Marja Näkkälä

Marja Näkkälä (born in the 1950s) comes from a reindeer herding family in the village of Näkkälä, in Enontekiö. These days she is retired and herds the reindeer together with her sons and family. Näkkälä was taught the handicrafts and the ways of duodji traditionally by her mother at home.

Duodji is Näkkälä’s lifestyle, which shows in her values and living. She handles the materials she gets from the reindeer, the hides and the skin, with care. Näkkälä makes handicrafts for her family’s use as well as to sell.

Mostly, she uses soft materials in her Sámi handicrafts, but she has also experimented with wood and bone at different Sámi handicraft-courses. Näkkälä does a lot of crafts out of softened reindeer skin and fur and sews Sámi dresses – but her passion is weaving.

Näkkälä has worked for the Sámi association Sámi Duodji ry, based in Enontekiö, for over 30 years. She has taught numerous duodji courses, ranging from sewing and creating Sámi dresses and headdresses to working with leather and fur. Näkkälä’s works have been showcased in many of Sámi Duodji’s exhibitions all over Finland.

Pictured here is a luhka. Photography: Veera Mietola.