The Circumpolar Crafters Network – a craft event hosted by the Nunavut Government of Canada to promote the exchange of skills and increase trade between network members – took place in Manndalen in Norway last month, and Lews Castle College UHI Fashion Lecturer Annette "Netty" Sopata was one of the designers invited to attend.

Netty, the kilt maker and designer behind local business Diggory Brown, and who teaches the National Certificate Course in Fashion Design and Manufacture at Lews Castle College, was invited in connection to her own work by the government of Nunavut, the largest and northernmost territory of Canada. “I felt incredibly privileged to be invited; the opportunity to work with skilled craftspeople from both the Inuit and Sami culture was incredible,” says Netty of the experience, adding that it was “amazing” to visit northern Norway during the winter.

Lecturers from colleges in Estonia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Canada also took part in the three-day workshop, where they shared their respective skills and traditional crafts, and were shown how to create traditional Inuit Kamiks, or boots. The attendee’s finished Kamiks will form part of a global touring exhibition next year, travelling to Ottawa in Canada, Tromso in Norway, and Reykjavik in Iceland.

“We also shared hand tailoring techniques, patterns, and sustainable materials from our individual countries, and the Harris Tweed I took was much admired,” says Netty. “Alongside the workshop we also visited The Centre for Northern People, and learned more about the Sami Culture.”

Above: workshop attendees examine Hebridean sheepskin.

Left: Netty and others learning at the workshop. Right: Manndalen in northern Norway, where the workshop was held.