April Tang is the co-founder of SHANGDROK, a workshop she founded with her Tibetan partner in 2015, which hires half a dozen local women producing hand-spun yarns and handmade felts.
In her early years travelling to the Tibetan plateau, she was taken to visit her Tibetan friend’s home on the highland, and was given a piece of fabric that they use for their tent home as a gift.
She was so moved by this plain, coarse yet vibrant handwoven fabric. The fibers came from yaks that they herd, along with their milk, meat, skin and even dung, providing a nomad family everything they need to survive on the plateau. Yak is the centrepiece in any Tibetan’s life.
Not that long ago, every Tibetan woman spun, wove and felted. However, nowadays these traditional skills are dying – due to modern lifestyles and lack of interest in the market they are tumbling into decline.
That is why April started SHANGDROK. They hope to keep these traditions alive while providing job opportunities to local nomad women, who want to stay close to their family in their own village. Likewise, they want to connect them to the outside world to give these highly skilled artisans a platform - so they can share and be proud of their cultural heritage once again.
We’re so pleased that April has agreed to run a workshop as part of the Selvedge World Fair 2021 workshop programme. She will guide participants in the art of knitting a neck warmer with hand-spun yak wool from Tibet.
Participants will be taught how to cast on, purl and knit using chunky yak yarn with a 15mm needle. It is a fast knitting project that is perfect for beginners and more experienced knitters who want to knit something simple and elegant to wear.
The workshop is open to all levels. Why not purchase a ticket as a gift for a budding knitter, or perhaps for yourself to knit a beautiful yak-wool garment for a loved one.
Book tickets for the online workshop here: Knit a neck warmer with hand-spun yak wool
Booking closes for all our World Fair workshops on 31 July so that the workshop tutors can send out the material packs in good time.
Find out more about the other Selvedge World Fair workshops here.