The exhibition Saviour of Souls is a portrait and tribute to the Norwegian spael sheep, (Old Norwegian Short Tail Land Race), one of the oldest sheep breads in the country
The exhibition is a combination of the travelling exhibition Saviour of Souls and traditional craft produced by Tanja Myklebust from Sunnfjord, with wool from her own spael sheep.
The trinity between landscape, human and animal is an important element in Saviour of Souls. Through photography, craft, and the installation Woolgloo you learn to know the sheep and the wool through your senses. As part of the exhibition, we also offer activities as carding, spinning, and weaving to make you even more familiar with the material.
As a robust and rough-haired primeval force it stands there, scrutinising us. Not afraid, but watchful and alert, as life and history has taught it to be. It does not give anything for free, the Norwegian spael sheep, nor does it seek contact needlessly. You have to earn its trust.
In return it has given us everything: meat and milk, drinking horns, bowstrings, fishing nets, sails for the Viking ships that ploughed the waves from Vinland to Miklagard, everyday and festive clothes, safety and warmth to endure the autumn storms and the freezing cold winters. If you meet its gaze, you may glimpse the debt of history. This is our faithful companion throughout the centuries.
This is the Saviour of Souls.
Today the spael sheep has been replaced by sheep bred on the modern textile industry’s terms – sheep that produce wool that the machines can handle, but of a lesser quality than spael sheep wool. Saviour of Souls highlights what we risk losing when we lose the knowledge about wool from traditional breeds, in terms of genetic material, practical knowledge, historical consciousness and raw materials with unique material properties.
The creators of Saviour of Souls
Saviour of Souls - a documentary portrait of the spael sheep
Photography: Nils Olav Mevatne
Text: Øystein Rygg Haanæs
The installation Woogloo : Marit Adelsten Jensen og Else Karin Tysse Bysheim.
Tanja Myklebust is a teacher at the Sande School, and enjoys making different products using wool. In the spring of 2022, she completed her MA in Design, Art and Crafts at the University of South-Eastern Norway. The theme of the thesis was encounters with local and unprocessed wool», focusing mainly on understanding traditional craftsmanship and sustainable use of wool from Old Norwegian sheep and spael sheep.