Accepted Paper:

"Visible" and "invisible" Sámi craftsmanship  
Anna Gustafsson (Stockholm University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper looks at “visible” (commercial) and “invisible” (domestic) craftsmanship among the Sámi of northern Fennoscandia. In doing so, it highlights important insights and connections concerning handicraft, commercialisation processes, domestic work, identity politics, kinship and gender.

Paper long abstract:

Within the last few decades there has been a growing demand for Sámi handicrafts, both among Sámi and non-Sámi people. This increasing demand has resulted in a thriving commercial market as well as a growing domestic production. Many recent studies address the commodification of Sámi handicraft. By contrast, domestic craft production has gained less attention in contemporary debates. It was mainly women who made handicraft in the small North-Norwegian hamlet where I conducted fieldwork. While their work was becoming increasingly wanted and appreciated by their kin, neighbours and friends, the women often portrayed themselves and their work as being usynlig (invisible) in academic and political contexts. This paper considers the significance of women's domestic craft production and questions why the domestic has been a marginalised topic of study. It also looks at the interrelationship between various new demands and values of Sámi handicraft and their production processes. Paying attention to the demands of handicraft made at home for non-commercial purposes provides novel insights on Sámi handicraft in contemporary society. I argue that, from the Lulesámi perspective, commercial production reproduces Sámi handicraft and offers an important source of livelihood. Domestic craft production establishes, on the other hand, affectionate relationships among family members, contributes to the household economy and provides an important domain for women to express themselves.

Panel P131
Which craft? Politics and aesthetics of handicraft in post-industrial contexts