MOUNTAIN LIFE - Coast Mountains | Winter Spring 2017 - page 79

“Theywerenot reallyallowed to talkabout
where they came from,”sheexplains,
“because itwas frownedupon tobenative.”
she ended up in Pemberton on a whim and the advice of a friend. She
fell in love with the mountains, battled bureaucracy for four years to get
her permanent residency and now, seven years after casting off from her
homeland, Lengstrand is weaving a bridge back to her roots. Literally.
Her bracelets are traditional Sami handiwork—hand-spun silver and
pewter thread woven on a wristband of reindeer leather, into patterns that
bring tomind ancient Celts and Norse warriors. The buttons are carved
from shed reindeer antlers. The leather was originally stitched with a piece
of reindeer ligament. The craft is infused with the no trace, zero waste
ethos of the Sami. “It’s their statement piece of jewellery.”
A year ago, she felt a huge call tomake Sami bracelets her career.
“I’d been wearingmy aunt’s bracelets forever. I loved them. But I was
honouring her work—I’d never made my own. But I knew that I knew how
tomake them. Something just toldme I had to start doing it.”
She quit her job. And leapt. Her first bracelet in January 2016 got her aunt’s
approval. Two hundred and fifty bracelets later, withmaterials sourced
through her family in Sweden (some of whom still herd reindeer), Anna’s
aunt passed the torch onwith thesewords: “Yours are better thanmine. I’m
getting old. I’m done. It’s you whomakes them now in our family.”
Living above the line, taking orders from no one, it’s apparent Lengstrand
harbours a fierce confidence that’s tempered with a strong perfectionist
streak. She knows her own strength, and knows where to drawmore from
(spoiler alert: it’s in nature) but there’s more at stake in her exquisite
pieces than just the need to live up to her own expectations. “I’ve loved
themmy whole life. I believe in what I’m doing. And I’m representingmy
whole family, the whole culture, tyingmy heritage from back home to
what I do here, the life that we live here.”
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