Monday, December 25, 2006

Free trade with Kyrgyzstan

My favourite Xmas present this year is a beautiful shyrdak (actual one pictured) from Kyrgyzistan. A shyrdak is a felt rug originally designed for a yurt. It has a base layer of felt onto the top of which is sewn a second felt layer containing the patterning. No felt is wasted because the artisans produce a duplicate rug with the design in opposite colours (more on construction). Apparently, the design is rich in symbolism and I will report back once it has been decoded. A friend, Tim Moock, is importing these using fair trade principles - a three way split of profits between him (the importer), his partner (the exporter) and the artisans that produce them. Prices are already rising as his shyrdaks are to be featured at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery early next year and designer interest is gathering pace. Some quite poor people are about to become relatively rich and globalisation appears to be serving everyone involved, especially me, rather well...

2 comments:

Randy Fisher said...

Wow ~ very cool.

I always thought that yurts were cool ~ first discovered them in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon).

Now, it looks like there's some new accoutrements to jazz them up. And, it benefits people who actually make 'em. What a concept!
- Randy

Clive Bates said...

Randy, I couldn't agree more... They just are very cool. I've just bought a second and it is amazing...

Tim Moock, the social entrepreneur behind Felt (the new company that's behind this) is about to go live at FORM at Olympia in London 1-4 March.

Felt - by Tim Mook

Form exhibition, Olympia

"Unique felt rugs from the mountains of heaven!"