With the Body as a Living Canvas

Norwegian Craft is proud to present The Vessel 7: Transforming Bodies. This issue argues that tattoos and permanent body adornment are inherently craft-based expressions that work between the fluid categories of art, craft, design, and fashion. By extension, they are deeply intertwined with questions about identity and the basic human right to make decisions over one’s own body, a question that is still fundamentally political and culturally conditioned.

West Greenland birthing tattoos. Photo courtesy of Maya Sialuk Jacobsen.

Transforming Bodies

Maria Viirros presents the issue and gives us an insight into their reflections on how to approach the role as editor. With this issue, Viirros wants to create a space in which the reader can peek into the rich field of body arts, its histories, contours, and possibilities, while providing the artists with a platform to reflect upon their practices from a perspective that is not commonly considered when their work is discussed.

Tattoo Archaeology

Humans across the globe have tattooed their bodies for at least 5,000 years. However, the archaeological evidence for these practices has been largely overlooked. In this essay, archaeologist Aaron Deter-Wolf describes what drew him to the study of ancient tattooing, and how careful considerations of material culture, including artifacts and preserved human remains, are revealing new information about human bodies in the deep past.

Possible tattoos incised on the face of a Native American ceramic effigy vessel from the Matlock/Shawnee Village site, Arkansas. Photo by David Dye.

Connecting to the Past: Reclaiming Nordic Heritage through Tattooing

Jannicke Wiese-Hansen and Tor Ola Svennevig invite you into their studio to talk about their craft, promoting Norwegian art and culture, as well as taking their Nordic culture back from the abuse of the extremist right.

Inuit Tattoo Traditions and the Complexities of a Revival

Maya Sialuk Jacobsen writes about the complexities of taking back Inuit tattoo traditions, a practice born and developed within a culture of collectivism, now practiced and re-assembled in a growing individualistic culture. Sialuk Jacobsen asks: ‘How do Inuit tattoos create both a new verbal and visual language?’

East Greenland fingers. Ocean Spirit, West Greenland hunting amulets on arm. Photo by Maya Sialuk Jacobsen.
Part Psychologist, Part Mind Reader, Part Artist

How has the tattoo industry changed in the last ten years or so? Oslo-based tattoo artists Linn Aasne Grønnerøe and Elise Nedal offer throwbacks and foresight based on their years of experience. In this interview, they map out some major challenges and pitfalls of the tattoo industry, and how to avoid them.

Tattoo and photo by Linn Aasne Grønnerøe.
Scarification by Marita Wikstrøm Svěrák. Photo by Celine Bergundhaugen.
Artist presentation

Art that hits a nerve

In this text, Marita Wikstrøm Svěrák introduces us to the field of body piercings, scarification, and body suspension. She explains the craftsmanship behind the different practices, as well as her fascination with scars and the importance of pain. Throughout the text, the artist gives insight into the social and psychological part of her work and explains how it is deeply embedded within her practice.

Artist presentation
I'm Interested in Creating Superbeings

Holistic tattooer Touka Voodoo takes us through his personal journey — from Tehran, through London — to his tattoo studio in Stockholm. In this text, Touka Voodoo reflects on how redesigning and remaking the exterior body has been a continuous journey to match the interior and manifest the inner person. Even though his work is known to provoke, provocation has never been his aim - but rather, the goal is to liberate the human body from shame, and through introspection, become one´s own personal ´superbeing´.

Artres hand. Photo by Touka Voodoo.