This is jewelry that is hand made deep in the mountains. Created for anyone, Anna's jewelry fuses old Sámi traditions with contemporary design. Its wearer proudly celebrates Nordic indigenous handcraft, sustainable fashion, and self empowerment
By combining the wisdom and methods of her ancestors and Sámi heritage, with her sense of contemporary design and sustainable fashion, Simply Sámi was born in February 2016. Anna Lengstrand merges her deep passion for traditional Sámi handcraft (doudji) into each piece of jewelry that she is hand making in her rural mountainside studio in Pemberton, BC. Anna was a born and raised in Sweden, but left in her mid twenties to do a ski season in Canada. The vast wilderness and the endless mountains pulled her to stay longer. Now, 10 years later, she has one foot in Sweden and one foot in Canada.
Anna is of Sámi heritage herself, her mother is Sámi (of the Pokka family) from the the very North of Sweden. With talented duodji hand-crafters on her mother's side, and the strong artistic heritage she got from her father's Lengstrand family, Anna has had a very strong passion for art and handcraft her whole life. Anna also believes in keeping old indigenous traditions alive in our modern world, and to celebrate our heritages. To be proud. It’s very important to Anna that the world knows what Sámi bracelets symbolize and represent: Sámi handcraft and culture. Anna feels a great pride to have the opportunity to spread her passion for duodji to the rest of the world as well as spreading knowledge about, and speak up for, Sámi people. She also hoped that her jewelry will reconnect people with the power of nature, just as it has been traditionally.
"The beauty of Sámi jewelry is that it's for everyone to enjoy. It has the power to make you feel strong, beautiful, and grounded - no matter who you are. To me, wearing Sámi bracelets are an amazing way for anyone to celebrate Sámi culture in our everyday lives"
“I was born with a strong love for Sámi handcraft… I have proudly worn Sámi jewelry daily since I was a young girl and one of my favourite things to do was to watch my aunt make bracelets, and my grandfather and his nephew engrave reindeer bones and carve wood. It feels absolutely amazing to be able to work with something that I truly believe in and are very passionate about. My jewelry pieces represent who I am, our Pokka family, Sámi traditions and culture. I’m tying my heritage from back home to what I do here in Canada today, the life that I live here now… Sámi people are people of the wind and the sun. Wherever we go, all over Earth, we will be greeted and supported by the sun and the wind. They will always follow our path… I really feel supported and at home here in the Canadian Coastal mountains. I miss Sweden and my family everyday, but I love my life here in these wild mountains"
Simply Sámi is also Anna’s way of honouring her grandfather Algot. A strong Sámi mountain man whose lifelong passion to work with Sámi handcraft was Anna’s main inspiration to start her own journey with the craft.
“I’m beyond grateful that I started this heart project while grandfather Algot was still alive and healthy. I brought all my tools and materials with me when flying back to Sweden and Malmberget, and made bracelets on their kitchen table with him and grandma Märta watching me carefully. They both believed strongly in what I’m creating, and they proudly wore my creations. The supporting and loving handwritten letters from grandpa kept coming until the very end. Grandfather Algot passed away in September 14th 2019, 3 short days away from being 97 years old. Grandma Märta left us a few weeks later, October 20th 2019. They were happily married for 70 years, and I think that they couldn’t be without each other.
It makes my heart melt that my talented grandfather was so excited about me turning my handcraft into a career choice and craft business. Algot loved that I’m following my heart and passion with our traditional handcraft “that is so complicated to master” he kept saying. Algot was also very proud that I’m honouring both him, our Pokka family, and the Sámi people by making jewelry all the way over here in Canada. He said with a big smile that I’m putting Tornedalen (Juoksuvaara), and Sápmi on the world map, and standing up for the Sámi people and culture.
Thank you, grandfather, for everything that you have ever taught me. You’re my main inspiration for both Simply Sámi, and my life” – Anna
Blessings From My Elders
Blessing from Algot (Anna’s grandfather, Sámi handcrafter). See photos of him above and below
“Anna makes extraordinary pieces of Sámi handcraft. They are very well done. I’m so proud of Anna, that she’s choosing to dedicate her time making this ancient handcraft. This is very important to me and means a lot. Anna has a wonderful gift. Her handcraft also shows that she’s a very persistent and hard working person with a great eye for details with smooth fingers, as this handcraft is not easy to master like she does.
I’m very proud that Anna is honouring my family, our Pokka blood, Norrbotten (Lapland), and the Sámi people by making reindeer bracelets all the way over there in Canada. She’s putting us on the world map, and standing up for us. God Bless you Anna, I love you so much.”
Blessing from Sixten Keisu (relative/elder, reindeer herder, and Sámi handcrafter)
“I’m very proud of Anna. She is a very talented jewelry maker and make beautiful pieces. And most importantly, she has her heart in the right place.”
Blessing from Lisbeth Nilsson Nirlén (Anna’s aunt, pewter bracelet maker)
“Anna has been very interested in Sámi handcraft since she was a young child. Every time she visited me, she was admiring my pewter thread bracelets and gathered more for her wrist. Anna is very meticulous with traditional Sámi weaving and sewing, and she makes beautiful and long lasting jewelry pieces. I wish her all the best with this jewelry journey!”