If you didn’t already know it the Sámi people who live in Lapland in the very far north of Sweden, are the original Swedes. They can trace their roots here back to the Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago.
Sámi handicraft, made from traditional, natural materials is exquisite and unique and makes a beautiful present.
What it is
Sámi slöjd, or handicraft, falls into two categories – hard handicraft and soft handicraft. The first is by tradition made for men and mainly consists of knives and cups with elaborately engraved reindeer horns. Soft handicraft, meanwhile, is traditionally for women, consisting of clothing, intricately woven tin wire bracelets and other jewellery, bags and baskets woven from birch roots, known as root handicraft.
Where to buy it
You can buy Sámi arts and crafts in the towns and villages of Swedish Lapland and other parts of northern Sweden. If you’re visiting Kiruna, the largest city in Lapland, head for the Carl Wennberg shop, which has been selling Sámi arts and crafts here since 1907. Further down the country, in the northern town of Vilhelmina, you’ll find Risfjells Sameslöjd. This genuine boutique with an online store was named handicraft store of the year at Corporate Livewire Scandinavia Prestige Awards 2021/22. Doris and Sven-Åke Risfjell have manufactured Sámi products like wooden mugs and patterned pillows for over 40 years.
Another great place to buy Sámi handicrafts is at the Jokkmokk winter market at the beginning of February each year. The market has been held here for 400 years and there is probably no better place to experience Sámi culture – and to buy Sámi handicrafts direct from a Sámi artisan.
If you’re lucky enough to stay at the iconic Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi, pay a visit to the Icehotel shop for Sámi arts and crafts. Otherwise, if you’re in Stockholm, pay a visit to Svensk Hemslöjd, who sells Sámi handicrafts.