To mend a house

In November hubby and I made a trip to Oulu. We couldn’t find the museum then, but last week we did. It wasn’t easy, though. Yes, we could locate it on the maps, but getting there is really not the simplest matter. No parking close to it, just to mention one thing. But, we’ve been there, and it was worth all the trouble. I found much more of interest to a textile person, all very well displayed. Most of the items are stored and not on display, but I got an impression that if you know what you’re looking for it’s not at all difficult to get permission to see them. There are also departments for tar production and seafare, the big trades in old Oulu.

I want to show just one thing from the museum in this post, a Sami summer pole tent, “vaatekota”, made from various pieces of fabric, old clothes, darned and patched in extreme. It was made by reindeer herder Ander Andersen Spein and his wife Inga during WWI. This was the home for as many as ten persons. The Sami peoples in Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia had different kinds of kota tents. The vaatekota was easy to mount and take apart, and light to transport from one place to another during the transhumance up to the mountains with the reindeer in the summer. The Sami have been living in wooden houses since the late 19th century, so the vaatekota in the Oulu museum is one of the last that’s  been in use.

I hope the photos give at least a hint of how wonderfully the married couple have used the textiles they had. There’s cloth they have bought, as in the man’s jacket, and home made as in the rough piece of fabric (woven in an oppstadgogn, the old type of upright loom) with patches from other fabrics in it. The last photo shows the inside of the tent with the hearth, cooking utensils, and beds of reindeer skins. The cloth hanging over the tent are symbolic Northern Lights.

Kota kåta Oulun maakuntamuseo-4

Kota kåta Oulun maakuntamuseo-1

Kota kåta Oulun maakuntamuseo-2

Kota kåta Oulun maakuntamuseo-3

Kota kåta Oulun maakuntamuseo-1-2



  1. Marilyn

    How wonderful to see the Sami had a summer tent made of lighter materials. And I loved the cooking setup inside and all the utensils. What a wonderful trip for you. Thanks for sharing.

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