Craftspring: Celebrating Silk Road Crafts

28Jun10

Back in high school, Anne-Laure was already passionate about the Silk Road.

She dreamed of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and read anything related to Central Asia: from literature to cookbooks.

I remember visiting together the Genghis Khan exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York to admire the beautifully woven saddles that once covered Genghis Khan horses. For every new culture encountered (and conquered), would be a new layer of symbols woven in the fabric. Among them, I vividly remember the Buddhist swastika. It was then I realized the power of textile in conveying stories.

Following university, Anne-Laure received a fellowship to travel on the Silk Road and write about the artisans of the Silk Road and globalization. Traveling for a year by bus, train and plane, she met craftsmen perpetuating their art from multiple generations. She conversed using her fluent Mandarin, nascent Kyrgyz and hands.

In gathering stories from the artisans, she realized a wealth of traditional craftsmanship and know-how was on the brink of extinction. Instead of blaming globalization, she aimed to use luxury trends in developed countries as an opportunity to create a new market for these craftsmen (many of them women).

That is how Central Asian Craftspring came about.

Craftspring aims to create a socially responsible exchange celebrating Central Asia’s craftsmanship in a way that respects traditional methods and local natural materials.

“The wool Craftspring uses supports herders who continue to uphold a semi-nomadic lifestyle, herding their flocks to the Tian Shan Mountains very summer.”

Storytelling remains central to Anne-Laure’s approach in the way she highlights the craftsmen, traditions and socioeconomic context through a personal and poetic voice.

Her first order, Ombre Antlers, Red Reindeer and the Miles to Go Donkey, came last year from Anthropologie.

Above is a photo I took of her beautiful catalogue that came in the post today.

I look forward to seeing Anne-Laure bring the wonders of the Silk Road to the world.

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2 Responses to “Craftspring: Celebrating Silk Road Crafts”

  1. Hello

    My name is Lydia Campbell. I run a small boutique hotel from my home in
    London. I am beginning to promote hand made utilitarian products on the
    website and in the hotel. I use the kyrgyzstan felt slippers for my guests
    to use. I would like to have a supply for them to buy.

    I understand that the slippers and felt products are produced by women who do not have any other means of earning a living. I would like to establish supply of a regular small quantity

    I am not having much luck contacting craft spring. Would you be able to put us in contact with each other.

    Love your blog btw.

    Best Regards
    Lydia

    • Lydia,
      Great to meet you!
      Your B&B looks gorgeous. I love that you are offering Kyrgyz felt slippers to your guests.
      I will forward your email to my friend Anne-Laure, the founder of Craftspring. Let me know is she gets back to you!
      Thuy-Tien


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