Our craftsmanship is nothing refined nor sophisticated
It is simply the essences of the pure and honest Tibetan vitality
Our artisans are Tibetan daughters, mothers, and wives who were once nomads on the grasslands. Due to various reasons, they stopped raising cattle and herds, making their way to work at SHANGDROK. We refer to these women at the workshop as Aunties.
For our Aunties, leaving the nomadic life on the grassland to be tucked away from the rough rain and sun, and to reconnect again with the fading craftsmanship brings them much happiness in their new way of life.
By living their lives traditionally not only polished the Tibetan women to be tough and tireless, but also optimistic and cheerful. Chatter and laughter often filled our workshop as the Aunties spin and felt.
At SHANGDROK, what we are most proud of is not just the handcrafted products, but also our artisans of Aunties whom are also the essence of the Tibetan spirit.
“I used to be a nomad. Now all my yaks are given to my two sons who both live in the tents on the grassland. I live by myself in the village, and I have heart problems. After I attended the felt-making training workshop in 2014, I continued to felt hats at home. "
"A year later, I was hired to work here in SHANGDROK, and I’m happy to be able to work again and be surrounded by many friends. People in SHANGDROK said that I’m like “Sha Monk” (沙悟淨) in "Journey to the West" (西遊記), because I eat the least but am the fastest at work.”
"I’ve seen the elderly making felt when I was little, and I enjoy watching them performing different traditional crafts. I remember once when I was little watching my neighbor making felt, he saw me being fascinated by the craft then said to me, ‘Maybe that’s what you did in your last life time!’”
“I used to be a seamstress in a Tibetan robe shop in town. Back then when business was good I get paid well, but when bad I barely get paid. After a few years, the business did not improve, so they told me that there is no job for me anymore.”
“Now I work here at SHANGDROK where I can felt, braid, sew and knit again. I’m not a fast worker because I do things carefully. I also get nervous whenever I have to learn new things, worry that I cannot learn it right, or work too slowly. But despite my slowness, I am being valued for my work at SHANGDROK. When I came up with a complex braid pattern that only I know how to make, I would be showered by compliments and encouragements here.”
"I started spinning, weaving and making tents since I was fourteen. But later after I got married, we have no more yaks and I stopped doing any of them.”
“After I came to SHANGDROK, I started to spin again but now with yarns with various thickness. Not like how I used to spin before. I was also asked to learn to write my own name, the name of the products and number codes as well, including some strange symbols."
The strange symbols Ge-Boo referred to were English letters. Though Ge-Boo’s handwriting are oftentimes still unreadable, she has not given up and continued to do her best in every writing opportunity.
"I was born into a nomad family which I only have a mother and a sister. After I married to my husband, we raised thirty yaks and started our little family, but later on my husband got injured in a severe motorcycle accident, so we had to sell all the yaks to pay for his surgery. Even though we ended up with nothing with no yaks left, we didn’t feel much pity.”
“Now I work at SHANGDROK and I love and adore my colleagues. We work side by side during the day, and when we are apart, we will use our phones to chat away the night! From time to time, we’ll visit each other at our homes as well. But I’ve always missed the days when we were in the field, on the grassland. If one day we could have our yaks back, I’d like to be a nomad again. If that happens, I’ll make sure I come back to visit my friends at the workshop very often."
"I grew up on the grassland where my parents raised us while they herd yaks. When I was a kid, me and my brothers would pick up fallen yak wools and sell them for some snacks. At that age, I often wonder to myself what else could be made from these yak wools?”
“I’ve always wanted to be a schoolteacher growing up. I’ve never thought that I would become the manager of a workshop. When the Aunties have been working nonstop with sore backs and stiff arms, I would bring out the football so that they can move around and exercise. They also get tired easily and sleepy sometimes during work, so I would tell them a joke, or simply let out a loud sound to keep them awake and entertained. When that happens, they would chuckle and say to me, ‘thank you, thank you!’”