Adventure, Arctic, Art, Awareness, Beauty, Chronic illness, Culture, DIY, Duodji, Everyday life, Hair, Health, Indigenous, Jewellery, Knitting, Landscape, Make-Up, Neurological, Outfit, People, Photography, Photoshoot, Quotes, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Self portrait, Sewing, Spirituality, Uralic

My creative energy

Can I just say, this is the best photo anyone has ever taken of me? Susann, thank you for capturing my essence. Here I am wearing a headdress and silk liidni I sewed myself, and the gákti summer dress is made by Nadezda Johnsen.
Autumn wind…🧡🍂🙌🏼
Life is a lot of chopping wood and carrying water… I think that is how the saying goes 😉

“Your healing journey will, of course, include a consideration and use of all the best tools modern medicine can offer you, as well as the best tools holistic healing can offer you. From a deeper perspective, illness is caused by unfulfilled longing. The deeper the illness, the deeper the longing. It is a message that somehow, somewhere, you have forgotten who you are and what your purpose is. You have forgotten and disconnected from the purpose of your creative energy from your core. Your illness is the symptom: The disease represents your unfulfilled longing. So above all else, use your illness to set yourself free to do what you have always wanted to do, to be who you have always wanted to be, to manifest and express who you already are from your deepest, broadest, and highest reality. If indeed you have discovered yourself to be ill, prepare yourself for change, expect your deepest longing to surface and to be brought to fruition. Prepare yourself to finally stop running and turn and face the tiger within you, whatever that means to you in a very personal way. I suggest the best place to start to find the meaning of your illness is to ask yourself: “What is it that I have longed for and not yet succeeded in creating in my life?”’ (From Barbara Brennan’s book Emerging Light)

Arctic, Awareness, Beauty, Culture, Everyday life, Finnmark, Hair, Health, Heritage, Indigenous, People, Photography, Photoshoot, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Self portrait, Sewing, Uralic, Vajrayana, Yoga

What that means to me

Vajra brocade jacket in green and gold I was lucky to find in local second hand store. It is handmade, too, wonder who made it and gave it away.

I wanted to make a post on the physical body. I have noticed in social media a trend called ‘body positivity’, and I wanted to share my own version of what that means to me:

  • Knowing that my body is made from the natural elements and is a result of thousands of generations
  • Reminding myself that all my cells are working hard to keep me alive every day
  • Eating traditional sustainable foods that my body easily turn into energy
  • Deep sleep and meditation to give body healing and vitality
  • Practice prayer and mantras to help body get rid of karmic traces stored inside the cells
  • Strength training to keep joints stable and posture straight
  • Keeping in mind how ancestors lived, and how they treated their bodies
  • Reminding myself to breathe with my belly, through nose and keeping my tongue in the roof of mouth, while jaw relaxed, as this feels most natural and it makes body relax
  • Tapping into body’s innate healing powers if I feel sick
  • Feeling how the body is an anchor that exists and keeps us in the present moment

Maybe I could add more later. What would you add? Thanks for reading, have a lovely day. -M

Adventure, Arctic, Awareness, Beauty, Everyday life, Indigenous, Landscape, People, Photography, Photoshoot, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Sewing, Tromsø, Uralic

Photo series: Arctic summer, pt 1

My mum staring into the ocean 💙
Little flowers in the sand at our hidden secret beach.
Beach view.
Our son got to see and play with the ocean waves. He was kind of scared, but also curious!
Prestvannet / Báhpajávri
Some lotus like flowers at the Arctic Alpine botanic garden.
In the forest 💚
Some gorgeous tulips outside the Polar Museum in Tromsø.
My beautiful coffee bag sewn by duojár Inga Nilsen Eira. It’s made from reindeer skin, wool and cotton bands, and braided reindeer skin string. Perfect to bring my coffee on walks and trips ❤️
Anthropology, Arctic, Awareness, Culture, Duodji, Finnmark, Genealogy, Landscape, People, Photography, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Sewing, Spirituality, Tromsø, Uralic

We Are Uralic

Who are Uralians and Ugrians? We are different peoples with unique cultures and common linguistic roots, stretching from Russia, over Siberia and the Ural mountains, into Scandinavia. Some have moved further south, like the Hungarians. Many of us live Arctic and sub-Arctic lives and livelihoods. Many of us also have lost our traditional cultures and language.

We are Sámis, Kvens, Finns, Karelians, Khantys, Maris, Mansis, Nganasans, Nenets, Komis, Tornedalians, Selkups, and many more. I tried to add a small variety of photos from our community below.

Uralic clothing vary from boys and girls/men and women, and is usually made just to fit the climate. Sewing patterns are often kept within the family and only used by the ethnic group and not outsiders. Summers can get pretty warm, and winters of course get extremely cold, so there are different garments for the seasons. More text and a poem below 😊

The Arctic circle and some coastal settlements. Uralians live mainly in Europe and Eurasia.
Nganasan womens pants and shoes. (C) Bryan and Cherry Alexander, Arcticphoto.com
A group of two Nganasan men and three women in traditional dress outside a hut at a camp on the Kheta River. Taimyr, Northern Siberia, Russia. 2004. © Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography. Arcticphoto.com
Mansi girls in traditional clothing and shawls. Credit: unknown.
Rita Morokova, a young Selkup woman, at a summer camp in the taiga. Krasnoselkup, Yamal, Western Siberia, Russia
© Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography. Arcticphoto.com
Nora Ollila in traditional Kven dress. Kvens are Finns who emigrated to Finnmark, Arctic Norway. Very few speak Kven nowadays. Three out of my eight great grandparents were Kven.
Nenets women with pelt clothing and head scarfs.
Traditional Karelian dress from Republic of Karelia. Located between Finland and Russia.
Anne Bull in a pesk made from reindeer hide, and silver jewellery. Sámi woman.
Skolt Sámi headdress for married woman to the left. I took this photo at Ä’vv skolt sami museum in Neiden, Arctic Norway. There are different headdresses depending on your marital status.
Tundra summer life. Nenet women and toddlers.
Khanty women in traditional dress at a Spring festival in the village of Pitlyar. Yamal, Western Siberia, Russia© Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography. Arcticphoto.com
Vassilly Longortov, an elderly Khanty man, out fishing in his boat on the Synya River. Yamal, Western Siberia, Russia. © Bryan & Cherry Alexander Photography. Arcticphoto.com
Mari children, photographed by Dima Komarov. See full photo series here.
Sámi men in Guovdageaidnu, Arctic Norway. Wearing pesk/finnmudd/beaska. Blue wool gákti on the 4th man. The four pointed hat is Northern Sámi. Photo by Sophus Tromholt.
Mikkel Gaup in pelt clothing. Sámi. From the classic movie The Pathfinder, one of my favourite movies.
Mikkel Josefsen Näkkälä. Reindeer herder. Colorised by Per Ivar Somby. Photo by Sophus Tromholt.
Nganasan toddlers and women in traditional clothes. Nganasans are Uralics from the Samoyedic branch, native to Taimyr, Siberia.
Guovdageaidnu Sámis, Norway. Gáktis and pesks. Women wear chest silver risku for protection. Gáktis are Sámi dresses that vary from each region. The more colour, the better.
Duodji handcraft by Hilde Marie Lund. Coffee bag with The Shaman with Drum symbol. The small mug is a miniature version of a guksi. Duodji can be translated to “beautiful things made practical”.
Shot from Kautokeino-opprøret. Wearing pesks and reindeer gákti. Arctic Norway.
Sámi languages/tribes. This map shows part of Scandinavia, Finland and Western Russia.
Siberian child at the Ä’vv skolt Sámi museum in Neiden i visited in 2018.
Arctic languages. Uralic in orange. Great map. For more high resolution map go here. Also, they are looking to complete the map with more information on dialects, please let them know on the link too if you have somehing to add!
Komse/giekta for baby.
Komi women in winter clothing.
Nenet woman in reindeer clothing with traditional decor. Reindeer sled.
Nenet man and women in traditional winter clothing.
Nenet girls/young women hairstyle called ta’ne.
Mansi woman in traditional clothing. The chest piece and shoe decor is beaded.
Credit: khanty_mansi_mir on instagram
My skaller/nuvttohat sewn by a friend of my grandmother for me when i was little. They are so well used, but taken care of except one small whole i need to fix.. They are made from reindeer hide and leather. Wool insides.. Very warm, only for dry snow use, but too small for me now… Time to pass them on to our son ❤💙💛🧡

Usually, if not always, ethnic European and Eastern/Eurasian (Arctic) clothing has specific designs for women, men, girls and boys. Practical, warm and distinguishable; usually a bit, or vastly, different for each region. Often bright colours and intrinsic details. Made from the immediate surroundings; wool and animals. Sometimes silk. Giving the wearer a place and belonging; need only look at a persons clothes to know where they, or where their parents are from. Sewing patterns are often kept within the family only. Nowadays however, many native outfits are only used a few times a year for special occasions due to many people moving into the city and/or the boarding schools, and designs are evolving with the new creative youth, creating new ideas and identities, which is normal and expected. But traditional sewing skills are sadly not being taught that much from early age.

Clothing is important. No store bought garment sewn by a machine can measure with an outfit that contains your ancestry and history in every stitch. Many nowadays are also lucky to have more than one ancestry and thus more wardrobe options! Many have lost their native language(s) and feel like a “poser” if they use them or sew them, perhaps scared of getting strange looks or be called names, but I will forever argue that we should wear it like our own skin, because it is a birthright of sorts.

Every two weeks a language dies with its last speaker, 50 to 90 percent of them are predicted to disappear by the next century (source for the statistic: National Geographic). For example; 35 out of 38 Uralic languages are endangered or critically endangered due to assimilation and globalisation. Many Uralics live Arctic lives and livelihood in Europe and Eurasia. Herding, fishing and hunting. Linguistics say there used to be at least (!) 31 000 languages in the human history, now we are down to around 6000, and it is declining every fortnight. This makes sewing and using our traditional dresses even more important.

Keep sewing and keep teaching children traditional skills. They will thank you down the line, I am sure of that.

Thank for reading. I will end this post with a poem by Ingrid Mollenkopf from her book ‘Between Sleeps: Uralic Poetry’:

“Petals do fall on the grass beneath my feet

Do they remember their days among the branches?

Do they remember

All the world’s sweet breezes

Brushing their fibers

Carrying their good scent afloat?

As I remember

My youth

Among my people

Do we remember

The colors and voices

Moving our instincts guiding our every moment?” 🌺

Arctic, Beauty, Dzogchen, Indigenous, Landscape, Meditation, Outfit, Photography, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Sewing, Vajrayana, Yoga

Pastel coloured skies

My favourite shawl. Head dress I made by hand.
A tantric Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal statue I helped repaint for a friend. The union of wisdom and compassion. Wish I had a similar one! Hopefully one day I will afford one 🙏🏻

You know how you need to pretend to sleep in order to fall asleep? And at some point it just happens. Maybe it’s the same with other areas of life. Fake it till you make it, kind of, not in a bad way – just a dedicated one. I have noticed at least that the same applies to yoga and meditation sometimes. If I feel stressed, anxious and restless, I force myself to do the practice anyway. And at some level it still does its magic, of that I am 100% sure. In between the sleepless thoughts and rough emotions – they become like clouds in the pastel coloured sky.

Wishing all a lovely calm Polar night, and remember that it’s in darkness you shine the brightest 🌌✨🎆

Arctic, Art, Beauty, Culture, Dharma, DIY, Dzogchen, Everyday life, Genealogy, Indigenous, People, Photography, Photoshoot, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Sewing, Spirituality, Uralic, Vajrayana

Things that are yours to keep

Traditional headdress by me, shawl hand-me-down. Photo by Sebastian Wilches 2020.

Some things I truly believe are yours to keep, that no one can take from you:

Your spiritual practice. In my case, it is vajrayana buddhism. It has saved my life in many ways – both in dealing with chronic illness, but also the normal existential stuff like finding purpose and joy 🙂🙏🏼📿

Your ambitions and dreams (if they come from a place of pure motivation and love). In my case now, it has been starting a little family with children 💜🤱

Your ethnicity and ancestry, no matter how lost or scattered it is in this modern world. In my case from my personal experience, I feel very connected to my home in the Arctic and being uralic/finno-ugric. I didn’t as a kid and teenager, at all, but now as I am older, I feel like I can “own” it more. I don’t speak any of the uralic languages, and feel a sadness about this. A disconnection from my own culture. And a feeling of not belonging to a community, when they can’t speak to me. I hope my son will not feel as disconnected. But I have found other ways to express this – primarily through art and duodji. Not all languages are of verbal nature, but are equally important, I think. 🎨

Your creativity. Not necessarily arts, but anything you find a solution to that involves stepping out of the habitual intellectual mind and into a state of spontaneity and flow.🌊

Your struggles. This sounds negative, but for me I mean that my struggles are valid. I have a body that has its big share of physical problems, and I don’t mean to whine. At all! 🙂 Just to express that this is my reality, and that chronic (perhaps invisible to others) illness can happen to anyone, any time in life.💙

Your love. This one sounds cheesy but I think we all can feel love and that we have love as a basic human need. To receive it and give it. And we all have different ways of showing it. I like giving gifts for example.. but am not so good verbally expressing how I feel. I like receiving kind loving deeds, but not to be smothered. So understanding how we show it differently is important too. I also believe that as humans we have the capacity to love many at the same time. Whether it is friends or partners, plural. Romantic, familial or platonic.❤

Arctic, Beauty, Culture, DIY, Hair, Indigenous, Outfit, Photography, Photoshoot, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Sewing

Feeling most like myself

Always feel the most beautiful in my own handmade clothing and/or traditional clothing. Woolhat and skirt made by me 🙂
Photos by Sebastian Wilches, edit by me.
Not sure what I am doing with my hands, I never know how to hold them…(:
Photo and edit by Sebastian Wilches (@wilchesfotografia)
Kofte and wool hat made by me
Mittens by my ‘mother-in-law’ Kristin (@dachsedilla)
Photo by Sebastian Wilches, edit by me.
Adventure, Art, Culture, Dharma, DIY, Everyday life, Indigenous, Jewellery, Landscape, Outfit, Pets, Photography, Sewing, Tattoo, Uncategorized, Yoga

2019 in pictures

The sun returning in January in Bukta on Tromsø island
People greeting the sun
Was in Tamokdalen to help with a photo project. Beautiful crispy day
I made my first sámi silk shawl, in gorgeous yellow/gold
And a pair of ankle wraps. Hand vowen
…Kali liked them too!
Got one new tattoo this year 🙂 Painting in the background made for my bff
Met the cutest puppy!
Look at that face…🧡
Frozen raindrops outside my window
My best friend got married in Brooklyn. Unreal and beautiful. First time in the US for me ☺
Heidrun and me. Prettiest bride 🌻
Me in my handmade coast kofte. What a day 💚💛❤
In Central Park
Time’s square
Me being a total tourist ✌
Time’s Square again. It was colourful and overwhelming 🙃🌈
New York subway
Kvaløya, beautiful as always
Whale watching.. the sky was so pink that day
Orcas
Train ride in Oslo
Little cloud
Amrita Baba and me on retreat 🧘‍♀️ New Years eve 2018/2019
Wales
My lovely friend and sangha sister, Elizabeth from Louisiana. We were in Birmingham
Retreat girls
Ice skating on this lake that made the coolest sounds
Kvaløya
Kvaløya, cold day on the beach. Around 15°c
Midnight sun 🌅 Håja mountain
Did a giveaway on my facebook art page with this painting, got so good feedback, made me happy 🙂
Made more of these small cute paintings
Spain. I got very tan 🙃💛
Was two days in France. Didn’t get too explore too much because of time, money and energy, but saw this lovely garden in Toulouse
And met Blueberry the donkey!
Tromsø catethedral
Autumn was very pretty, as usual 🍁
Got my hair cut at a salon for the first time in 2,5 years😍
Paviljongen in Tromsø
Autumn day in Tromsø
Loke
Anti racism event at the town square, as a response to recent violence against indigenous people
My favourite painting from this year. Inspired by the Arctic polar night
Went to quite a lot of museums and exhibitions this year
Found this cool and weird coat on flea market
Was butt naked in a commercial 😅
Made an X-files painting for a friend 🛸

I have sooo many more pictures from this year, but some of them I feel are nice to keep private 😊💛

Happy new year, everyone!✨

Beauty, DIY, Make-Up, Outfit, Sewing

Enkelt pannebånd

En enkel d.i.y som jeg ladge for masse år siden; sydde et lite hårtørkle/pannebånd ut av et sjal med fint fargerikt blomstermønster. På midten av båndet er det et lite tøystykke som klemmer det sammen og gir sånn fin fasong. Enkel dobbelknute i nakken ✌ Nå som jeg begynner å få hår igjen (holdt det på 7 mm en god stund), så er det gøy å leke med litt farger, frisyrer og diverse hårpynt. Også må jeg innrømme at min naturlige hårfarge ikke er så verst, er nok ferdig med å farge det.

Sewing

Fra duk til veske

fgdgdg

Oransje og blå er muligens min favoritt komplimentærfargekombinasjon, og jeg har lenge lurt på hva jeg skal sy ut av denne bordduken jeg aldri har brukt. Så da ble det til en enkel og fin – og veldig sommerlig tøyveske med gullknapper som dekorasjon på hver side. Kjempefornøyd med resultatet, har brukt den så og si hver dag siden jeg lagde den. Har stoff nok til å lage én til, så om noen er interessert, let me know! 😀


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