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Ulbossyn Daulenova

Ulbossyn Daulenova

For me, the most powerful word is 'share'. To share knowledge, craft, life experience, and financial resources for noble causes is my mission.

"My name is Ulbossyn Daulenova and I grew up in Kazakhstan, surrounded by mountains. It is a place where tradition and... heritage are deeply woven into the fabric of everyday life, but it wasn't until I reached adulthood that I truly embraced the art of felt-making. It was during a time of uncertainty that I lost my job, but serendipity led me to a felt workshop, and I realized that I had found my true calling. It was then that I adopted the belief that everything happens for a reason.

In 2004, I had the opportunity to attend a felt masterclass, and that moment marked the beginning of my lifelong journey with this ancient craft. Felt had always held a special place in Kazakh culture, and I was determined to carry forward this tradition.

My grandmother, a skilled craftswoman, had once created beautiful felt carpets known as Tekemet. However, during the Soviet era, traditional crafts like felting were not encouraged in Kazakhstan, and my parents did not practice it. So, I had to start from scratch. Over the years, I honed my skills, specializing in 'nuno felting' while also using traditional techniques to create felt clothing and hats. I focused on design, product construction, and quality control.

In my production, I used local Kazakh wool for 70% of my materials and imported Italian wool for the remaining 30%. I also incorporated viscose fibers, mainly from Russia, and natural silk from Uzbekistan. I was proud to maintain a 100% waste-free production process.

My inspiration stems from Kazakh traditional ornaments and the endless possibilities for interpretation and transformation. I don't limit myself to traditional felt patterns; I take intricate compositions from embroidery and wood carving and bring them to life in felt.

One of my proudest achievements was the development and launch of a line of national hats called Takiya. These hats, made of felt and adorned with intricate national ornaments, became highly sought after in Kazakhstan.

My passion for this craft extended beyond creating beautiful felt products. I felt a deep desire to pass on my knowledge and skills to others. My dream was to establish a craft school for children. I couldn't bear the thought of the younger generation losing touch with our rich heritage, and I was determined to preserve these traditions. I began teaching young people, children, and women. I especially dedicated my time to teaching underprivileged women with multiple children, ensuring that they had an opportunity to learn and support their families. Over the years, I have had the privilege of training about 200 individuals.

I proudly hold a membership in the Union of Artisans of Kazakhstan, and every month, I participate in charity events, helping impoverished large families secure housing and teaching children from these families for free.

Growing up in a mountain village, I had always witnessed the value of hard work. My parents, both teachers, instilled in me a passion for learning and acquiring new knowledge. It was a norm for us to put in the effort required to achieve our goals.

Now, as my children had grown and my husband understood the importance of my craft, I could fully dedicate myself to my business. While my own children didn't follow in my craft footsteps, my daughter became a valuable ally in promoting my craft, handling photography and videography. I held hope that my grandchildren will continue my legacy.

For me, the most powerful word is 'share'. To share knowledge, craft, life experience, and financial resources for noble causes is my mission. We believe that we can do anything, that there are no barriers in our path. We are constantly evolving, seeking new ways to develop our craft, and we know that together, we can achieve anything."
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