The blending of rich traditions with sustainable economic opportunity is what fair trade is all about and this is exemplified by the Kork Fiber Art Group, based in the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan.
Formed in 1996, the Kork Fiber Art Group offers Kyrgyz artists a way to support themselves with their craft as they carry on this beautiful cultural practice. In the face of unemployment, economic depression, and poverty, members of the Kork artisan group can more easily earn a living wage, benefiting from promotion and marketing help that brings their work to a global audience.
Felt-making is an art that's been handed down from generation to generation by the nomadic peoples in Kyrgyzstan. Making use of wool from the sheep that accompany the nomads, tribal women use natural dyes during the felting process. Felted wool is used to make rugs, door coverings, and slippers and is often applied in elaborate patterns and designs.
The Kork Fiber Art Group incorporates felt in interesting and creative ways in the fair trade items which can be found at Global Gifts Short North. Zooties for babies, kids, and adults are available in a wide variety of animal designs. These are great for keeping little (and big) feet comfy and warm. Kork's silk scarves embroidered with felted wool are another gem found at Global Gifts. These lightweight and colorful scarves are perfect for dressing up any outfit this spring!