Craft as the Basis for Development of Creative Skills

Craft as the Basis for Development of Creative Skills

Aizhan Bekkulova on the importance of supporting craftspeople

“Art has two most dangerous enemies: a craftsman having no talent and a talented person unable to craft”, said Anatole de France, a French writer. This phrase became the motto of Aizhan Bekkulova, an artist and social activist who has been engaged in supporting craftspeople and craftwork development for over 20 years.

Aizhan Bekkulova - Vice President of Central Asia Office of the World Crafts Council – Asia Pacific Region (WCC-APR)

Ms. Bekkulova graduated from the Almaty Institute of National Economy and then received education in the field of cinema organisation. She had been working as a production manager for over 10 years when, to her own surprise, she decided to become an artist. “I loved that period of my life but felt that my life lacked creativity, independence, and opportunities for self-fulfilment”, she recalls.


Aizhan Bekkulova obtained her third education at a relatively adult age. She graduated from the Almaty State Theatre and Arts Institute and became a professional textile artist. She had never been painting but always liked to do something with her hands: embroidering, sewing, tapestry, and making talisman dolls. Today, the artist is interested in felt making and creation of jewelry from aluminium, brass, and plastic.

Recently, Ms. Bekkulova fulfilled her biggest dream. Jointly with Aues Saginayeva, she created a collection of clothes with a modern approach. The collection was named ‘When Kazakhs Were Seafarers’.

Aizhan Bekkulova can’t imagine her life without creativity. However, not only self-development but also support and promotion of other craftspeople are important to her. Many years ago, when craftspeople in her country were in freefall, Ms. Bekkulova founded the Kazakhstan Craftsmen Union. She planned it as a temporary institution but the organisation’s work proved to be very effective and important over the years. Then Aizhan Bekkulova became the Vice President of Central Asia Office of the World Crafts Council – Asia Pacific Region.

Craftspeople greatly contribute to global economy, which is one of the reasons why it is necessary to support them today.

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According to statistics from American researchers, the total amount of annual revenue of craftspeople from all over planet is 32 billion dollars.

Aizhan Bekkulova not only implements programmes on support of craftspeople but also tries to be a role model for them by showing what results one should pursue in one’s activity. The artist regularly conducts trainings and workshops.

According to her, a craft is the basis for development of any creative skills and knowledge. No artist can do without this kind of activity.

The one who dedicates life to art must be able to work with one’s hands, feel with one’s heart, and put one’s soul into one’s business.

Viktoria Yezhova, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community

Translated by Nikolay Gavrilov