German couple aims to boost Faroese wool industry

21.07.2021 - 14:59
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German couple aims to boost Faroese wool industry
A couple from Berlin are breathing new life into a centuries-old industry in the Faroes
Anja and Francesco Mazuhn pictured in their new home village, Elduvík
 

The old school in the scenic Eysturoy village of Elduvík has been transformed into a special designer shop for the summer.

On display are jackets, purses, blankets, pillows and other products handcrafted from Faroese sheep’s wool by Francesco and Anja Mazuhn, who moved from Berlin to Elduvík eight years ago.

They have set up their own firm, the Faroese Wool Company, selling their products under the brand name ‘Skattakista’ (treasure chest).

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Caption: 
Some of the garments are named after the farmers who provided the wool. Jacket names include Poul Johannes (Francesco’s best friend and neighbour), Jóhan and Eivind. Photo: The Faroese Wool Company

“Faroese wool is different from all other wool in the world, but I love it and I spend a lot of time working with it,” says Francesco.

“Our products are made from 100% Faroese wool, but the garments are not itchy.”

The project is still at the startup stage, but the couple have high ambitions.

“We started collecting wool from the Búnaðarstovan agricultural agency two years ago, and we are currently looking for investors to help us expand our operations.” he says. 

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Caption: 
This bag is named Malvinus, the name of the first person the couple met when they came to Elduvík. Photo: The Faroese Wool Company

Faroese farmers have not been paid much for their sheep’s wool in recent years, and that’s something Francesco wants to change.

“My dream is that we can ramp up our production and export it to Europe and beyond. If we can work all the wool in the Faroes, the price will go up and Faroese farmers will start earning real money from their wool.”

Love at first sight

The couple say they fell in love with the Faroes after watching a documentary about the islands.

“We were fascinated by this place, so Francesco started searching for holiday homes on the islands,” explains Anja.

“A few days later, we hopped on a plane and enjoyed a lovely week-long holiday here. When we returned to Berlin, Francesco started secretly looking for a house to buy in the Faroes.”

Shortly afterwards, they returned to the islands and ended up buying a house in Elduvík only three months after their first visit.

They now spend about half their time in Elduvík and the other half in their house in Berlin.

Anja’s Faroe Islands

Anja recently published a book about the Faroe Islands in Germany, and she also keeps a blog called ‘My Faroe Islands’.

“Sometimes I have portraits of Faroese people on the blog, and sometimes it’s about Faroese nature,” she explains.

“I try to make it a blend of factual information and the emotions I feel in this place – my mosaic of the Faroe Islands.”

Home

Francesco and Anja feel welcomed by the locals. They came here as tourists eight years ago but they no longer feel like tourists in their new village.

“We participate in the daily village life. We take part in the sheep drives in the mountains, and we try to help out with daily tasks in the village,” explains Anja.

“If someone in the village needs a hand when they’re painting their house, we do what we can to help. And when we need some assistance, the villagers are almost queuing up to help us. We really feel at home here.”

A passion project

On the Visit Runavík Facebook page, Francesco writes the following:

"Dear friends, we made it! We have worked on this passion project for a long time, now we can finally present the results in the Faroe Islands: jackets, bags, blankets, pillows and much more, everything made of 100 percent Faroese wool! Unique, sustainable, beautiful, soft and manufactured in small workshops, high quality. Come see for yourself and give us a visit: at the old school in Elduvík, daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., so far. Or you give us a call, and we meet afterwards: phone 289223."

 

Translated from Dagur og Vika by prosa.fo

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