Sámi Handicraft Art
"More than just cute Sámi handicrafts"
Jouni S. Laiti is from Ohcejohka. At present, he lives in Inari. Most of his adult life, he has worked in reindeer herding and been engaged in other nature-based activities such as fishing and berry-picking. He is familiar with both the traditional Sámi way of life and the busy life of today's society. He formally began studying duodji (Sámi art and craftsmanship) more than twenty years ago and has been working as a duodji teacher at the Sámi Education Institute in Inari for ten years.
He completed his master’s studies in duodji at the Sámi University of Applied Sciences in Guovdageaidnu in 2019. Through these studies, his work has become more artistic. They led him to first hold an exhibition at the Siida Sámi Museum in Inari; he then participated in the Mänttä Fine Arts Week, which led to his works being procured for the collections of the Kiasma Museum in Helsinki.
In his art, Laiti displays both traditional Sámi handicrafts and modern arts and crafts, all made from reindeer horn and the burls found on birches. He is guided by the understanding that people must be considerate of Nature and the wilderness (meahcci). We can make use of their offerings, but with respect. Therefore, he finds the harsh ways of using nature unpleasant. He actively follows public discussion and, through some of his art, takes a stand on topical social issues.
photo by Kevin J. Francett / Kajastus Creative
At the beginning of 2021, he acquired a former carpentry workshop in the village of Anár (Inari), which he has renovated into a suitable arts and crafts workshop. The size of the workshop is 84 square meters with a production hall and a small gallery.