The mid-20s, 20th century. Semirechye. In this picture, Kazakh women are creating artworks from felt. Felting is quite a challenging process, it consists of several stages, and that’s why six craftswomen are performing this job simultaneously.

Photographer Alexander Ionov captured the very moment when steppe women were rolling ornamented felt with a reed mat.

The roll was repeatedly unrolled and moistened with water or whey in order to tighten up the wool; the ornament was corrected; uneven edges were cut. Women look tired in the picture – felt has to be rolled for more than 3-4 hours, causing calluses on hands and elbows.