SHYMKENT – Zhupar Beisenova, a teacher at the Kasteyev College of Art in Shymkent, has expanded the possibilities of felt in making souvenirs and functional items that can still make a statement. Necklaces and earrings, bracelets and bags, slippers and umbrellas, scarves and cases for mobile phones, all made from felt, bring the material’s unique colour, texture and warmth to humdrum objects.
A special place in her collection belongs to apples, one of the images of Kazakhstan. Her ruddy-yellow fruits look like the famous Almaty Aport, and at first glance, it’s hard to tell that they’ve been made from felt.
Beisenova grew up in an artistic family. Her father, Amangeldy Tursunov, is a famous painter. Beisenova, who received introductory lessons from her grandmother, has been working with felt since her childhood. Her first pictures and tapestries were made with traditional hot felting techniques, but she now uses more modern, cold methods to process her materials.
Beisenova has created UNESCO-certified artwork. Her woollen cushions, melons and curtains of felt became famous through her participation in the Sheber international craftsmen’s competition. The reward for her victory in that competition of masters was the chance to participate in a crafts festival in Malaysia.