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DVD Narrated by Fenella Kerr

editing by Evelyn Nicolette (Glass Eye Film)
Music: Black Horse & Ensemble Ardiin Ayalguu Solongo

 

DVD Cover for ‘Land of Felt & Camels’. Camels face covering the cover

In the summer of 2005 Jeanette visited Mongolia with 8 other Scottish felt-makers.

Jeanette became a camera-woman & expertly shot around 12 hrs of footage of activities at the International Feltmaker's Conference - the wildlife, the spectacular scenery & the people..

The film is condensed into 30 enchanting minutes in 3 chapters with professional traditional folk music providing authentic atmosphere.

The film was launched at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh to coincide with the Felt makers exhibition ' On the Map' & was showing for much of January 2006.

 
The Film is available for £13.30 incl p&p from Twist Fibre Craft Studio (Newburgh, Fife)
Images by Jenny Mackay More images (by Lynn Ramsbottom) here

storms brewing...

 

The middle & longest chapter documents skills exchanged between the Mongolian and Scottish groups & features a unique step by step demonstration from the shearing of the sheep to rolling the felt behind a horse.

Other chapters document fascinating aspects to this amazing country including wildlife, daily nomadic life, celebrations and traditions.

DVD Cover for ‘Land of Felt & Camels’. Camels face covering the cover
some of the women from both Scottish & Mongolian groups
 
    This film is a superb learning and teaching tool for all Felt Lovers & a wonderful insight into a fascinatinLandscape shot of horsemen working a large herd of goatsg land. Now also available ‘Felt Art of the Mongols ‘by Prof Luntengiin Batchuluun from Wingham Wool Works, the book which served as the basis for information for this film.
All Images by Jenny Mackay
‘Mongolia the land of felt and wild horses’ by Jeanette Sendler
We visited in Altanbulag, a community consisting of unemployed people and nomadic families set up by Mrs Dorkjhand. Jeanette relaxing inside a ‘ger’. Shot taken from outside looking under the lifted felt

This formation became necessary after the collapse of communism so the herding families could support each other make pieces of felt together and look after each others livestock. On our journey we could see herds of sheep and Kashmir goats being taken to new pastures.

  We passed old wooden barracks, concrete derelict houses, high wooden fences and amongst them 'gers'.
One could feel the nomadic presence of a people constantly on the move.
On the road side we passed a number of cone like sculptures made from stones and draped with blue fabric for good luck.

We overlook trucks, the round roofs of gers on top whilst inside they were stuffed full of the collapsible wooden frames.
a temporary village of 'Gers'
a temporary village of 'Gers'
 
Wild Horses or 'Takhi' There were endless roads, bumpy & pot-holed joining up somewhere, suddenly forking and disappearing again in the distance behind the mountains. Near the gers we could see sleepy dogs, friendly during the day, but barking and fighting off wolves at night.  

Wild Horses or 'Takhi'

   


Behind the gers there were piles of cow and camel dung normally used as fuel for cooking and warmth. There were eagles on the skyline and again and again we passed colourful sheep and Kashmir goats grazing on a sea of grassland.

Around us were wide open plains where your eye could travel without any interruptions. There were no signposts and only nomads would know their way around in this sparsely populated countryside.
When we finally arrived, walking across the steppes was like walking through a herb garden with the strong scent of thyme. We stayed three days in Altanbulag village, where we shared our experiences in Felt making with the villagers.

  Local woman milking a cow
 
Group laying out wool fibres outside
It was an important encounter for both sides. The Mongolian felt makers were keen to learn new methods to develop new products to support their livelihood, and the Scottish felt makers wanted to learn about their nomadic way of life.
Felt making had brought together two communities; few words were needed to understand the felt maker’s language.
The idea is simple, wool, water and friction, a skill which traveled along the Silk Road centuries ago uniting felt makers from the East and the West generations later.
 
2 Camels. Hills behind
 
SCOTTISH FELT MAKERS IN MONGOLIA Jenny Mackay

In August 2005 seven felt makers and two brave husbands from Scotland made a journey to Mongolia. This was a dream come true for many of them – visiting the “home” of felt had been talked about on many occasions.

  Group of women working in pairs. Scottish with Mongolian  
Dramatic sunset sky with rich green foreground field


Ann Ross, the Scottish coordinator, had been in touch with the organizer of “The 10th Anniversary of the Mongolian Felt-makers Association” in Ulaan Bataar and had arranged for us to participate.

We arrived just in time to take part in a slide presentation and have some of our work hung in the Art Gallery beside beautiful traditional Mongolian art felt and some interesting contemporary work.

We met Gunilla Paetau Sjoberg who was the guest of honour as she had helped to set up the first Conference. It was particularly interesting to see the imaginative modern felt work being produced as well as seeing the influence of the traditional work.

Entrance at Ghorkit National Park
The next day part of the exhibition was transported to “Ghorkit National Park”, a beautiful venue situated in the mountains outside Ulaanbaatar. There we had a very moving Opening Ceremony in the open air with the felt hanging in the trees, traditional musicians and dancers in delicate felt costumes.

It was finished off with a demonstration of making felt starting with the shearing of the sheep to pulling the roll of felt behind a horse.
….and that was just the start.
Stephan Doempke wrote a review of Dr Batchuluun’s book “Felt Art of the Mongols” in an issue of Echoes and following an enquiry from Jenny Mackay about where to obtain the book Stephan suggested that he and his contact in Mongolia organize our trip for us. We sent them a list of what we wanted to do. His contact is Dorjkhand who works for “Duuren Sanaa” the Foundation for Supporting Traditional Handicrafts”. Dorjkhand and her team of helpers were absolutely wonderful. They packed so much in to our two weeks it is hard to believe. We met Dr Erdenetsetseg who teaches felt making at the University and had a morning with Dr Batchuluun amongst many other things.
The following are particular impressions from some of the travelers……

Village of 'Gers'
Group at dinner Silhouette skyline  
 
Mongolian Visit: Liz Brown
There were many reasons for wishing to go to Mongolia and studying the making of felt boots was a major one. Ever since I was involved in the research and making of the Scottish Story Telling Yurt Mongolia has fascinated me – it’s people, it’s culture and especially it’s art work.
 
This was a great opportunity. We never wanted to go as tourists rather to share the knowledge of recent Western feltmaking and gain a taste of the vast Mongolian heritage of feltmaking.
Through Dr Batchuluun’s book “Felt Art of the Mongols” I learned a little of the traditional way boots were made and especially the soling interested me.
It was a great honour for me to meet the Professor and discuss feltmaking with him.
Group at dinner
Liz Brown & a Mongolian lady exchange skills
Above: Liz brown (left)
I learned through museum visits and local discussions that the are many types of Mongolian boots. Most of them are leather with felt liners but the specific ones I wished to learn about was the Torguud style.
   
Mongolian gentleman on a stool
All the advanced plans could not have foreseen the boot factory in Ulanbaator closing for renovations the very period of time we were there however we were shown the cashmere and needlefelting factories by Dr Erdenetsetseg.
Horsemen I had the adventure of a lifetime with many mini episodes but the warmest memories are of the time spent in Altanbulaag sharing time with the herdswomen and the local group of women working with the Duuren Sanaa project.
Man & young boy on two horsesTethered horses
 
The wide-open skies seemed to me to give the people an openness of heart and spirit. Even without language we could communicate on a deep level and many friendships have been forged from this experience. The kindness and warmth I received from our hosts will stay with me forever.
Vivid colours of inside of a Ger. Shot taken of the open middle of the roof
 
Mongolian Band in traditional dress The Scottish group decided to support this group with raw materials for the coming year, giving some income to the herds women and providing work for the local village women. The uniting of these two groups of women who are sharing skills will benefit the community as a whole.  
Mongolia is a country of vast contrasts but the knowledge and traditions of the ancient feltmakers are within the hearts of the people of Mongolia.

Visit my web site on www.heartfeltbyliz.com
Long shot of Camels
  Scottish & Mongolian ladies exchanging skills in the doorway of a Ger Camels head close up
Mongolian Stories: Alison Brough


My reasons for being part of the trip to Mongolia were complex and varied. I wanted to experience the landscape in reality, the vastness of it which is so difficult to comprehend on TV or in a photo, the culture, a living tradition stretching back centuries, learning the traditional felt-making with the people and hearing their stories.

  Mongolian gentleman astride sitting camel

This last reason was very important to me because I am a storyteller as well as a felt-maker and combine the two in my own work. I was able to tell stories from Scotland to two groups of children during our stay in. This included a felt story with handmade felt animals.

The children responded by drawing and telling me stories from Mongolia which I recorded.

These are very precious and will become part of a piece of work raising funds for two children's projects we visited in Mongolia. The people were keen to share their lives with us and made our stay memorable.
Someone asked me the other day if I had 'come down' from my visit yet and I said no because I kept being asked to talk about it and every time I relived the whole trip again! An interesting twist to the story is summed up by something a traveling friend of mine once said to me, that there are basically three kinds of story in the world and all the rest are variations on a theme. 2 Camels....2 men

The story I tell with my felt figures and told the children in Mongolia is an old story but from another part of the world.

Ger
After we had returned to Scotland I was looking through a book of traditional tales from Mongolia when I came across an almost identical story to the felt one, with a few changes to characters and setting. I will have to make some more felt figures but have a traditional Mongolian story to tell now. Maybe I could combine the two?
Traditional Mongolian Band (music Featured in the Film)
Set of Gers. Fence in foreground
    Scottish lady taking a turn on a Camel
   
Campsite
 
  2 youths on horseback 4 women. Laying out fibres on ground for pieces of work
Newburgh Textile Centre of Excellence

Textile Centre of Excellence
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