Step 3
Bobbin lace braid 3
Over 1
Then weave the working yarn Over the next warp yarn

Step 4
Bobbin lace braid 4
Under 2
Then weave the working yarn under the last 2 warp yarns.

Tighten the tension

Repeat the above sequence again starting from the left, weaving to the right.

Braid Weaving
Weaving Sami Braids- Video
Double Hole Rigid Heddle Weaving
Bobbin Lace Weaving

Beginner Saami Pickup Band Weaving Learn the basics of how to weave pickup using a Beaivi double hole rigid heddle loom.
Warp a Beaivi Loom Workshop Learn how to warp a Beaivi loom and how to weave pickup patterns.

Saami Music – Itunes
Binna Banna – Kikki Aikio
Áphi (Wide As Oceans) – Sofia Jannok
Ulda – Ulla Pirttijärvi & Ulda
The Kautokeino Rebellion (Music from the Movie) – Herman Rundberg, Mari Boine & Svein Schultz
Beaivi, Áhcázan (The Sun, My Father) – Nils-Aslak Valkeapää

Handmade Adjustable Floor Rag Rug Twining Loom 48" x 27.5"

$100.00
End Date: Monday Dec-2-2019 4:30:45 PST
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Antique Vintage Nilus Leclerc Loom Tension Box Warp Weaving Wood

$109.99
End Date: Saturday Dec-14-2019 5:45:28 PST
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Used Nilus LeClerc Table Loom Model MEDICO # S-22-4-73-00

$325.00
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Book Store: Saami Books

A hand picked selection of books and videos about the Sami people and their crafts.

Saami flag

Lapps and Labyrinths: Saami Prehistory, Colonization, and Cultural Resilience
Saami prehistory from 5000 BC to AD 1500.
UK: Lapps and Labyrinths

God Wears Many Skins: Myth And Folklore Of The Sami People
This poem records the creation story of the Sami, a nomadic people of Northern Europe, and then retells several Scandinavian folk-tales derived from their playfully animistic world view.
UK: God Wears Many Skins

The Sami of Northern Europe (First Peoples)
Intended for children, this book describes the history, traditional cultural practices and ongoing oppression and struggles of the Sami.
UK: Sami of Northern Europe

The Sami People: Traditions in Transitions
Sámi culture and traditions have been integrated with contemporary influences and perspectives.
UK: The Sami People

The Reindeer People: Living With Animals and Spirits in Siberia
An obseration of the symbiotic relationship between polar peoples and reindeer.
UK: The Reindeer People

Music

Gula Sámi (The Saami Anthem)

EuroTalk Interactive – Talk Now! Learn Saami
Learn to speak Saami

Áibbaseabmi
Ulla Pirttijarvi – Áibbaseabmi
Listen: Nieida -The Sami Girl

Gula Gula, Marie Boine – You Tube

Video

Pathfinder [VHS]
This is the first ever film in the Saami language and is based on an ancient Sami legend about a boy who witnesses his family’s murder.
UK: Pathfinder – Ofelas (DVD)

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Saami: aa092401

The Saami
The Saami (Lapps) are known as the people of the sun and the wind. They are a nomadic people of northern Scandinavia and are reindeer herders. Saami ethnic heritage, language, traditional clothing, and handicrafts are distinct from other cultures in Norway, Sweden, Finland or Russia.
Saami Art
The Saami traditionally decorated their tools, clothing and other items of daily life. Clothing was made of reindeer skins and felted wool. Clothing edges were decorated with colorful bandweaving and woven belts.

Photo of a Saami woman wearing traditional dress.

My Saami Heritage
My grandmother was a Norwegian Saami. Here are some photos that I have of her and my father.

Sami of the Kola Peninsula

Saami Traditional Arts
Program notes are available on-line for a presentation made by Artist Anna-Stina Svakko, visiting the Bay Area from Porjus, a traditional Saami village in northern Sweden.
Varanger Saami Museum

A Norwegian museum exhibits Saami Duojdi handicrafts.
Arctic Norway
A cultural excursion to Norway to visit Saami ‘grene’ weavers. folk museums and travel by riverboats past scenic waterfalls and fjords.
Saami History
Archaeologists have linked the oldest Scandinavian stone age culture, the Komsa to the ancestors of the Saami. Ghengis Khan wrote that the Saami were a nation he would not try to fight again. They didn’t believe in war but were peaceful retreaters and disappeared in times of conflict. They moved their homes and reindeer and adapted to their new natural surroundings.

Saami Crafts

Saami Blog
A great blog with photos of Skolt Saami weaving – grene.

Saami Weaving – You Tube

First the edge is woven on a rigid heddle loom and then the warp is attached to an upright warp weighted loom.

Saami Belts and Braids

Saami flag
Saami Double Heddle Loom
The colourful Saami bands are woven on a rigid heddle that has an extra hole for the colored yarn.

Stoorstalka Weaving Reeds
A traditional Sami weaving reed made of modern materials.
Buy the Loom

Band Weaving Patterns
Bands or belt patterns woven on a rigid heddle loom.

Sami Weaving Books

Sue Foulkes has written a few books about Sami band weaving and using a Sunna heddle.

Sami Music

Binna Banna – Kikki Aikio
Áphi (Wide As Oceans) – Sofia Jannok
Ulda – Ulla Pirttijärvi & Ulda
The Kautokeino Rebellion (Music from the Movie) – Herman Rundberg, Mari Boine & Svein Schultz
Beaivi, Áhcázan (The Sun, My Father) – Nils-Aslak Valkeapää

Saami Books and Music

Lapps and Labyrinths: Saami Prehistory, Colonization, and Cultural Resilience
Saami prehistory from 5000 BC to AD 1500.

God Wears Many Skins: Myth And Folklore Of The Sami People
This poem records the creation story of the Sami, a nomadic people of Northern Europe, and then retells several Scandinavian folk-tales derived from their playfully animistic world view.
UK: God Wears Many Skins

..More Saami Books…

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Saami Pickup Weaving Pattern: blsami6

A weaving draft for making a traditional Saami belt.
This type of weaving pattern was traditionally woven on a small rigid heddle type of loom. Some of the Saami heddle reeds also had an additional hole in them, that was for the pattern warp threads, so that they could be picked up easily from the warp.
2 Hole Heddle Weaving Reed

Warp

 

4 Blue

9 Red

20 White

Total: 32 Ends

Sami bandweaving pattern

 
Sami flag
 

Sami Weaving Patterns

Sami Weaving Drafts
Double Hole Rigid Heddle Looms
Beaivi Rigid Heddle Weaving

Saami Music – Itunes

Binna Banna – Kikki Aikio
Áphi (Wide As Oceans) – Sofia Jannok
Ulda – Ulla Pirttijärvi & Ulda
The Kautokeino Rebellion (Music from the Movie) – Herman Rundberg, Mari Boine & Svein Schultz
Beaivi, Áhcázan (The Sun, My Father) – Nils-Aslak Valkeapää

Band Weaving Books

Weaving Bands: Woven bands / Table Bands / Plaited Bands / Insertion Bands

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Handmade Adjustable Floor Rag Rug Twining Loom 48" x 27.5"

$100.00
End Date: Monday Dec-2-2019 4:30:45 PST
Buy It Now for only: $100.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Antique Vintage Nilus Leclerc Loom Tension Box Warp Weaving Wood

$109.99
End Date: Saturday Dec-14-2019 5:45:28 PST
Buy It Now for only: $109.99
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

Used Nilus LeClerc Table Loom Model MEDICO # S-22-4-73-00

$325.00
End Date: Sunday Dec-15-2019 9:09:52 PST
Buy It Now for only: $325.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

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