All our wonderful colleagues from the Folk Arts Hub Foundation in Armenia, made an amazing impression on countless thousands of people attending the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington DC this summer with master carpet weavers, singers, ancient Armenian shadow play performers, and artisans of the highest order.
Our friends at the Folk Arts Hub Foundation also continue to work with the Armenian Rugs Society in realizing one of our most important projects in the Homeland--the "Adopt-a-Loom" Initiative throughout rural Armenia and many of its cities.
In addition to Arakads, Karagert, and Sassounik, the Folk Arts Hub Foundation has added six more villages as part of the "Adopt-a-Loom" Initiative in Armenia, including:
1. Oshakan, in the Aragatsotn Region - 11 students and 2 teachers.
2. Hatsik, in the Armavir Region - 10 students and 3 teachers.
3. Ptghunk, in the Armavir Region - 13 students, 3 teachers, and 2 young girls from the nearby Light House
4. Meghradzor, in the Kotayk Region - 10 students and 1 teacher.
5. Voskevaz, in the Aragatsotn Region - 9 students and 2 teachers.
6. Ujan, in the Aragatsotn Region - It's the last location for this year and we're in the process of setting up - 16 students
and 4 teachers.
There are also a total of 69 eager participants (as of the end of 2017) excited to learn the ancient and noble rug weaving craft, thanks to the valuable support and generous donations from Armenian Rugs Society members in the US and the the Folk Arts Hub in Yerevan.
We hope to triple the number of villages in 2018 and include border areas, as well.
The Armenian Rugs Society is proud to announce its new eco-friendly, digital newsletter (part of our effort towards paperless operations) and the opening of our new website at armenianrugssociety.org which went live in late April/early May of this year, as did so many things in the world of Armenian arts, culture, and social life.
Changes in the Homeland were followed by great new activities and events here in the US with our three-week long participation in the Smithsonian's Folklife Festival and its associated activities in Washington DC, a rugs exhibit and lecture during Armenia's first Independence Centennial celebration in Detroit, and continued work with our amazing colleagues in Armenia at the Folk Arts Hub Foundation, and so much more...
The Festival brought together Armenian woven arts and cultural artisans and performers from all over, especially from all parts of the Republic of Armenia, which included weavers, sculptors, stone carvers, culinary experts, singers, dancers, and Armenian heritage performers. I was honored to curate the Armenian woven arts/carpets portion of the festival which included master weavers from Armenia's Folk Arts Hub Foundation and Tufenkian Carpets, among others. We were able to interact with countless individuals (some estimates say close to one million...!) over the span of the festival's activities, bringing the rich culture of Armenian woven arts to a greater and very interested audience.
Prior to the festival's incredible outpouring of emotion and celebration, we also dealt with some challenges one of which is sadly ever-present in Armenian life, but reared its ugly head more audaciously, once again, in April. The Azeri government and allies began an international campaign, within the world press and international art circles, claiming age-old Armenian woven arts traditions and carpets were Azeri and part of so-called "Azeri culture." The Armenian Rugs Society rose to face this unmitigated criminal act head-on and, with the aid of a seasoned writer from within our community, issued a press release which echoed the truth throughout the Armenian and non-Armenian press, here and abroad.
Our age-old and, yet, so vibrant woven arts traditions continued to gain steam this year, not only here at the renowned Smithsonian, but in the Homeland where it matters most. New generations of Armenian artists and artisans, academics and experts have taken up both the cause of Armenian woven arts, as well as the weaver's loom. The Armenian Folk Arts Hub Foundation in Yerevan, in conjunction with the Armenian Rugs Society, continues to raise the bar when it comes to transmitting our cultural traditions to new generations of artisans via our well-known (and well-received) Adopt-a-Loom initiative throughout rural Armenia.
In accordance with our commitment to transmitting our heritage to a new generation and serving our community in the cause of our culture, the Armenian Rugs Society is now initiating an internship program wherein interested individuals--high school, college and university students, as well as others--will have an opportunity to help a registered non-profit in its daily endeavors and, most importantly, work and learn in an environment of ever growing beauty and historical significance. Besides the unparalleled experience of working with the Armenian Rugs Society, all interns will also be earning volunteer, work experience, and community service credits.
Please contact us via our email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our CONTACT page with #intership in the subject line or comment area.
More new projects are in the offing including new collaborations and partnerships with universities, research centers, and museums as well as cultural groups both here and abroad, which we look forward to sharing with all our members, supporters and friends around the world and in Armenia and Artsakh.
Thank you for all your support and your generous donations both financial and in kind.
Yours Respectfully and Sincerely,
Armenian Rugs Society
Silk is the noblest of all natural fibers--it is delicate durable and shines like gold. No other woven textile equals it’s beauty.
The Silk Road caravans found their way to Armenia, as well, and Armenian merchants brought the secret of sericulture home.
In Western Armenia (Ottoman Empire), as well as in present day Artsakh, the mulberry tree is abundant and, hence, local production of silk from cocoons thrived as well. During the Soviet Era, along with many folk traditions, the art of sericulture died, too.
Fortunately, today, Folk Arts are experiencing a revival in Armenia. The young generation is embracing the folk traditions and crafts with enthusiasm infusing into them their contemporary creativity.
Having this revival in mind, two years ago Folk Arts HUB Foundation sponsored a silk weaving workshop by inviting Mr. Avak Shirinian from Istanbul to Yerevan. Mr. Shirinian is a world renown master silk rug weaver and he had expressed his desire to transmit his knowledge and craft to the new generation of the young Republic of Armenia.
Two looms and big bundles of colorful silk threads were shipped from Istanbul to the Silk Road Hotel in Yerevan. Also, two traditional designs were provided by Hratch Kozibeyokian, President of the Armenian Rugs Society, in the U.S.
Mr. Shirinian and his long time assistant, Ms. Kadife, conducted silk weaving workshops for 10 straight days. Thus, the challenging and magical craft of silk weaving took root and is continuing to this day.
Presently, we are also offering workshops for ceremonial silk belt weaving which requires a different technique from the historical traditions of Kars-Karin. We are excited and optimistic that this new seedling of silk weaving art and craft will grow to be a healthy tree…
Text by Levon Der Bedrossian