From the Shepherd to the Artisan: Revitalizing Wool Processing in Southern Albania

Setting New Standards with Traditional Textiles

This was the first project to revitalize wool processing in Albania. Wool has been one of the most important non-food products in Albania for hundreds of years, but it’s processing and use almost ended with the breakdown of communism and urban emigration.
Today most of the wool is thrown away while only a limited quantity is saved for household use.

During the project, 250 kilograms of wool was acquired from the shepherds of the mountains in the communes of Lunxhëri and Antigone. More than 20 people and artisans were engaged in the collection of the wool, cleaning, carding, hand spinning and dying it with herbs and plants collected in the nearby hills. This material served as the source of raw material that artisans used during the training and the production of felt and woven products.

The artisans of Gjirokastra were trained in felt techniques, which they then applied for the creation of small animal figures. The artisans in Antigone, on the other hand, were trained in various weaving techniques for producing kilim and other products. The sessions were labor intensive and included lots of experimentation with wool, colors and shapes.

The result was a collection of about 200 products branded under the name of Woolline. At the website customers can view the product catalog and order online. Artisans then produce the products on demand. Because of the quality and uniqueness of the product designs, this project has set a new standard for the handicrafts industry in Albania.

Location :


Project dates :

May – September 2014

Donor :

Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation Australian Direct Aid Program

In collaboration with :

Centre for Int’l Migration & Development (CIM) Municipality of Lunxhëri Municipality of Antigone

Work group: