While shopping at the bazaars, one can't help but notice all of the felt products Kyrgyzstan has to offer. People in the streets wear felt hats and coats. Inside homes, people wear felt slippers on felt rugs. I've even seen people wear felt jewelry and children carry felt dolls. Felt products are not touristy souvenirs, but have been a part of everyday Kyrgyz life for centuries.
Last month, a good friend of mine (one of the international students) took an embroidery and felt-making class at one of the local art schools. Often at hookah bars or while watching Game of Thrones, she would pull out her latest homework assignment and begin sewing. The pieces she was creating were beautiful and intricate.
So in my admiration and lack of internet at home, I decided to take the course this month. All I can say is that I am addicted. I cannot find enough designs to sew or enough people to make things for. Two other teachers from my school and myself are taking the course twice a week. We began with talismans, then earrings, flowers, camels, and now yurts! If I had more time, the teacher, a small gentile Kyrgyz woman, said that we could have learned how to make slippers or shyrdaks (felt rugs), but alas June is coming quickly.
Here are some of the things I've made thus far: