Felt making is an ancient craft that is still widely practiced in Central Asia. Traditionally the Kyrgyz nomads made felt from their sheeps wool to cover the outside of their tents, called “bozuy” in Kyrgyz or “yurtas” in Russian. They make ornate and brightly colored quilted carpets called “shyrdaks” to line the inside of their bozuy. Traditional techniques are still used today but are now also used to create exquisite new craft products.
These photographs show the steps involved in the traditional felt making process.
The completed sheets of felt are used to make quilted rugs called shyrdaks. The designs of shyrdaks are inspired by the patterns found in animal horns and in the ancient pictographs that pepper the Kyrgyz landscape. The decorative tops of the shyrdaks are cut and pieced and then the seams couched with hand spun yarn. They are backed with a sheet of natural colored wool and then the 2 sheets quilted together.