Skip to main content
Master stone carver Bogdan Hovhannisyan looks on as his apprentice Gayane works on a piece in red tuff stone.
Photo by Narek Harutyunyan, Smithsonian Institution

Highlighting the revitalization of Armenian craft, the participatory program showcased the intersection of technology and handmade traditions. Working in clay, fabric, metal, stone, and wood, skilled craftspeople incorporated memory and experience into pottery and tonirs (clay ovens), knot-tied carpets and needle arts, window grates and fences, khachkars (carved cross stones), wood carvings, and jewelry. Visual artists and artisans together built interactive installations juxtaposing tradition and innovation.

Visitors engaged with Armenian designers and artisans, learning, observing, and trying their hand at weaving, embroidery, carving, and more. Discussion sessions explored the function of craft, not only for its utilitarian and economic value, but as a continually evolving cultural expression—a way to make meaning.

Throughout Armenia’s history, and especially in periods of marked change, these traditions are a life-affirming testament to the longstanding power of social and cultural life.

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.