Overlooking the Kautokeino river and south of the center of Kautokeino, you’ll find Juhls’ Silver Gallery. Open every day it has mesmerized visitors for two generations. It was the first silversmith in the county of Finnmark, when it was established in 1959 by Danish/German couple Regine and Frank Juhls. Many things in the Arctic have a different perspective. Juhls is challenging your perspective of time.
The new generation has taken the mantle onwards. On the day we strode in, Ms. Sunniva Juhls was not in the building. Employee Ms. Mathilde Kaupang showed us around in the buildings.
The building is very unique. The Asian design of the roofs is very unarctic. The roofs in the Arctic are mostly constructed in a way so the snow can slid right off. In Kautokeino any other architectural solution may work because masses of snow don’t usually fall in these parts of the north. Most of the snow has been ditched by the clouds climbing the coastal fells.
At Juhls they have built one new structure for every decade, each part with its own theme. The rooms are decorated with Saami artifacts, theme objects, and wonderful jewelry. Fascinated by the Arctic, wilderness and the nomadic lifestyle of the Saamis Regine and Frank Juhls have developed the premises decade by decade.
Skilled silversmith and artist, they were asked by the local Saami people to reproduce Saami silverware. The Saami people have long traditions using ornaments in their costumes. Throughout the years Juhls have been able to employ silversmiths from all over the world to hammer, carve and brush jewelry inspired by the nature and culture in Kautokeino.
Thinking one decade a time works just as well as year by year, month by month, or day by day.