Languages matter! Cultures cannot survive without them!

February 21 is International Mother Language Day.  Supporting  and celebrating  linguistic and cultural diversity are of highest importance to maintain and sustain world peace and social justice.  It is crucial to preserve the linguistic and cultural differences – those are not only make the world versatile and interesting place to live in, but also help foster tolerance and respect for others. Such needed qualities to have for each of us these days~Screen Shot 2020-02-21 at 9.44.03 PM

Out of about 7000 world languages almost 50% are endangered . My mother tongue, Tatar language, are among potentially threatened to disappear due to several factors including the absence of the nation-state that would promote language use on governmental level. Many indigenous languages , including Tatar, face potential extinction due to deliberate reduction of minor languages instructions in public schools.

How can minor languages be preserved? On individual level, we can start by  recognizing the need to secure the future of a language and be intrinsically motivated to keep it alive, either by utilizing one’s own mother tongue or by learning a new language. Want to start with Tatar?

Here is a sweet taste of it: beautiful folk song “Umyrzaya” (Early Spring Flower).

Explore some Tatar phrases. Listen and repeat a story. Learn Amazing interactive short topics  (unfortunately, only available in Russian). Take a free online Tatar language course. 

Let’s be pro-active in securing the future of languages! We need a world with many languages that are building blocks for cultures that enrich our societies and lives to be vibrant, meaningful and understanding of inherent differences.

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Need cards in Tatar? Check out http://www.hatlar.ru.

 

Need an inspiration?

Need an inspiration or something to brighten up your day? All you need is to find couple pairs of beautiful boots and multiply them by three…and boost of energy is guaranteed.

The chiteks (tatar boots) that made my day are recent discovery from Kazan flee market. They belonged to Tatar folk dance group that performed in 1980ies in Tatarstan, USSR. The boots have holes in the thick soles telling the story that they were worn till the “last breath” and served well to their owners. It is estimated that the dancers performed at least 15 dances per show, 3 shows per day almost every weekends and holidays within two to three years. The boots were made by hands of footwear masters in Tatar Opera & Ballet Theater’s workshop in 1970ies.

tatar leather boots

Center design created by “Sahtian” and surrounded by Tatar boots created by Tatar Opera & Ballet workshop

Celebrate and Learn a Skill!

What an amazing idea was to create a movement that showcases and celebrates skills, vocation and trade! WorldSkills movement (that was born 70 years ago) has been inspiring young people to develop passion through learning skills that unite, help solve problems, empower and give purpose. WorldSkills 2019 competition was held Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia  this summer (August 22-27, 2019)! It is very exciting and promising to see that youth is inspired and dedicated to learn and practice skills. Desire to perform and master a skill can make you powerful! Powerful to make a difference, to lead meaningful and purposeful life! Powerful to restore, re-ignite, recover ancient arts and trades that have been struggling to survive in modern times.

Look at these inspiring young ladies: They are keeping the ancient skill – art of Tatar leather mosaic  – and turning it into a flourishing and popular brand!

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A young company “Bulgari” makes leather goods incorporating traditional leather mosaic technique, modern designs and edgy looks. The company is run by young ladies, who believe that the power (and joy) is in finding the passion in one’s roots: Tatar Leather Mosaic made a perfect cut for them.

What an example to follow! Let’s look to our roots, heritage, backgrounds! Let’s search for some skills that are on the brink of disappearing! Let’s re-discover, re-learn, bring them back to life! It will make us better, kinder, more patient, more grateful!

If you want to buy exceptional leather goods, to learn Tatar Leather Mosaic technique, let us know.

Longing for the sunshine

 

With cold and grey winter weather in progress, the longing for sunshine and warmth is getting stronger. The constant search for ideas that can replicate the magic of the sunshine while it is not available allows amazing discoveries, like this one:

Who knew that setting up several cute shoes with Tatar leather mosaic designs in form of the sun may fill up the day with positivity and warmth!

It is pretty impressive how beautiful, colorful and esthetically pleasing items can re-charge and empower, comfort and energize. Let us know if you want to create comfortable experiences: Tatar leather mosaic footwear can do the magic!

 

Never late to inspire!

 

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Would you ever guess that the traditional Tatar outfit and the leather chiteks on this cute doll was designed and stitched by hands of 80 year-old Flyora apa – an extraordinary woman who was so passionate about her hobby that she made everyone around her inspired and energized.

She would salvage unwanted old dolls and would make them irresistible and ethnic by dressing them up in hand-made Tatar costumes and hand-stitched Tatar ornamental footwear.

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Hard to accept that this wonderful lady is gone. Her kind and powerful spirit will be remembered for long: she inspired people to be young-at-heart, to be excited about ethnic heritage, to love what you do. She served as an impressive role model to follow. You will be deeply missed, Flyora apa! Thank you for keeping Tatar tradition alive! Thank you for your passionate and powerful spirit, for masterful hands!

Урының өҗмахта булсын, Флөра апа!

Milestones and cultural heritage

 

When it comes to milestones,FullSizeRender there is an interesting tendency of me resorting back to my roots to celebrate them.

When I wear my Tatar boots made using leather mosaic technique, I feel like home, not just because they are cosy and beautiful, but also because they carry wisdom of my culture and hold the warmth, passion and hard work of at least three artisans who designed, hand-cut, hand-stitched, assembled those works of art for me to enjoy.

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Every time I wear them I feel joyous, satisfied, and needed like I feel when I accomplish something meaningful for myself and for others.

 I will be happy to find you exceptional piece of Tatar Leather Mosaic, so you understand how I feel when I wear them. Just let me know .

Kazan is TripAdvisor’s Destinations on the Rise

What can be more exciting than to find out from the coworker that my home town is one of 10 top places to travel in the world and she wants to visit Kazan the sooner the better!

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Downtown Kazan, Russia

TripAdvisor (an American website that provides reviews of travel-related content) named Kazan, Russian Federation, as its #8 Traveler’s Choice Destinations on the Rise. in 2015. This award highlights spots around the world that have received the greatest increase in positive feedback and interest from TripAdvisor members over the years. CNN notes that historic Kazan “along the Volga River has stunning architecture to admire, including the Kazan Kremlin, which offers “a mix of Orthodox Christian and Muslim cultures”.

Indeed, Kazan city presents fascinating, peaceful and empowering collaboration of various cultures, religions, traditions and mindsets.

Chiteks – gorgeous and comfortable

Among many attractions and works of art that Kazan offers, there is an exceptional, unique and functional one created centuries ago by the Tatars – the Art of Leather Mosaic.

These one-of-a-kind chiteks (Tatar boots) are created through a complex process of stitching genuine leather patterns by hands with so-called Kazan stitch and golden twisted threads. The patterns are build up into sophisticated designs that incorporate motifs of Islamic art traditions. Tatar boots look impressively beautiful and exceptional on one’s legs!

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Chiteks – cosy, warm and cute!

If Kazan is on your 2015 travel list, and if you want to own a pair or two of Tatar boots and to see how chiteks are created, email me at uniqueleathermosaic@gmail.com.

Exceptional boot is called chitek

When you google boot, tons of images of different boots come up:  fancy, classy, ugly, modern, in all shapes and colors. But the boots that are created using leather mosaic technique do not come up… I am realizing that it is not only because of my poor implementation of SEO tactics but also because the boots that I am talking about on my website belong to different category. These boots are right between footwear and art. These boots are one-of-a kind and hand-made, always!

New Sah boots

made by Sahtian

The special category that they belong to is Chitek . The word chitek comes from Tatar word çitek (читек or ичиги ) which means  “a boot made from soft leather and ornamented with cutout designs that are stitched together by hands”. The technique is so unique and sophisticated that no other ethnos but the Tatars could master it over the centuries. Chiteks are very popular in many regions of Russia and highly treasured by their owners because you can conquer the world in them.  The word читек is googalabe. But chitek is not yet…  I am on a mission to figuring out the ways to make association of boot  with chitek more recognizable in people’s and web workers’ mind. If you have any ideas, I appreciate if you share them with me via uniqueleathermosaic@gmail.com

made by Sahtianboot 4boot 5

 

Better way to get away from politics

 

At the times when it is so confusing and upsetting to watch news and follow politics, I always turn my eyes to the art and… shoes…. I feel so lucky to own this pair of flats that is so beautiful, comfortable and excepional. IMG_1761

And they are piece of art…. unique art. This shoes are hand-made – every bits of them – by craftsmen from Sahtiyan.IMG_1743

The three-colored flower ornament is designed using the best traditions of Tatar folk patterns.

The patterns are cut out and stitched together from inside by hands using silk threads of different colors.

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this is how the ornament looks inside

 

Let me know (UniqueLeatherMosaic@gmail.com)

if you want to own something like this and  I will make sure you have it!

25 cultures in one spot!

Do you know that almost every school in the area called Research Triangle Park (RTP) in North Carolina can boast of population of students whose families come from so many different cultures and countries? Local communities here in RTP: kids and adults – are exposed to such an exceptional and unique mixture of languages, cultures, traditions, arts, music and flavors from all around the world.

Tonight, my son’s elementary school hosts an International Festival – an exciting celebration of more than 25 cultures and countries! Kids and their parents will have an amazing opportunity to explore the cultures of the world from first hands without leaving US! What a treat!

international festival in elementary school

The Tatar culture is represented in the 2013 International Festival

Flags in the school hallway represet countries of students' heritage

Flags in the school hallway represent countries of students’ heritage