Noor & Katu - Yereqnuk hand-painted rosettes

Meet the Maker - Noor & Katu

Noor & Katu logo

Noor & Katu are a social enterprise sourcing uniquely beautiful handicrafts from fair trade artisans in Armenia.

Their name translates to ‘pomegranate & cat’ – as evidenced by their logo; in Armenian tradition the pomegranate is a symbol of life and abundance and each mature fruit is thought to have 365 seeds, one for every day of the year, while cats are traditionally revered in Armenian culture. 

Sonya - founder of Noor & Katu

Founded by Sonya Varoujian in 2020, Noor & Katu partner with World Fair Trade Organisation producers ensuring fair trade and exceptional quality across their entire product range. Their moto, ‘artful giving with a conscience’, informs everything they do; sourcing raw materials locally, finding talent in rural communities and providing fair wages and safe working conditions for all their artisans. Two Noor & Katu Easter Decorations are available from Embrace – the Hand-embroidered Felt Egg and the Hand-painted Rosette. Each decoration is handcrafted by refugee women from Syria and Lebanon – displaced by conflict and economic hardship but now rebuilding lives of friendship, hope, creativity and financial stability in Armenia.

Maral Berberian is one of 22,000 Syrian citizens of Armenian descent, who fled Aleppo seeking refuge in Armenia when war broke out in 2011. Maral learned Armenian embroidery techniques as a child in Syria; specialist skills bequeathed to her by older generations seeking to maintain connection with their Armenian heritage.

Maral - Syrian Armenian artisan

Now part of a women’s craft co-operative and supplying hand-embroidered felt-decorations made from 100% locally sourced wool, Maral tells us,

‘I treasure our group of women artisans. Each and every one of them is valuable. Our group has now grown bigger and stronger. The women enjoy their handicraft and the ambience of harmony and joy which they have crafted themselves - with the warmness coming from their hearts. My goal in five years is to have my own factory for handicraft production.’

Easter Tree Decoration - Hand-painted Armenian Rosette

The Rosettes are laser cut by women with disabilities, sustained during their service as veterans, who now put their precision skills to creative use, supporting themselves and their families. Hand-painted designs inspired by ancient church carvings, cross stones (khachkars) and monasteries are added by Anna, Satenik and Arusyak, art teachers who fund their school, pupils and community in Koghb by selling handmade products. Their project, Yereqnuk, delivers thousands of products each year. Anna says,

‘We had to fund the school somehow. There we were, three art teachers, all of us can draw, so we decided to create our own products. All our time outside of the classes is dedicated to this project.’

Yereqnuk is the Armenian word for ‘clover’ and their simple logo shows a clover leaf formed by 3 heart shapes – this is the essence of Anna, Satenik and Arusyak’s work – creating beautiful artwork and products, raising up a new generation of passionate artists through their teaching and putting their whole hearts into all they do.

Anna hand-painting wooden decorations

When you choose fairly-traded, hand-crafted decorations and gifts from Embrace, you are supporting the life-changing work that our partners do throughout the Middle East and you are also ensuring that artisans like Maral, Anna, Satenik and Arusyak can continue to provide for their families and communities. Thank you.

Shop all Easter Tree Decorations
Shop all Fair Trade Products

Visit the Nour & Katu website
Read more about the World Fair Trade Organisation.

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The artists of Yereqnuk take on projects big and small - watch Satenik working with acrylic on canvas

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