By Yury Chernyakevich
At first sight, it may seem incredible, but the masters of felt boot making from the Dribin District are no longer surprised at such attention — from Belarusian or foreign firms. Yelena Rebkovets, who heads the Dribin District Executive Committee’s Culture Department, tells us that its hand-made clothes and household items, produced from natural materials, enjoy great popularity.
Dribin felt boots are always in demand in the district, and far beyond, being both fashionable and comfortable. Their use of natural raw materials is supposed to be very healthy for feet. Of course, it’s also wonderful to preserve such craft traditions rather than relying on imported goods. The local historical and folk museum even runs classes to teach the younger generation these ancient skills, saving them from oblivion.
Around 30 craftsmen reside in the Dribin District, using dry felting and decoration techniques, using coloured wool, beads and embroidery to embellish the boots. Felting remains a rare craft in Belarus, centred around the Dribin District. They even boast their own unique language — ‘Katrushnitski Lemezen’ — which was used through the centuries to keep masters’ secrets from eavesdroppers.