Erika Nordvall Falck

Områdesvantar (Mitten Archive), Erika Nordvall Falck

For over five decades, Erika Nordvall Falck has been collecting and knitting mittens derived from crafts traditions from the in-lands of Norrbotten. Here, the mittens tell a multitude of stories about a rich cultural heritage that hasn’t previously received much attention in the study of the history of Swedish textiles.

In her collection Områdesvantar, Erika Nordvall Falck has preserved a cultural heritage that is both material and immaterial. Practical knowledge of how the mittens were and are made is preserved, along with local histories and international influences that combine to present narratives about people’s lives. Here, viewers will learn about the history of making mittens as a way to earn a living, pattern traditions that have spread across large geographical areas, and how different colours have been in vogue at specific points in time.

 

Through this collection, Nordvall Falck seeks to challenge the conventional view of the history of knitting, in which the practice is usually deemed to have originated in the South of Sweden and subsequently spread North. She demonstrates that the knowledge of knitting mitten has more than likely existed in Norrbotten at least as long as in the south, and Områdesvantar constitutes Nordvall Falck’s attempt to increase awareness of the knitting traditions of Norrbotten in Swedish textile history.

 

Erika Nordvall Falck is an ethnologist who lives in Jokkmokk. She is an avid collector of mittens, who shares her knowledge of mittens in exhibitions, classes, and lectures.