When Kyrgyzstan became an independent country in 1991, most of the nation's talented artists fled to larger and more creative cities. But maker Gulnara Kydyrmyshova stayed behind and established a small retail store with the vision to revive Kyrgyz craftsmanship and help relieve her nation of poverty through the trade of handmade felted works. She started by conducting free sewing classes to unemployed women in her community. For over a decade, she has supported local artisans by selling felted handicrafts in her store.
Read more about about Gulnara's work (and see some stunning photos of Kyrgyzstan) on our blog.