Ritva Tammela - Arctic Indigenous Design Archives (AIDA)

Ritva Tammela



Ritva Tammela was born in Kaamanen, Inari, in 1955. Her mother did lots of arts and craft and already as a child Ritva helped her by weaving bands and making bits and pieces into craft-works. The family got materials for arts and crafts from the father who took the materials back from reindeer roundups. The family was selling fur shoes in Norway, for example in Karasjok and bought groceries from the money they got from selling those.

As a young woman Ritva tried living in Helsinki for a while but soon came back to Inari. She is an artisan in the field of duodji and holds a vocational qualification in business and administration as well. She works as an office secretary at the Sámi Parliament in Inari.

Ritva Tammela knits a lot, for instance mittens, but her special skills in the field of arts and crafts is in weaving tradional “raanu” rugs. Ritva learn to weave those traditional rugs in the courses of the Folk High School in the 1970’s.  One special rug woven by Ritva has been named after her grandfather Kadjanilla. Tammela has woven rugs for sail and her rugs have been on display in exhibitions in Finland and abroad. Tammela is fashinated by the colours of nature, colour layout and harmony as well as dyeing wool with plants. She has also been interested in the history of traditional woven rugs and has written her final work for the Sámi Education Centre (SOGSAKK). 


Ritva Tammela has donated her final work of the Sámi Education Centre, about the traditional woven rugs, to the Sámi Archives. For that work she interviewed several Sámi weavers. She received a grant from the Sámi Parliament from the documenting the tradition. The interviews portray how the rugs were used in different Sámi families and for instance, what kind of a role it played in marriages between a daughter and parents.