In the heart of Ampanihy, a village located on the border of the Mahafaly and Antandroy regions, Eric Mallet’s workshop has made splendid carpets since 1993. The quality of his work reminds the yesteryear prestige, particularly during the prosperous 50s and 60s.
Startling contrast between an arid region and the production of luxury Mohair carpet.
We are close to the men and women who contribute to the community development with their passion and skills. All the revenues serve not only to perpetuate this traditional know-how but also to enhance the community welfare by providing a sustainable work. A sustainable economic growth linked with a cultural identity.
His secret trades lies in his love of the country and his tremendous determination. The adventure started off the coast of Madagascar when the sailing boat he had to convoy was damaged. Once he landed, he decided to go to Ampanihy as carpets from this region are part of his childhood memories.
Despite the harshness of this region which is difficult to access, distant from health centres and subject to regular severe droughts, Eric is enthusiastic. After few years of on-site observation, integration and studies, he decided to re-launch this activity. He mobilized women in the village, provided trainings and revived their passion for carpet weaving. Many years of work and research were necessary to find the highest quality in terms of threads and colors (entirely vegetable dyes extracted from indigenous plants). Eric has developed a unique thread in the world that allows the production of handmade carpets of 70.000 knots per square meter.
His workshop has hired 50 local woman weavers, and three men in charge of testing new colors to diversify the chart.
In this arid region, making mohair carpet is a blessing and a source of pride.
Here, everyone calls him "the passionate Eric Carpet!”.
The women weavers that are earning incomes have a positive economic and social impact in the village.
As a sign of recognition for the efforts he provided to develop the area, Eric received the National Order of the Knight of Honor from the Malagasy Government in July 2006.
Eric has borne with his private funds, the responsibility of promoting and commercializing this local know-how and the Malagasy mohair carpet brand in spite of the recurrent political crisis. As he says so aptly: “My weavers always keep the quality of their work, this is why I am able to carry on”.
Today more than ever, Eric continues his activities. He has created an association to develop the fair trade in collaboration with the community and aim to implement a professional training centre.
In parallel, his wife Lova who has supported him throughout the years has also set up a lapidary and jewelry workshop with the women (trained at the Institute of Gemology in Tana) in the village.
malagasy proverb to resume our job:
« Izay tsy mahay sobika, mahay fata-bary »
Those who don’t know the art of weaving have skills of pottery
The mission of “Le Tapis Malgache” firm is now at crossroads: to develop an activity in order to meet the needs of employment for young women in Ampanihy or to suffer a rural exodus that will lead to the end of this tradition.
As a local firm, “Le Tapis Malgache” works in collaboration with the association “Les Mères du Sud”. They aim to meet these demands of professional trainings by providing permanent jobs while promoting the Malagasy mohair carpet on luxury housing and interior decoration market.
Please contact us for further information.