In the run up to Selvedge World Fair – not long to go as you can tell from the counter at the top of the page! – we are profiling some of the artisan and artisan organisations taking part on the blog. Today we look at the Central Asian Crafts Support Association's Resource Center in Kyrgyzstan (C CACSARC-kg). The CACSARC-kg, led by Dinara Chochunbaeva, supports female entrepreneurship in rural communities through the use of traditional craft technologies. Since 2008 trainers from the Centre have trained over 1,000 craftspeople, mostly women and girls in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
One of the textile traditions of Kyrgyzstan is felt-making. Chochunbaeva explains: “Kyrgyz people, representing the ancient nomadic civilization of Central Asia, manufactured felt, which is recognized as a pre-textile, from time immemorial and utilized it in all aspects of their lives. Felt had sacral meaning and played an important role in the social life of the Kyrgyz tribe. The yurt, portable house of Kyrgyz, was also covered by felt.”
“A harmonious perception of the surrounding environment, reflected in ornament and color combinations, as well as a marvellous sense of proportion, was peculiar to ancient Kyrgyz artisans. Design elements, consisting mostly of plant and animal motifs, reflected pre-Islamic, shamanistic beliefs, which involved esoteric knowledge passed from the creator to the concrete recipient.”
Watch Chochunbaeva talk about the importance of preserving cultural heritage in an interview with UNESCO:
Learn more about Kyrgz felting: During Selvedge World Fair artist Aidai Chochunbaeva will lead a workshop, Traditional Kyrgyz “ala-kiyiz” Felting. Chochunbaeva is a graduate of KGUSTA Institute and a master of felt production. She has received four WCC/UNESCO Award of Excellence certificates for craft production and produced scarves using the nuno-felt technique for the fashion brand Eileen Fisher.
Buy your ticket to Selvedge World Fair to access talks, shopping, demonstrations, articles and interviews as well as a quiz with prizes.