I recalled my grandparents’ visions about nature. Humble and inspired greetings to milky stars and misty mountains, breathing the fresh morning air with the earth’s caring spirit, touching the great silence of winter nights, and riding the winds on horseback. These values start to call me back strongly towards what I have experienced in my childhood in the Altai mountains.
Everything there is tied to mother earth. As time passes and with the changing world, we have followed. There is nothing bad about following the changing worlds but we need to keep these deep values that we have learned and experienced with our nomadic grandparents. I know that is what our mother earth hopes for us. That is why I started Mongolian Handicrafts.
I started to develop more respect for natural things like fabrics, foods, lifestyles, etc. On the other hand, I started to refuse synthetic, nylon, and anything that comes out of petrol.
Wool is sustainable and renewable. Naturally, yaks, camels, sheep, goats, and other domestic animals are growing their hair, and depending on where they live, they develop different types of wool. Some are itchy, but some are soft like silk. Specially cashmere and pure yak down. Any wool becomes softer and less itchy by its usage. Because wool is an alive substance. It feels the wearer and creates an affinity towards mother earth.
In the end, I would suggest people re-experience the wool world and respect its mystic characters while using it.
The magical geometry in each natural fibre proves that all of this is the conscious work of mother earth. One of these beautiful creations is wool. Nomads observe their raw wool with great respect as it is a divine gift from their “sky” (mother earth). Even Mongolian traditional script speaks of raw sheep wool. They realise the sacred and artistic shape in it. That’s how the art of Mongolian calligraphy and traditional scripts were born. Mongolian nomads praise their wool in their songs and poems. They sing and dance around their raw wool and praise their raw wool before processing it into clothes or other products.
We consider it as an entity using the word “Ilch”. In Mongolian “Ilch” means the ether, ultra-dimensional energy is present. In order to keep this “ether” or “ilch”, we don’t colour the wool or use any chemicals for processing. We use hairs that animals shed naturally once or twice a year. In the spring, nomads comb their domestic animals. This means the animals are ready for the hot summer with a lightweight coat. Combed wool is selected for clothes and handicrafts. Sheep wool is the most important animal fibre used in textiles, clothes, yurts and handicrafts in Mongolia since their origin.
Mongolian handicrafts treat wool cloths and handicrafts as traditionally and with the greatest respect as the nomads do. I want Mongolians to keep their traditional wool processing and organic custom.
One of the biggest economic powers, neighbouring China, impacts harshly on our pure and organic wool traditions. For many years I have been working with Mongolian local cooperatives and every year it breaks my heart to see the quality of handicrafts decline. This is because Chinese synthetic or nylon handicrafts are becoming so popular. Mongolian traditional handicrafts are mixed with synthetic wool in order to compete with the market. Some people in Mongolia are not even conscious of it and I try and educate them about their traditions and about using pure, organic wool for clothes and crafts even if it is more expensive than those synthetic or nylon ones. I am also trying to be more active in spreading the message of “Buy less and convert ourselves back to the natural fibres” to everyone.
Organic, pure wool is environmentally preferable (as compared to petroleum-based nylon or polypropylene) as a material for carpets, clothes, slippers and all type of handicrafts as well, particularly when combined with a natural binding and the use of formaldehyde-free glues. I only work with the finest wool for our slippers, wool clothes and handicrafts. Even without much knowledge, our customers will notice the virgin quality of our organic and pure sheep wool products. Using wool products supports local farmers and nomads throughout the world. Wool is a sustainable resource.
Characteristics of our pure, organic sheep wool and felted sheep wool are:
- Resilience, elastic, durable, breathable and warm.
- Naturally regulates temperature. Mongolians can use their wool in winter under -40 C and in summer when it’s + 20 once. Pure, organic sheep wool regulates temperature well.
- They have the ability to easily absorb moisture and also to release moisture thereby always maintaining a perfect balance.
- It’s hypoallergenic as dust mites don’t like wool. Dust mites are the major cause of allergy and asthma suffering. They prefer hot humid environments that are more common in synthetic products.
- When wool is organic, fine and pure, it does not itch.
- Pure wool is fire resistant. When subjected to flames, pure wool will just smoulder and extinguishes itself.
- In general, all types of pure wool are capable of absorbing up to a third of their dry weight in moisture. Besides keeping the skin dry, this quality also naturally inhibits mildew.
- Compared to cashmere, sheep wool products last longer, and by usage, it becomes softer.
- Pure wool also has natural anti-microbial properties because bacteria tend to be attracted to smooth positively charged surfaces like those of synthetic fibres rather than the scaly surface of the wool. Most synthetic fibres actually increase body odour because they create a breeding ground for bacteria. Sweat itself has no odour, but over time bacteria develop and create unpleasant odours. Pure sheep wool reduces the opportunity for odours to develop because it quickly absorbs sweat and evaporates it into the air. Unlike synthetic fabrics, wool does not retain odours and will freshen just from airing out.