Meet Gilgil Spinners and Weavers
William Murai opened his weaving business in Gilgil after he traveled around East Africa with an American artist who collected art for the Smithsonian Museum. William then lived in the United Stated for a few years. When he returned to Kenya, he learned the craft of weaving and built several room-size looms, which he and his sons constructed themselves. They started by specializing in wool rugs. William, one of Peter's sons, expanded the products to include blankets, shawls, scarves, bed covers, pillows, table clothes, mats and runners, kikois and much more. Their products are made from local wool and cotton, which is hand-woven into yarn. Gilgil Weavers makes animal-themed wool rugs that COOL Crafts promotes and sells during Action for Cheetahs in Kenya speaking events.
William became an honorary warden for KWS in 1995. “When I bought this land, there was no one around,” he says. Now, the forest has been cut and people are moving in. “We have some conflicts with humans and wildlife, since we are so close. Now I have to be in between.” His business has an eye toward conservation. “We employ people who would otherwise cut the forest,” says William. The dyes these weavers use come from locally grown plants. Without the plants and the environment they come from, the Gilgil Weavers know they could do nothing. Currently, their products are not offered on our site but you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to order one.