“My Handmade Armenia” Festival
My Handmade Armenia is one of the major initiatives of the My Armenia program, supporting the growth, and, in some cases, revitalization of craft traditions in Armenia’s regional communities including wood and stone carving, textile art, embroidery, carpet weaving, pottery, and blacksmithing. Carpet weaving was a family craft that was mainly practiced by women, while passing on their skills to young girls. It can be said that it was exclusively a woman's craft. The latter was considered a pious craft, especially in the villages, where each house had its own torch. Carpets and rugs require different weaving techniques, but can be woven on the same fabric. Handmade carpets and rugs were one of the most important elements of the interior decoration of a traditional apartment, they decorated the floor and walls, they were used as a curtain dividing the rooms, a cover, a rug, etc. The Armenian house of the nineteenth century was characterized by many fabrics, such as lace and embroidery, which were especially prominent during weddings and holidays, when families displayed their best possessions. Fabric creation was one of the few forms of expression for women in society, as they generally had no rights or influence. The fabric gave them a "voice". The words were replaced by "knots". These handicrafts also provided stability in difficult times, when women could sell their work, calling it "the bread of the day." Khachkars are specific to Armenia. Here they are considered a national symbol. Khachkars are often erected to mark an important event or place as a tombstone. The motifs and patterns of sprouting and flowering give the khachkar special features, which turn it into a new version of the Tree of Life. Medieval khachkar makers usually followed the style of the local school, while modern masters made their khachkars by combining different school styles. Today, khachkar makers often use the language of engraving to express their artistic and philosophical ideas. The art of carpentry has greatly enlivened traditional Armenian houses, which contained many wooden components, such as domed ceilings and columns, as well as practical furniture, boxes, chests, cribs, buckets, and spoons. Carpenters used to decorate household items such as cereal jars or cribs, as the ornaments were not only aesthetic but also protected from the evil eye. For this purpose, carpenters have created special mills called daghdgan.
Pottery is one of the ancient Armenian traditions, which dates back to BC. In the 3rd millennium. During the excavations of ancient settlements, large vessels of water, food and wine were found, on which are often found ornaments of deer, fish, trees, mythical creatures, dragons and snakes. Housework was exclusively for women, and pottery was for men. This skill is also traditionally passed down within the family, from generation to generation. Textile is one of the traditional branches of the Armenian economy. In ancient times Armenia was famous for the production of its natural threads and fine fabrics. The fabrics were woven at home. One of the prominent directions in the use of these fabrics threads is the Armenian costume. According to the tradition, the hunters were mainly male masters. Depending on the geographical location and economic situation of the region, the costumes were sewn with pieces of different colors, textures and decorations. The costume was divided into royal, urban, peasant-church attire, depending on its wearer. Blacksmithing is considered a "mother craft" in Armenia, as the blacksmith also makes vital items and tools for other craftsmen. It is an inherited and exclusively male craft. The tradition of inherited handicrafts has been preserved today. From ancient times blacksmithing has occupied a large place in the Armenian ritual-customary system. According to the legend, when the chains of the dragon-shaped Artavazd imprisoned in the cave of Mount Masis were too thin, the blacksmiths, by striking the dungeon several times, strengthened them again. These other legends and myths about blacksmithing compare the blacksmith with the image of a mythological god, which resulted in the following expression: "The blacksmith is the only person the devil is afraid of."
The "My Handmade Armenia" festival is being organized to promote the restoration process of wood, stone carving, textiles, embroidery, carpet weaving, pottery, etc in the Republic of Armenia.
All workshops at the festival are tourist-friendly. Tourists can also enjoy artisan demonstration, especially at particular tents.
The festival is accompanied by traditional Armenian following craft and different performances: Carpet making, Needlework, Cross-stone (Khachkars) making, Woodcarvers, Pottery, Ceramic work, Jewelry-making, Blacksmithing, Designs and embellishment Taraz (traditional dress).
Key partners and supporters
My Handmade Armenia Crafts Festival is organized by the My Armenia Program, which is funded by USAID USAID/ and implemented by the Smithsonian Institution. The festival and program are supported by Teryan Cultural Center NGO.
Participants, local community and customer segment
My Handmade Armenia presents a wide range of handmade goods crafted by artisans from across Armenia's regions. Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy artisan demonstrations, participate in interactive craft workshops, and - of course - shop the wide range of beautiful artisan-made items.
Communication and dissemination channels
Many bloggers and channels representatives for instance Armenian Public TV, Armenia TV News, Free News TV, News, Armenia Today, NEWS AM spread the information about the festival. Also, many tourists from all around the world see the advertisements, announcements connected with the festival and take their tickets to Armenia. Organizers have used social platforms, particularly their Facebook page, as well as on public television and the Twitter platform. Also, in line with the nature of the festival, the organizers worked with cultural enterprises.
Specific elements and features
The festival is held in the center of Yerevan, next to the Cascade complex, which can be reached by almost all means of transport operating in Yerevan.