Wood: Duodji: tools, materials etc.

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Wood: Duodji: tools, materials etc.

Birch is the most common wood used in Saami handicraft (Duodji: tools, materials etc., Integral Education). Birch is a raw material which does not dye or leave any smell and it has been always been easy to find in Saami areas. Birch is also a strong/solid raw material, and because of that it was very suitable during the times, when the Saami travelled from one place to another for hunting and collecting purposes. Birch is wood in which the necessary curve has to be cut out and bent. This has been used for some gári, like lástegári/ a flat trough or dáigegávgil/ dough trough.

Lástegárri, a flat trough made by Jon Ole Andersen, Kárášjohka (Karasjok).

Jon Ole Andersen, a Sámi handicraftsman from Kárášjohka, makes troughs of different sizes and for different purposes. He still fetches his raw material, the burls, from the woods. Sledge runners and skis have bent tips. The old way of making sleds and boats still exists and even though new techniques and materials have been developed the shape is still the same as in the old days. For a lot of handicraft, the materials show the way for the maker. For making harness for reindeer or horses and poles for the Saami tent it is simply a question of looking for the right shape in the natural material. Then there is no need for bending or cutting curves from the materials. The natural shapes also make the finished product stronger. When one is to make a harness for a domesticated reindeer it is necessary to shape it to the animal that is going to use it in order to make it perfect. The burls can inspire the Saami handicraftsmen of today to make new artefacts. Folke Fjällström, from Jerpen in the Swedish side of Sápmi, is a Saami artist who uses burls to shape new objects of art, inspired by his own interpretation and experience.

Table of contents: Living and household, clothing etc.

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