It is difficult to write this but I feel that I must share my experiences as part of my healing process. In early July, I found a lump and went to visit my doctor. A mammogram, ultrasound and a core needle biopsy revealed that this was Stage 3 breast cancer. 6 Days later I found myself in hospital undergoing a radical mastectomy. 9 Lymph nodes were also removed during the procedure.
The lab results showed that this was not a standard type of breast cancer but an extremely rare form, called Metaplastic Breast Cancer. Which is not actually a breast cancer, but a type of Skin cancer that happened to grow within my breast. My doctor informed me that there are no known successful treatments for this type of cancer, therefore he does not recommend further chemo treatments. The chemo could possibly do more harm than good. I will also be meeting with my oncologist in a few weeks to discuss more details of this type of cancer and treatment options.
If there are no successful treatments that modern medicine can provide, my best and only alternative is to look into holistic types of healing, using natural and organic foods, exercise, meditation and faith.
Due to the surgery, I have limited use of my right arm, so am unable to do any craft or textile work until my arm strengthens and heals.
I have had to cancel and postpone any workshops that I had scheduled. If you have booked a workshop with me, I will keep you updated on my progress.
I will continue to post updates to my story from time to time on my All Fiber Arts website.
Fish skins have been tanned and used for clothing, purses, and even armour in many cultures and countries.Fish skin in modern days is mostly considered to be a waste product and is discarded or ground up for fertilizer or animal foods. The fish skin waste can be reclaimed, tanned and made into beautiful and functional items. Fish leather is stronger than a tanned animal hide because the connective tissues are more like a woven material. When properly tanned, fish leather does not smell fishy, but is soft and supple, much like softly tanned suede leather.
I have begun to work with this wonderful material that nature provides, and to combine it with reindeer leather and wool vadmal, to make purses, bags, bracelets and other items. Because both the fish and reindeer leathers quite delicate to work with most items are carefully hand stitched together rather than using a sewing machine. Each piece can take 8 – 20 hours to complete. Each piece is made from a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of fish leather so every item is unique. The colours and textures vary depending on the species of fish and the tanning methods used. I try to source only fish leather that has been ethically sourced and tanned with natural tanning ingredients.
Hand Stitched Fish Leather products will soon be avaiable for purchase through my Web Shop.
Or Please visit my Etsy shop to see some of the latest hand stitched fish leather products.
I am also tanning some of my own fish leather. Please visit Sami Fish Leather for more information.
Sami Coffee Bag
This style of reindeer leather bag was used by the Sami to carry their coffee. Coffee was an important commodity to the Sami, so they kept it close to them and carried it in a special bag tied to their waist. As the Sami are a nomadic people, when they set up camp in an area, the wood fire was lit, and the coffee pot was set to brew, ready to be shared with everyone once the tents and camp were set up.
The Sami coffee bags are hand stitched using reindeer leather and Vadmal wool fabric. The bags are decorated with traditional Saami band weaving and pewter thread embroidery.
Vadmal is a woven wool cloth that has been felted. Felting the fabric after weaving, thickens the cloth and makes it wind and water resistant as well as warm. Vadmal is generally woven in a tabby or a twill weave on warp weighted or floor looms. In order to felt the fabric, the wet fabric can be pounded in a hammer mill for several hours in order to flatten and thicken the fabric. The hammering process creates a fabric that looks more like “real cloth” and produces a stable fabric with very little nap and the wool keeps its shine.
Sami coffee bags will be available for purchase through my Web Shop soon.
If you would like to discuss a custom order, please contact me.
Or please visit my PaivatarYarn shop on Etsy to see more Sami coffee bags.
I make these reindeer leather pouches and purses using small textile scraps of reindeer leather, because reindeer leather is hard to obtain. The Saami raise reindeer herds mostly for their own use. They use every part of the animal, for food, for clothing, for tools and other items. Only a small portion of reindeer leather is sold to the general public. Nothing is wasted.
Pewter or Tin thread was known as the poor man’s silver. The Saami would melt down pewter or tin plates and spin the metal into a fine thread which they used to make jewellery and decorate their clothing and other items.
The bags and purses are all hand made. The bags are decorated with pewter thread that is hand stitched onto the leather or onto wool vadmal fabric. I use traditional Saami rock are symbols for most of the designs.
Some of these handmade products will be available for purchase through my Web Shop soon.
Please contact me for more information.
Or Please visit my PaivatarYarn on Etsy shop to see a selection of handmade reindeer leather bags.
Reindeer Leather Clutch Bags
These clutch purses are made using reindeer leather scraps. Each one is different, depending on what I have in stock.
The clutch bags are lined with natural linen fabric, have a handwoven wrist strap and have a zipper closure.
Please check my Web Shop to see the current stock or contact me if you would like to make a custom order.
Wool Vadmal Ipad Cases and Pouches
These Ipad sleeves and covers are made with Norwegian wool vadmal fabric and trimmed with Saami band weaving. Vadmal is a type of wool cloth that has been woven and then beaten while wet in a hammer mill for about 8 hours. The beating treatment felts the wool and makes it wind and water resistant.
These cases fit an Ipad mini. If you would like to order a different size or colour, please contact me.
Please visit my Etsy shop to view the latest handmade purses, bags, Ipad cases and sleeves.
Or contact me if you would like to discuss a custom order.
Reindeer Leather Key Chains decorated with Pewter Thread embroidery.
I hand stitch these keyfobs using small scraps of reindeer leather because reindeer leather is a precious commodity and hard to obtain. The Saami raise the reindeer herds and use every part of the animals – for their food, clothing, tools and other items. They only sell small amounts of reindeer leather to the general community. Nothing is wasted.
The reindeer leather keyfobs are embellished with pewter thread that has been hand stitched onto wool vadmal fabric. I use symbols and designs that are based on historic Saami rock art drawings and sacred drums. The reverse of the keychain is made of reindeer leather.
Reindeer leather and fish leather keyfobs will be available for purchase through my Web Shop soon.
Or Please check my PaivatarYarns shop on Etsy for some of the latest reindeer leather key fobs.