Nordic Makers

Nordic Makers – Introduction

11th January 2017

Nordic MakersIts a new year and I want to kick it off with something special. A while back I wrote a post about the movement towards local wool. Since then, I have wanted to take a closer look at my more immediate fiber world. It really bugged me that I knew a lot more about what was happening on the other side of the world, than I did about what’s going on where I actually live.

Of course once I voiced the thought, I began to notice all the initiatives around me a lot more . It has been a slow build up, but right now there is also somewhat of an explosion of new stuff going on. Wool producers are organising. Craft fairs seem to pop up everywhere. Two new Scandinavian knit magazines launched just within the last couple of months (Welcome Laine and Garn) and the number of artists, designers, writers and small businesses working with fiber keeps growing.

Nordic Makers

I want to know more about all these exciting things happening. The people and the businesses, new and old. Because I am super curious, but also to see if there is a thread in the way people work. Do the traditions we have in the Nordic countries, factor into how people work with fiber now? Or is it more complex than that. Are there any new traditions? How is it to work with crafts in a globalised world? This might sound a bit lofty, but really I just want to talk to my fellow Nordic fiber lovers and make a space for all of those conversations.

So I decided to create an ongoing interview series called Nordic Makers. That way I get to ask these awesome people questions and learn more about them. The first few are already done and I am so looking forward to share them with you!

The whole Nordic thing

I feel like a bit of information on the term Nordic is probably needed. Even as a person born here the definition can be a bit confusing, as it is often seamlessly interchanged with Scandinavia, for no apparent reason. Or used to market an overhyped food trend. What it actually covers is a geographical region made up of the actual Scandinavian countries Norway, Sweden and Denmark. As well as Finland, Iceland and the Danish territories Greenland and the Faroe Islands. The area it covers is about a third of the size of the United states. What matters in this context though, is not so much geography, but the history of cultural exchange between the countries. There is after all a pretty neat kinship happening.

The always brilliant Kate Davies talks about this as a “fluid set of Nordic regional textile practices” and tells the story of the Norwegian yoked sweater:

“… In 1953, a Norwegian designer working in London saw a photograph of the Danish Royal Family, wearing Greenland national dress. Inspired by this photograph she went on to create the “Eskimo” sweater. Now regarded as an icon of Norwegian knitwear design – but how ‘national’ a design could this sweater, in fact, be said to be?”

What I take from this is that, not surprisingly, traditions and practices in the Nordic countries (or most places really) are not created in a national vacuum. I think we are all the better for it. Never the less I still want to examine what the living, breathing traditions and practices are in this region. Not necessarily what they used to be, but how they move and change and even how they are influenced by other cultures. Most importantly I want to know who the people breathing life into them are.

So that is what I intend to do. In a couple of days I’ll share the first Interview and we will see how it grows from there. If there is someone from this region you’re curious about, just let me know in the comments and I might contact them to take part.

Nordic Makers - Pippi Longstocking wearing traditional swedish fisherman's sweater

Images top to bottom 
  • Kalaallit woman from eastern Greenland in traditional garb. Beaded collars like this one, is said to be the inspiration behind the Norwegian yoked sweaters (and the Icelandic for that matter).
  • Kirsten Hoffstätter started a protest movement with her Hønsestrik books in Denmark, back in the 70’s. Rebelling against strict knitwear patterns, and also the patriarchy.
  • 1950’s Faroese school kids wearing great sweaters. I would like one of each, please.
  • Pippi Longstocking in a traditional Swedish fisherman’s sweater. This design dates back to the 1700’s, but now most Swedes simply know it as the Pippi sweater.

 

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8 Comments

  • Reply Clara 11th January 2017 at 17:10

    I am so curious to read more! Especially about these 70s knitting feminists…

    • Reply Simone 11th January 2017 at 18:59

      Thats great to hear! I hadn’t really counted on doing a historical bit for this, but when I was putting the images together I got kind of excited about it. We’ll see :)

    • Reply Lynn VonHoogenstyn 15th January 2017 at 00:41

      I am so excited to find your blog. My mother was from Norway and her mother taught me to knit. I knit with the yarn in the left hand but it is a different method then my friends use. I just tell them I knit Norwegian not Continnetal. Thanks for the beautiful patterns and stories.

  • Reply Viola 11th January 2017 at 18:24

    What an interesting idea. I look forward to read the interviews.

    • Reply Simone 11th January 2017 at 18:59

      Thank you Viola :)

  • Reply Joan Domingo Espín 16th January 2017 at 17:45

    Awesome! Looking forward for it! I am sure you already thought of this but Arne and Carlos, I am sure, will have a very interesting point of view!

    • Reply Simone 16th January 2017 at 20:39

      Hey Joan,
      Thank you for the suggestion! They are definitely on my list ;)

  • Reply Januarentdeckungen – Frau Lieblingsbunt 30th January 2017 at 16:56

    […] drittes Paar dringend benötigt. Temple of Knit veröffentlicht zurzeit eine Reihe Beiträge über Nordic Makers. Eine schöne Möglichkeit für alle, die an verschiedenen Kulturen und Traditionen interessiert […]

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