In Nepal, we work with yak wool and cashmere. Though cashmere can be difficult to work with in a sustainable way, we have found a very small workshop from which we are able to buy responsibly. These items are handmade using traditional techniques.
At Aiayu we are proud to play a small part in sharing these rich skills and craftsmanship with the rest of the world. Our cashmere is produced in a local workshop run by Pia and Karma. We invited them to share an insight into how the workshop sustains local skills.
People of Nepal have incredible skills in manual labour and handcraft – all vocations where intellect and mind connect directly with a practical project. It is a daily joy to be involved in the creative process: from conceiving ideas, to following through with hands-on knowledge that springs from ancient knowhow but creates leading edge innovations. Tools in use are mostly simple – but when used skillfully, they produce things of great sophistication. These are some of the aspects of our work here that we really enjoy.
Our small workshop is driven by a team with a deep sense of involvement and by shared abilities that forge a collective direction. It is our feeling that our workspace has become quite a unique place where employees are encouraged to kindle their aspirations every day, and practise skills that satisfy a personal sense of capacity. In this way we think that the workshop adds a little of contra weight to a “modern” world in flux – and to the exodus from Nepal. While so many people feel compelled to leave Nepal in search of work abroad, the workshop is a space to celebrate and sustain local skills and indigenous craftmanship.
“Puffy” was inspired by the traditional Tibetan duvet, the “Tsuduk”- a heavy woolen textile with a furry texture woven in sheep wool. Our master weaver found a way to re-create the fluffy weave in 100% cashmere – almost as if recreating the fur of a mountain goat on the loom.
Karma in Ladakh