From the Shepherd to the Artisan

 Revitalizing the wool processing in Albania.

The Project was the first one to revitalize the processing of wool in Albania. Wool has been one
of the most important non-food products in Albania for hundreds of years, but it’s processing
and use almost ended with the breakdown of communism and the migration of the local
population to urbanized areas. Today most of the wool is thrown away while only a limited
quantity is saved for household use.

During the project, 250 kilograms of wool was acquired from the shepherds of the mountains in
the communes of Lunxhëri and Antigone. More than 20 people and artisans were engaged in the
collection of the wool, cleaning, carding, hand spinning and dying it with herbs and plants
collected in the nearby hills. This material served as the source of raw material that artisans
used during the training and the production of felt and woven products.

The artisans of Gjirokastra were trained in felt techniques which they then applied for the
creation of small figurines. The artisans in Antigone, on the other hand, were trained in different
weaving techniques for textile and kilim production. The sessions were labour intensive, they
included lots of practice and experimentation with wool, colors and volumes.

The result was a collection of about 200 products. The products are then produced by the artisans on demand.

Because of the quality and uniqueness of the product designs, the project set a new standard for
the handicraft industry in Albania.

The project was supported from Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Center for International
Migration and Development (CIM) and Implemented from CHwB - Culture Heritage without Borders- Albania.


Ariee Design Studio responsibilities in the project:
Project manager 
Product designer and trainer
Preparation of marketing and advertising materials