In the early 1990's, Galina Alexandrovna Khmeleva, a clothing designer and surface design artist from St. Petersburg, Russia, began nurturing both a personal and a working relationship with local textile artists from the Orenburg region of Russia.
As a young woman growing up in post-WWII Leningrad, she was no stranger to the near mystical reputation of Orenburg knitted lace. Despite countless obstacles, including armed robbery and death threats, Galina managed to develop a reputation in Orenburg as a fair, honest and innovative businessperson.
In a part of the world where trust is not easily achieved, Galina earned the confidence and respect of the local knitting establishment. She was able to learn and perfect the closely guarded techniques of shawl design, learning from masters like Olga Fedorova herself.
As Galina’s working knowledge of the intricacies of Orenburg knitted lace continued to evolve, so too did her understanding of and appreciation for the pivotal role played by this traditional art form in the everyday lives of so many of the women in this region. Thus, when a growing sense of desperation became apparent, she pledged her support to do whatever was necessary to see that this unique textile tradition survived.