For thousand of years, the remote plateau of Tibet has been the home of the Northern nomads. Yak and sheep accompany them here in the high altitudes, offering not only companionship, but providing the materials needed for survival in every aspect of life. Members of such communities weave their own tents from yak wool, and felt blankets and rain jackets from sheep wool. However, even on this remote high-altitude plateau, life today becomes increasingly complicated. The green fields of the nomads are gradually disintegrating, and the nomadic lifestyle is fading. SHANGDROK wishes to work with these nomads, to regain their traditions and work with the materials that they’ve known and worked with for centuries, the traditions that allowed them to thrive in this cold, harsh climate.
SHANGDROK is a fibre workshop in the Qingkang Tibetan Plateau co-founded by April Tang. In the early years of traveling to the Tibetan plateau, April was moved by the coarse, yet vibrant, handwoven fabrics that she was gifted. However, due to modern lifestyle influences and economic trends, traditional felting, spinning, and weaving skills were gradually dying out. April and her partner founded SHANGDROK to provide job opportunities and materials to artisans to enable these textile traditions to stay alive. SHANGDROK connects nomad communities with the outside world, enabling artisans to see that what they create is highly valued outside of their communities, and creating opportunities for artisans to support themselves through craft and be proud of their cultural heritage.
To further follow the story of SHANGDROK, find them on social media here.