Museums 3, 4 & 5
The first day in Vadsø, I drove back to Neiden and visited the Øst-samiske museum. Curator Honna Havas has done a magnificent job putting together exhibits and planning this new museum despite multiple, frustrating set-backs to the museum's opening. Her enthusiastic love for her job and the Skolt Sámi people (referred to as the East Sámi or Øst-samiske in Norwegian, hence the museum's name) was both stimulating and infectious.
She made sure Heine Wesslin was there to talk with me. Heine is a younger woman who lives and attends college in Northern Finland. She also has a deep love for the Skolt people, collecting patterns and learning multiple handicrafts under the tutelage of Matleena Fofonoff, a master craftsman of the Skolt Sámi people.
I enjoyed the drive to and from Neiden much more this second day, now that I had driven it once before and knew what to expect.
The second day, I drove to Polmak, Norway, nestled next to the Finnish border on the Tana river, to visit the Tana museum. It is in an idyllic location, in a sheltered valley. This is the traditional home to the River Sámi. The curator at this museum, Turid Lindi, arranged for several Sámi knitters to meet with me and share their projects. What a joy to see their fine knitting, and hear our conversation translated from English to Norwegian to Sámi and back again.
I also popped in and chatted with curator Mia Krogh at the Varangerbotn / Sea Sami museum. I had previously emailed with her, but forgot to tell her I would be in the area. She rose to the occasion and rustled up four pairs of mittens. This pair, although not Sami, was particularly interesting with its history of being peddled door to door by a crazy old man years and years ago. Now this pattern is associated with this region, and a region of Southern Sweden. Very curious...
The last museum was the Vadsø museum itself. The curator here, Renate Martinussen, arranged the Knit Cafe to meet when I was there, and for me to do a presentation. A lovely warm evening, I walked to the Knit Cafe, and enjoyed a lovely coffee and cake, warm conversation, and beautiful projects.
Next: my drive and time in the Sámi Norwegian political center city, Karasjok.