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Art with Karakachan Wool

Recently, Dutch artist Cecile Boesten started using the wool of Karakachan sheep in her art: bags, decorative bowls, clothing, necklaces, bracelets, etc. The Karakachan wool is used as a main element and also as a decorative element. The first art pieces with wool enjoy lots of interest.

For first time ever Cecile uses the wool of this rare Bulgarian breed, typical for the Eastern Rhodopes and she is very happy with the results. She has years of experience with working with wool: making decorative wall panels, jewelry, bags. She also organises wool workshops.

Cecile Boesten got the wool for her first Karakachan experiment from Betty Vassilieva from The Wild farm in the village of Gorno Pole (Municipality of Madzharovo). Vassiliev's family owns a herd of 450 Rhodopean Shorthorn and Grey Bulgarian cattle grazing freely, a small herd of Karakachan sheep and a herd of horses. Vassiliev's family and also many of the local breeders don't use the wool, they even throw it away. Selling the wool to artists like Cecile, developing workshops for wool art and offering to tourists wool products and souvenirs are the options for changing the current situation. Cecile considers the possibility to come to the region of the Eastern Rhodopes for organizing in The Wild Farm in May together with Betty Vassilieva the first wool workshop for Bulgarian artists, local people, breeders and owners of B&B's in the region.

The wool of Karakachan sheep is long, coarse, mostly gray-black or brown-black in colour, rarely white. The Karakachan sheep is the domestic sheep’s closest ancestor to the wild European mouflon and it is one of the oldest breeds of sheep in Europe. Animals of this breed have been bred from ancient times. The breed takes its name from the Karakachans people who have been practicing nomadic farming in the region for centuries. The Karakachan sheep is the result of centuries of selection by nomadic shepherds who, until the middle of the twentieth century, crossed the Balkans with them. It is a durable breed, well adapted to severe natural conditions and a nomadic lifestyle.

See here more about the Karakachan sheep and here – about the local rare breeds in the Eastern Rhodopes



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