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Bivttastallat – Making Clothing

Oct 14, 2011 10:00 AM

In its last special exhibition of the year, the Sámi Museum Siida will present clothing and accessories designed and made by Maarit Magga from the village of Vuontisjärvi in Enontekiö. Magga, a specialist in traditional Sámi arts and crafts, uses reindeer materials also for new types of clothes that can be worn in modern contexts. In addition to clothing, the exhibition presents notes from the artisanís diary as well as models made and photographs taken during the sewing process.

Maarit Magga has graduated as a subject teacher of the Sámi language from the University of Oulu and now works as a teacher of Sámi in the school of Hetta. She calls making handicraft ”her other life”. Ever since childhood, handicraft has played an important role in the life of Magga, a daughter of a reindeer-herding family.

”I have always seen people crafting in my home. At first, my mother Iisku Ándde ¡nne and her eldest sister Elle who lived close by were my most important supporters and sources of inspiration, maybe without knowing it. My mother had turned the small room of our sauna building into her sewing room. I remember the smell of wood being burnt in the sauna while my mother and Aunt Elle sewed together fur boots or something else. Now that I plod on all alone, I understand how important and valuable it was for them to craft together and support each other.”

The materials of traditional Sámi handicraft (duodji), especially those from reindeer, are dear and familiar materials for the artisan. Magga emphasises that experimenting is possible only after one has learnt to master traditional methods and patterns and knows how to prepare and work with the materials. In Magga’s clothing, the starting-point is usually either in the reindeer materials or broadcloth, and the general cut is based on the pattern of the traditional Sámi dress. Experimenting shows in the clothing as new combinations of materials and the practical aspects of the garments - and as new types of objects, too.

Maarit Magga completed the degree of a bachelor of duodji, or Sámi craft, in the summer of 2011 at the Sámi University College in Kautokeino, Norway. Some of the clothes and accessories of the exhibition have been made as part of the requirements of the degree. The exhibition also displays Maarit Magga’s diploma work, ”The Cradle of the Angel Child”, which Magga made to commemorate her son Salmmo, who died at the age of four. Through this piece of craft, she reflects on the relationship between grief and creativity.

The Finnish Cultural Foundation and its Regional Fund of Lapland, the Sámi Parliament and the Saami Council have supported Maarit Magga’s artistic work and thus contributed to the exhibition Bivttastallat - Making Clothing. The jewellery of the exhibition has been made by Johanna Labba (Silba Design).

The exhibition is open at Siida until the end of January 2012. In winter, Siida is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Welcome!

Further information:
Maarit Magga, tel. +358(0)400 937 659, mmagga(at)suomi24.fi, or Arja Hartikainen, Head Curator, Sámi Museum Siida, tel. +358 (0)40 579 3313, arja.hartikainen(at)samimuseum.fi

Sámi museum, Siida, Inarintie 46, FI-99870 Inari, tel. +358 (0)400 898 212, siida@samimuseum.fi, www.siida.fi

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