IKH NART IS OUR FUTURE
The women’s craft collective, Ikh Nart Is Our Future, was established in July of 2009. Its purpose is to provide income for local women through the production of felt and other craft items that are sold both to visitors to Ikh Nart and to buyers outside Mongolia.
Starting with 14 members, the cooperative grew to 30 in one year and is now making a wide variety of items, including slippers, vests, decorative embroidered panels, stuffed toy animals, purses and cell phone cases, along with jewelry created from domestic animal horns.
Most of the products are made with wool from the member’s own sheep. The raw wool is carded using hand-cranked presses and then felted using traditional methods. Hand-spun camel wool, from domestic bactrian camels also belonging to the members, is often used for embroidered embellishments, stitched in ancient decorative Mongol style.
As part of the three day start-up meeting, the women had an opportunity to learn about the conservation research being carried out in the reserve. The collective’s logo, which features the argali sheep Ikh Nart is known for, is an expression of their support for the wildlife they share the land with.