Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Stitching Sami signs and runes
I'm proceeding with my experiments on stitching - and as I am Swedish, I focus a lot of my interest on the ancient culture of my own country.
These runes and magical signs are taken from an old Sami drum. The Sami population, who are the indigenous people of Northern Europe, totally count some 70.000 persons (20.000 in Sweden). They live in Sápmi, an area around the Polar circle, which stretches over Sweden, Norway, Finland and Russia. About 10.000 Samis are still involved in reindeer husbandry today.
The Sami religion was based upon the belief that the cosmos was divided into three spheres - the underworld, the real world and the celestial world. Shamans foretold the future and communicated with the gods with the help of sacred drums.
I now used a medium sort of linen punched on woolen cloth for the background, and the horizontal line is embroidered with a split stitch and a very unusual yarn: it's a 3-ply multicoloured recycling package string, which I found in a big construction material/DIY shop and then separated into three strands! I find these many but still muted colours to be really perfect for ancient and 'folkloristic' designs ... (I guess you will see more of this yarn in my future postings!)
The Sami runes and magical signs are made in stem stitch with two different types of thin, variegated knitting yarn. This works fine with a soft material like wool, but not with canvas, as the thread will break very soon being frequently pulled through the rough holes.