Recovering Forgotten Applied Art Traditions in Uralsk

Felting is an ancient Kazakh craft. The wool was previously used to weave lint-free carpets and used as interior decoration of yurts.

Currently, the textile material is also used to create bags, clothes and jewelries.

The basic technique of making felt products over the centuries remains unchanged. First, the wool is washed, sorted and combed. Then it is put on a canvas evenly and moistened with hot water.

The process seemed simple at first glance. However, it requires certain knowledge and skills.

Meanwhile, the ancient traditions of handicrafts are being revived in many regions of Kazakhstan. The oldest craftswomen in Uralsk, Zhaksygul Zharmakhanova and Kulyaysha Zhanasheva are teaching young girls felting as well as producing lint-free carpets and mats.

Their master classes are opened to the public. The grandmothers intend to revive the traditions of applied craft.

“Previously, our ancestors spun wool thread from sheep. Then from these threads we sew felt blankets with national patterns and all products for the interior decoration of the yurts. The finished products are durable, warm and beautiful,” said Craftswoman, Kulyaysha Zhanasheva.

According to Master class organizer, Aybolat Kurumbayev, there are over 200 artisans in various fields. Unfortunately, many of them no longer remember how Alasha and mat are made.

“For this purpose, various workshops are held. Ancient traditions need to be revived,” he added.