Fish Leather Bags

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.
Please visit my Etsy shop to see 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.


Hand Stitching Salmon Leather
Hand Stitching Salmon Leather

Salmon Leather Flex Frame Pouch
Salmon Fish Leather Flex Frame Pouch
Salmon / Reindeer Leather Flex Frame Purse
Salmon Skin and Reindeer Leather Flex Frame Purse
Fish Leather Coin Pouches
Fish Leather Coin Pouches
Plaice Fish Leather Coin Purse
Plaice Fish Leather Coin Purse
Salmon Fish Leather Card Wallet
Salmon Fish Leather Card Wallet

Sami Style Handbags

These felted handbags and purses are inspired by the traditional Saami designs of my ancestors.

Felted Saami Handbag
Felted Saami Handbag

This handbag has been felted with a blend of snowy white Merino and Blue Leicester wools. The bag has been decorated with a traditional Saami style handwoven braid.
Look for these in my Etsy shop or contact me if you would like to order a bag in a different colour or design.

Felted Saami Sun Shoulder Bag
Felted Saami Sun Shoulder Bag

#sami #sapmi #duodji #lapland

Petsamo Life

My father recorded some audio tapes of his life in Lapland. Here are some .mp3 file excerpts from those tapes.

I am also working on a translation of his stories. Many thanks to my brother Asko, for preserving the tapes, and to my nephew Rainer, for converting them to digital format.

Aiti in Norway.mp3

My Saami grandmother
My Saami grandmother

These stories are from my childhood, from what I remember of stories that my Aiti told me. Aiti was born in Vesisaari, Norway, behind Vesisaari, Anni Joki. When Aiti (Maria Dahl) was small girl she was brought to Petsamo. At that time there were 3 Lapp families living there. Matti, Panko, Piera Hans, Maripik Mari Larssen, who was called Poro Kuningatar (reindeer queen).

She was raised with this woman from a small child until she grew up. As a child growing up, she traveled with her adoptive mother, throughout the shores of Petsamo. She took care of the reindeer in winter, chopped wood and herded the reindeer home. She did all the women’s and men’s chores as well, as there were no men in the family. Her adopted mother was elderly and also quite ill.

Around the age of 20 she went to Norway in the spring to work in the fishing camps. She met a Finnish fishermen and married him. In the fall after fishing was over, they moved back to Kola, Russia, where he was from.

Isa was a kirves mies (carpenter) and worked as a boat builder in the winter. One time, when he had 7 sons and 1 daughter he got very sick. He had a cut on his hand, and with the lack of doctors, he got sick and died.

He died at 3 am and 3 hours later at 6 am I was born, 2 weeks prematurely. Oct. 20, 1906.

When I was 1 1/2 years old, Aiti moved us back to Petsamo.

Sami Handwoven Bands

These belts, braids and bands are hand woven using traditional Saami patterns. The bands are generally woven using wool yarns imported from Sweden and Finland. The Sami Bands are woven on a Sami style double heddle reed. Sami band weaving is quite time consuming to weave, unlike most other types of braid weaving because each pattern thread is hand picked, but also gives the ability to weave more complex pattern variations.

The woven bands can be custom ordered in a variety of widths and styles with a choice of traditional Sami colours
(Red, Blue, Yellow, Green, White)

The Saami belts or bands are available through my PaivatarYarn Etsy shop or you can contact me directly for more information.

Prices are per meter.

How to Weave on a Beaivi Sami Double Heddle Loom

#sami #sapmi #lapland

Saami Heritage

My grandmother was Marja (Maria) Dahl, a Saami, born in Vesisaari,Vadsà in northern Norway, near the Anni Joki on August 4, 1870. Her parents moved to Petsamo when she was a baby. There were 3 other Sami families living in Petsamo at the time. Matti Pankko, Piera Hans and Marjapik Mari Larsen. Her parents died shortly after and she was adopted by Marjapik Mari. She was known as the poron kuningatar (reindeer queen).
At age 20 she married a Finnish fisherman and boatbuilder and moved to Kola. My father, Salomon Halonen, was born Oct. 20, 1906, in Kola (now part of Russia). His father died the night that he was born, and he moved with his mother and other siblings to live in Petsamo when he was about 18 month’s old.

Marja Dahl
Marja Dahl

My grandmother made traditional Saami crafts with reindeer leather and stitched mittens using nalbinding techniques. In the summer months, she would travel back to Norway to work. She had a small sailboat and would go fishing and also sell the things she had made during the winter months in exchange for food items such as coffee, sugar and flour. Due to the long winters, the Saami were not able to do much craft work. During her trips to Norway, she purchased an oil lamp. She was really happy about this because she could then work longer hours on her crafts. The light shone from their small cabin and could be seen by other villagers as she worked during the long, dark winter days of the arctic North. My grandmother died on May 10, 1936 at age 65 of old age in a nursing home in Vuonokylä Petsamo.

Salomon Halonen
Salomon Halonen as a boy

His mother became ill and was not able to care for him so my father was moved to an orphanage/ boarding school in Russian Karelia. This photo was taken when he attended a boarding school in Petrosavoski, Petrozavodsk, Karelian Russia, age 13.

Salomon Halonen
Salomon Halonen

My father enjoyed music and was proud of his Saami heritage.

Sami Felt Art

These hand felted art pictures are based on some of the ancient rock art of my ancestors, the Saami people. Some of these carvings date back almost 5000 years. The northern areas of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia were inhabited by the Sami people. The images depict scenes from their daily life: tents and villages, boats, fish, birds, bears, reindeer as well as totemistic and shamanistic rituals.

Sami Felt Art: Poro Reindeer
Sami Felt Art: Poro Reindeer

Poro Reindeer
To the Saami, reindeer herding was more than a profession but a way of life. Before the 17th Century the Sami relied on reindeer as their main food source as well as their clothing and shelter. The Sami needs were simple and they only took what they needed from nature. They completed their diet with hunting birds and fish and gathering berries. They were a nomadic people and moved their villages with the seasons and as the food sources for the reindeer diminished.
Poro Reindeer Felt Art on Etsy

Noaidi
Sami Noaidi Shaman Felt Art

Noaidi Shaman
The Noaidi or Sami Shaman were traditionally the healers and protectors of the Sami people. They had the role of mediator between the human and spiritual world. Using a drum, the Noaidi invoked assistance from benevolent spirits.
Noaidi Shaman Felt Art on Etsy

Sami Beaivi Sun Felt Art
Sami Beaivi Sun Felt Art

Beaivi Sun
In Sapmi, the Land of the Midnight Sun, where the Sun doesn’t reach the horizon in the winter months, the Sun is appreciated and plays a major role in Sami culture.
At winter solstice, a reindeer was sacrificed to ensure that the sun returned to the world and put an end to the long winter season. At the time of the year when the Sun was returning, butter (which melts in the sunshine) was smeared on the doorposts, so that she could gain strength and go higher and higher in the sky. At summer solstice, people made sun rings out of leaves and pinned them up in her honour.
Beaivi Sun Felt Art on Etsy

Sami Laavu Village Felt Art
Sami Laavu Village Felt Art

Laavu Villages
The Sami are a nomadic people and traditionally their home is the laavu, a portable tent that is the “house” for the family. The Sami lived in the laavu for most of the year. and moved their villages with the seasons as the food sources for feeding their reindeer diminished.
Laavu Village Felted Art on Etsy

Sami Felt Art

Etsy: Sami Felt Art – The Sun

Look for some of my handmade felt art at my yarnshop on:
Folksy.com/shops/Paivatar
or
Paivatar Yarn on Facebook to see what I’m working on next.