Saturday, March 1, 2014

Suzanis from Uzbekistan - The Little Silk Road Shop

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There is something so vivid and magical about a Suzani, the gorgeous embroidery from Uzbekistan. Suzanis have garnered a lot of attention in the recent past, so much so that the beautiful motifs are now being blindly printed and mass produced. It breaks my heart to see these replicas that do nothing to keep the Uzbeki traditions alive. 

In one of my recent Facebook feeds I came across a picture from Azizbek Gulyamov's Little Silk Road Shop. It was an original suzani hand-embroidered on silk. Azizbek and his collaborative team in Bukhara support women's groups that embroider suzanis. Traditionally only women embroider suzani and the art of embroidery is taught to every new generation. 

Azizbek says "We are recycling old designs and motifs according to the new demands of current lifestyles and we are keeping our proud tradition alive: By 'upcycling', using natural dyes and fabrics, we do not not pollute the eco-system with poison of synthetics"

The Little Silk Road shop's contemporary reproductions of old antique Suzani textile are naturally dyed or dyed with eco-friendly colors, created by women incorporating designs traditionally used in the 18th and 19th, 20th centuries in the towns and regions of Uzbekistan.

The process of producing a single Suzani takes time, effort and patience. Suzani is an Iranian and Tajik word meaning "needle". The artist draws freehand designs on strips of woven silk, linen, cotton, adras (silk and cotton), with a sharp straw, "kalam" (which means "pencil"). 

After this, a group of women embroider this pattern and with vegetable-dyed silk. The Suzani embroidery silk threads are locally produced, and two traditional stitches are used in the majority of the pieces, “hook” stitch and “needle” stitch. In all suzanis, you can discover hidden symbols and lucky charms, such as flowers, fruits, birds and fish. After the embroidery is completed on each strip, they are sewn together to form a large finished piece.

Get in touch with the Little Silk Road shop here
If you are in Cape Town, you can buy them here

Here are some beautiful suzani's from The Little Silk Road Shop:

All photos belong to The little Silk Road Shop & Bukhara to Cape Town Suzani Textiles

1 comment:

  1. What a colorful design on suzani embroidery I am really impressed with your choice of color combination.. I like that very much.


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