Kyrgyz Felting


Guest blog post from Candra Day, the director of a U.S.-based non-profit organisation, Vista 360°, which helps textile designers from Kyrgyzstan reach the global market. Aidai Asangulova is a felt artist from Kyrgyzstan. She is at once a 21st century fashion designer and the next generation of a centuries-old nomadic tradition of felt-making. Her work is taking place at a cusp of history, at a point of transition from one era to the next, and it perfectly expresses this turning point. F16-831_01F13-37_01 Aidai makes silk and wool felt textiles, using a hand-rolling technique she developed that allows for intricate, highly-disciplined patterns. She uses extremely soft silk which is handwoven in Uzbekistan. The fusion of this silk and wool felt creates a light but weighted textile that floats and twirls. She is collaborating with California photographer Lupine Hammack to produce a series of images that capture this quality. F16-8-23_03 wool felt close-upF16-831_03 Aidai was 13 when the Soviet Union collapsed and Kyrgyzstan became an independent nation. During the Soviet era, Kyrgyzstan was a closed country and local culture was strongly suppressed. Aidai is part of the first generation that is restoring Kyrgyz culture and identity to the modern world. This delicate project also floats in a complex global ecosystem, weighted by memory. network Working with several partners, Aidai is re-creating a museum-quality collection of traditional clothing based on ethnographic research, interviewing elders all around the country about almost-lost techniques. F16-8-25_02F13-37_04 She is also the co-founder of the annual World of Felt Festival celebrating Kyrgyz culture. Last week, Aidai was teaching felting at the World of Felt festival. Today she is arriving in the U.S. to take part in the Santa Fe Folk Art Market.   Her dream is that her design studio will eventually support a centre for the preservation and continuation of Kyrgyz material culture.

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  • Jennifer on

    Beautiful! Absolutely gorgeous work.

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