All over the rising land of Kvarken, you can find artisans, local producers and boutique shops offering Swedish and Finnish handicrafts. Explore the traditions and learn about the region’s unique history through a variety of local crafts and products made with skill and love.
In the Swedish town of Umeå, the shop Hemslöjden offers a wide range of the very best of Swedish handicrafts. The shop is filled with carvings, art and handmade crafts from local producers which you can purchase as unique gifts. If you feel like learning some handicraft skills yourself, they also offer a creative variety of sewing, knitting and embroidery courses, and all the material you need – such as yarn, wool, needles – for your new skill.
Humlebäck Keramik & Möbelsnickeri, located in a home-built shop just outside of Umeå, creates unique handmade products by combining wood and ceramics. The design of the items produced is inspired by Nordic nature. In addition to buying products such as ceramic jars, vases, flowerpots and fine furniture, you can also follow the artists during their creative process. You can look through glass windows into the two workshops and get a glimpse of how the different objects are created live.
There are also opportunities to get your hands on some indigeneous Sámi arts and crafts in the Umeå area. The Sámi café Tráhppie offers a variety of both traditional and modern style Sámi glass, ceramics, textiles, leather, reindeer skins and beads. You also have the possibility to learn more about Sámi life, their culture, clothing, indigenous gastronomy and general lifestyle through a special selection of Sámi books found in the store.
Eljest is a farm shop and garden café located on an island in the middle of the Umeälven river. In their shop, they offer local handicrafts, souvenirs and homemade ”fika” (a snack to go with your coffee). In addition to handmade local products such as leather shoes and posters created by local designers, they also offer handcrafted food products from their own farm such as jam and tea, as well as a selection of books describing some of the traditional foods of Sweden, and recipes on how to make them.
On the Finnish side of Kvarken, you can step into the fantastical home of elves. The 18th century courtyard at Tyynelä Tontut is like a time capsule, taking you back to old Finnish farmer traditions. The residence is full of fascinating details and is inhabited by little handmade little elves set in various scenes of doing their daily work. All the elves have their own personality and name, and if you stumble upon one elf that really likes you, he’d be happy to move into your own home. There’s also a wedding museum and a cafeteria on the premises.
If you are looking for seasonal tasty treats, Marmeladcompaniet in Jakobstad offers homemade jam and marmalade, fruit sauce and fruit juice made from both wild berries handpicked in the area and locally- grown fruits.
Regional handicraft can also be found in numerous markets and festivals all over Kvarken. One of them is the annual 17th century festival held in Isonkyrön. It is held in the historical surroundings of the old Isokyrö church, a short drive from Vaasa in Finland. The festival is held every second weekend of August and offers a huge selection of arts and crafts, ceramics, jewelry, candles, knitted products, traditional food such as reindeer and moose and beverages. All vendors are dressed in attire from the 17th century and there’s also entertainment and medieval music to set the ambiance and transport you back to that era.
Also at Bock’s Corner Brewery in Vaasa, there are regular outdoor markets held where you get access to products – both edible and nonedible – from local producers, artisans, and farmers.