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Crafting in Place

Kyrgyz Felt in the Past, Present and Future: Traditions, Problems, and Perspectives

Aired on Fri, Feb 18 at 8:00am

Dinara Chochunbaeva

Felt making of Kyrgyz people has ancient roots, and is known to exist as early as the first millennium BC, when a variety of products, processing methods and patterns evolved. Contemporary craftsmen, producing felt items for local, touristic and international markets, work individually and within community based coops. In 2012 UNESCO inscribed the traditional knowledge and skills of making the Kyrgyz felt carpets Ala-kiyiz and Shyrdak into the List of ICH in danger of disappearing. The craftsmen communities of felt makers themselves, as well as support organizations and government are making efforts to address the issues which Kyrgyzstan faces: preservation and development of the ancient felt traditions: development of the crafts production and marketing, safeguarding and transmission of the traditional knowledge and skills from the old to new generation, reviving of the merino sheep breeding and careful use of the pastures, development of the local craft market and many others. Dinara Chochunbaeva has played an instrumental role in the preservation of feltmaking and will share some of the remarkable 2,000 year history of this craft and her work with the Central Asia Craft Support Association’s Resource Center to safeguard this tradition.

Dinara Chochunbaeva, Expert on Handicraft Development and ICH, advisor of the World Crafts Council-Asia Pacific. She is working in sphere of handicrafts since 90s, her interests are laying in spheres of making research and lobby interests of craftsmen on governmental level, support craftsmen communities particularly led by women through training and promotion of their products to the local and international markets. Lately she has been more focused  on safeguarding of ICH and transferring of the Kyrgyz handicraft heritage to new generation.

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