5 Short Duodji Films

Project Spotlight: Get to know the work of 5 Sámi craft practitioners from Sweden.

Indigenous Sovereignty Creating Representation
A person wearing a teal and yellow sweatshirt sets a large birch burl down outside of a red shed in a forested environment.

In these five short films on Sámi duodji (traditional craft) practitioners, viewers are invited to learn more about the artists’ practices, witness them at work in their studios and hear about their connection to duodji traditions—all in the artists’ own words. Together, these five short interviews provide a snapshot of some of the methods, principles, explorations and innovations in duodji among practitioners in contemporary Sweden. 

Katarina Spik Skum, born in 1971, runs the company Duodje by KSS in Jokkmokk. Her craft is inspired by the creations and way of life of previous generations. Today she works with both traditional and innovative duodji in new arenas. She has acquired her knowledge in duodji (Sámi handicrafts) at home and through Sámij Åhpadusguovdásj and Sámi allaskuvla (Sámi University of Applied Sciences), she has a BA and MA in duodji.

Helena Lagerqvist Kuoljok lives in Jokkmokk, where she runs her own company MHK Design and Duodji. She works with leather and textiles, knitting, felting, embroidery and sewing of traditional Sámi clothes or innovative designs. Embroidery is her form of artistic free expression.

Anna-Stina Svakko obtained an MA in 1991 in dipmáduodji—Sámi handicraft, soft materials. She works with Sámi handicraft full time in the company Astu Design and then mostly with traditional costume and modern dressmaking. She received the 2022 Artists’ Committee’s 1-year work scholarship and plans to continue to develop a more artistic expression in the future.

Lena Viltok, originally from Gällivare, has lived and worked in Jokkmokk with her family for a long time, where she also runs a studio. Lena is passionate about creation in various forms, but it is duodji that are her heritage and geist (spark, passion), a large part of her livelihood and to which she always returns. Lena Viltok holds the very first Master’s Letter that the Swedish Craft Council handed out in duodji (2016).

Julia Rensberg is 26 years old and has her roots in western Härjedalen but lives in Jokkmokk. After completing her two-year education at Sámij Åhpadusguovdásj specializing in wood/horn, she built her own workshop 15 km outside Jokkmokk and continued to work in handicraft. She experiences working with living material as incredibly calming and creates a bubble where time and space meet and as a creator you can only be in the present.