Next to Heaven

BY Lisa Lindblad

May 7, 2015


 Many years ago, when the wonderful animal behaviorist and naturalist, George Schaller, was studying snow leopard, he spoke to me of the Tibetan Plateau where he lived, alone, for months on end.  He described its remote, stark beauty, sharing pictures both in word and and photograph, that enlivened my imagination.

Olivier Follmi, the photographer, has captured this same windswept landscape that seems to float on the doorstep of heaven, a sweep of treeless plain across which travel ruddy-skinned, black-maned men, women and children on rugged horses and shaggy yaks.


And then, almost a year ago, I saw this image.

And this one.


And there, in one image, two passions of mine joined hands:  the landscape of my imagination and a textile, enticing in feel, color and drape.

The textiles come from a social enterprise of a unique kind called Norlha Textiles.  The brainchild of a remarkable woman, Kim Yeshi, it seeks to transform raw yak wool into items of great beauty and quality, using local raw materials, skills and ingenuity.  The product is deeply satisfying in the hand and exquisite to the eye.  And, when carefully examined, each border and lining, every tassle and hem — all fashioned and finished by hand – is perfectly balanced, hued, and textured.


In their words:

“Norlha is a new concept that links sustainability with luxury…Norlha believes in innovation: It combines traditional techniques with more modern technology to create luxurious textiles in an endless variety of patterns and weights, suitable for all seasons.”

Norlha textiles can be purchased via their website or from Atelier Courbet, located in New York City.

All photographs courtesy of Norlha Textiles
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Urban Zen Promotes Shopping With A Purpose