Estonian Kadri Vunder and her team launched a new company in Zurich yesterday - Cervo Volante – a brand new company which produces environmentally friendly high quality shoes, coats and jackets out of hunting waste.
The idea of Cervo Volante was born in a climbing hall in Zürich where Kadri – a seasoned businesswoman and chemist, and Connie, a keen hunter and biologist, used to go climbing together once a week. In addition to the common hobby they, as friends do, discussed different issues also related to work, values and life in general. At one point Connie mentioned how much valuable raw material was wasted as nobody cared to use hunting waste (skins etc); in some places skins were even left in the nature to rot. Being responsible people, who respect animals and care about our planet and its future, the pointless waste was a topic very close to their hearts and every time they went climbing they continued the same discussion – would it be possible to make use of the hunting waste in one way or another? That was in February 2016.
Active as they were, they went further than just words. First, they made a feasibility study – researched tanning workshops and technologies on the Internet. The next step was to call some workshops and ask about tanning opportunities, then they visited workshops and producers (including Silvano Sassetti and Meindl-Faschion). As both the abovementioned producers were very interested in cooperation and able to produce according to their specifications, they decided, in September 2016, to give it a try and in October they hired their first employee.
By then, Kadri had already been actively looking for a fashion designer who might be interested in cooperation but would also share their values and principles. She contacted young and talented Piret Puppart, a professor and head of department at the Estonian Academy of Arts, who is full of inspiration and new ideas. Nature is also very close to Piret's heart, so she wholeheartedly welcomed the concept and joined the team in October 2016.
In a nutshell, this is how it all started and by now there are five people in the team, the basic tanning methods and prototypes have been developed and the first products will be ready to ship in mid-December this year.
like to say some words about the blog and what to expect here.
First of all – the hunt. It's a controversial issue and many people tend to immediately reject even the idea of it. But we assure you – do not be afraid of the hunt. Hunting as means of regulating the natural balance has always existed. Hunting has always been a part of coexistence between humans and wildlife. This is something we’ll cover in more detail in this blog – hunting, why it is important, how it is related to maintaining the natural balance etc, why our products can be bought and worn with clean conscience etc.
What we want to achieve with this blog is to introduce our products, but also our world outlook, the way how our production fits in the zero waste philosophy. Our shoes, boots and jackets should become a good alternative to the fast fashion products, made of artificial materials of suspicious origin. Yes, they are a bit on the luxurious side but they are durable, made out of materials which otherwise would have gone to the dump. The skins are tanned in an environmentally friendly manner, using only natural ingredients. This is the new face of luxury – not just pointless products designed by a famous name but a product with a story and consciousness behind it.
Kadri Vunder Fontana and Conny Thiel-Egenter
Taimi Paula - Künstlerin mit Wurzeln am Emajõgi
Im Jahr 1960 als Taimi in Marburg geboren wurde, war schon schöner Cocktail zusammen gemischt aus Berufen, Sprachen und Herkunftsländern. Im Cocktail blieb der Geschmack der estnischen Wurzeln stark und heute sind sie in Taimis Leben ein dominierender Geschmack geworden.
Auf ihrer Homepage www.taimi.ch schreibt Taimi, dass die Menschen und ihre Beziehungen sie schon seit ihrer Kindheit interessiert haben. Skulpturen zu modellieren hilft Taimi die Welt zu ordnen und macht sie glücklich. In der Ausstellung vom 27. September bis 1. Oktober hatte Taimi die Möglichkeit mit vielen Menschen zusammen zu treffen und ihre Arbeiten vorzustellen in deren Zentrum der Mensch steht. Skulpturen in verschiedenen Dimensionen aus Ton, Bronze und Wachs, mit natürlichen Farben oder sogar Gold gefärbt, lassen verschiedene Menschen und ihre verschiedenen Positionen und Haltungen erkennen. Einige der Figuren bäuchling, einige halten mit den Händen den schmerzenden Rücken, andere vereinen in sich zu einer summenden Gesellschaft, zu welcher auch der Atelierbesucher für einen Moment dazugehören kann. Eine der interessantesten Skulpturen war eine im roten Ton geradezu ein bisschen sandige Skulptur. An dieser war während der Ausstellung ein Schild angebracht: bitte nicht berühren. Gerade dazu lud die in Sonnenuntergangs Farbe gemachtes Skulptur jedoch ein, über eine Berührung das mit den Augen wahrgenommene zu überprüfen.
Als wir die Ausstellung kamen war das Atelier voll mit Leuten und wir mussten eine Weile warten bevor Taimi Zeit für uns hatte. Die Wände der Galerie schmückten die Bilder der Künstlerin Catherine Meyer, die zusammen mit Taimi's Skulpturen die Ausstellung genussvoll machten. Immer haben mich Menschen fasziniert, die das Gleichgewicht in ihrem Leben über die Kunst finden. Oft erkennt man seine größte Berufung nicht sofort und nicht immer ist es möglich aus der größten Leidenschaft eine Einkommensquelle zu machen. Menschen denen es gelingt den Alltag mit ihrer wahre Leidenschaft und dem Ruf des Herzens zu verbinden, können andere anregen das selbe zu tun.
Vom Beruf her ist
Taimi Versicherungs- und Pensionsberaterin sowie Firmengründerin. Die Mutter
von vier Kindern mit estnischen Wurzeln beschloss vor fünf Jahren mit Hilfe eines Onlinekursus
die estnische Sprache wieder zu erlernen, welche zu Hause in Vergessenheit
geraten war. Mit Ton als Material hat
Taimi schon früher gearbeitet, Skulpturen macht sie seit zehn Jahren. Die kürzlich
in der Kronengalerie stattgefundene
Ausstellung ist eine Bestätigung dafür, dass das Leben ein ständiger
Prozess ist, wo wir alle immer die Möglichkeit haben uns weiter zu entwickeln.
Mit einer alten Karte kann man neue Länder nicht entdecken. Zwischendurch brauche es Mut und Unternehmungsgeist, damit man auf der Karte Neuland und Erfolge vermerken kann.
Taimi's Großmutter wünschte sich, dass die Kinder naturnahe Namen bekämen. Von der Großmutter inspiriert heisst eine von Taimi's Töchtern Meri. Manchmal haben wir das estnische nur noch im Namen, doch über die Jahre wächst daraus eine Pflanze die neue Samen für die zukünftigen Generationen sät. Taimi's Traum ist es die Pension im Land ihrer Wurzeln am Ufer des Emajõki zu verbringen. Dies nicht nur zur Sommerzeit sondern das ganze Jahr hindurch. Wir wünschen Taimi weiterhin Mut und Unternehmungsgeist und einem baldigen Eintrag in das Einwohnerregister am Emajõki !
M.Loertscher / 5.Oktober 2017
Our people - Riina Tirmaste
In my work as president of the Association I hear so many amazing stories. I wish I could record them for posterity. I sometimes do, when a story is really special, like this one.
I met Riina some years ago at an Association event. Later we spent an afternoon at the Zurich zoo. Riina is from the Estonian town of Viljandi and lives with her Swiss husband, Vincent, in Rances, a suburb of Yverdon. She has studied sewing and related crafts in Estonia and Finland. She told me about her love of sewing and said she could sew practically anything, from curtains to clothes to handbags. We talked about her “Roosike Couture” Facebook page and how she had learned French. Riina’s gaze followed my lips and she smiled broadly when answering. Initially one might think her slightly accented Estonian comes from living abroad. In fact she is deaf – she was born that way.
She lipreads Estonian without difficulty and answers in clear Estonian without knowing how she sounds to others or how loudly she is speaking. Even more amazing is the communication between her and Vincent, for he is also deaf - and his mother tongue is French.
There is a widespread misconception that deaf people around the world all share a single sign language. Actually each spoken language has its own sign language, even if International Sign is used for communication between deaf people from different countries. While there are only some 2,000 sign language users in Estonia, the worldwide total is 70 million.
Studies have shown that about 18% of adults worldwide have a hearing impairment. One or two children out of a thousand are born deaf. Increasingly deafness is diagnosed during gestation. None of Riina’s siblings is deaf; her disability presumably resulted from her mother’s contracting toxoplasmosis during pregnancy.
People are deemed to have a mild hearing impairment if they cannot hear sounds in the 15–20 decibel range, and to be deaf if they cannot hear a sound of around 70–80 decibels. Riina can hear sounds in the 80–90 decibel range and reacts to very loud noises. She is thus able to benefit from constantly evolving hearing aid technology. Vincent, however, belongs to the very small minority of people who are completely deaf.
How can two deaf people from different language communities get acquainted and communicate?
In Riina’s case, it happened through a girlfriend who played in a basketball tournament in Slovenia. Vincent, who is a basketball referee, was among the spectators and later contacted the friend online. Riina happened to be visiting her friend and started chatting with Vincent. The chat led to an online relationship and in 2005 Riina visited Switzerland. Later she moved there to live with Vincent in Rances.
She learned French sign language from Vincent’s mother and two friends of hers. Riina had already learned, in addition to Estonian sign language, the sign languages corresponding to Russian, German and English. While in Finland she had added Finnish Sign Language to the list. With her gift for learning sign language, learning French Sign Language took just six months. Riina told me she had had a rocky start and had had to study hard and take courses. Vincent has since learned a bit of Estonian Sign Language and he and Riina now sign with each other in Estonian and French.
They now have a son, Jonas, who has normal hearing, speaks French and Estonian fluently, and also signs in French and Estonian with his parents. He moves fluidly between spoken and sign languages and can communicate with his parents even when they are not next to him – without all the shouting that parents and children often use to get each other’s attention…
I was surprised to learn from Riina that deaf people have trouble writing, even though they are used to communicating through text messages and other forms of writing. Not being able to associate written words with their spoken forms, they have to memorize every word from scratch – rather like a foreigner learning Chinese characters.
Nevertheless, to maintain fluency in a given language – both in signing and in understanding speech and writing – deaf people benefit greatly from reading and from contact with speakers of the language. Riina says her Estonian has deteriorated somewhat in Switzerland because she has little contact with Estonian speakers who have normal hearing. She only visits Estonia once or twice a year. The family’s finances are tight: Riina has yet to find regular employment and Vincent’s income is modest. He has studied IT at a school for people with normal hearing and is a certified basketball trainer and referee. He knows how to sign in English, German and French and rudimentary Polish, Estonian and Italian. But even deaf people with a good level of education and training have trouble finding employment among the wider population.
Despite his hearing impairment, Vincent is able to drive a car, which enables the family to attend events such as Swiss Estonian Association gatherings. They also enjoy hiking and bicycling. While Jonas dreams of becoming a police officer, Riina herself hopes to someday develop her sewing and handicraft activities into a full-fledged business.
Continuing our walk at the Zurich zoo, we enter the Masoala rainforest, where a monkey’s shrieking suddenly startles the guests, who freeze in mid-step. Only Riina and Vincent keep walking…
Their silence is amazing…painful to behold, and yet also peaceful.
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season – and that you’ll be alive to your surroundings –
Mirjam Loertscher / 27.11.2016
Translation by Talvi Laev.