|Eco-art summer school opens in Oni|
|July 25, 2008|
July 25, 2008
A new summer school to teach the craft of felt making opened in Oni, Racha on July 15.
The area of Oni has a long-standing tradition of making thick felt from Georgian wool and is a cherished skill for women in the region, however, it has begun to die out and those who are expert in this craft are growing older. The summer school was opened to pass their knowledge on to the next generation.
This school is part of the ‘Women for Eco-Art’ project which is a collaboration between the Georgian thick felt group ‘Kartuli Teka’ and the Georgian Ministry for Culture, Sport and Monument Protection. The project aims to ensure the future of not only felt production but also of other traditional handicrafts such as wooden musical instrument making.
The summer school occupies three workshops in the House of Culture in Oni. The teachers are experts in their craft and many have been making felt all their lives; most are local but some specialists were even brought in from other regions to teach the students their skills.
Of course, the school provides the students with all the necessary materials to make the felt with, including the key ingredient: Georgian wool. Sadly, most felt makers in Georgia now buy their wool from other countries as nowadays Georgia’s potential for wool production is not being reached. But the Georgian thick felt should always be made of good quality Georgian wool. David Kajaia, Head of PR at the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Monument Protection, said: “We have people who provide us with Georgian wool that is of a really good quality.”
At first, there were only 15 people interested in the summer school, but as word spread, the class grew to 55. The organizers were quite taken-aback at its popularity but so pleased with the public interest that they vowed to keep the classes running longer than they had originally planned. The summer school was supposed to last only until September but the teachers and organizers have said that it will now continue until the end of autumn.
The region of Oni was chosen especially because if its rich traditional culture of felt making, and because of its local expertise. David Kajaia explained: “There are a lot of real professionals of this handicraft in the region but they are elderly already. The school will be a real support to keep the tradition and teach it to the younger generation.”
|< Prev||Next >|