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We don’t know what cultural gems can be hidden in a place. Uzbekistan is certainly one of those places we overheard of but don’t know much about. However if one starts scratching a surface of cultural understanding one will realize what vast heritage is hidden in Uzbekistan.
 
Uzbekistan is uniquely positioned between Asia and Europe which from the ancient times made it a cultural exchange hub. During the Silk Road days, the significance of the Silk Road was not as much in the trade. The luxury items traded along the Silk Road were available only to very richpeople. The main significance of the Silk Road was in spreading ideas and knowledge which effected many. As legend goes,  this is how a silk farming - sericulture -started in present day Uzbekistan. Sericulture which was already established in China got spread with caravan travelers.
 
As people learned how to farm silk worms the next natural step was to learn how to make silk fabric, to develop methods of mixing silk with cotton and how to make new fabrics. One of those types of fabrics which was developed in Uzbekistan was Ikat fabric. Ikat fabric production independently developed in other countries like Indonesia and India as well but you can always recognize Uzbek Ikats among others for their bold patterns and bright colors. Originally Ikat fabrics were available only to royalty because silk was not so widely produced and was very expensive. A less costly version of Ikat fabrics was a blend of silk and cotton Ikat fabrics in which fabric makers mixed cotton and silk yarns. These fabrics were heavier and cheaper because cotton weights more and costs less. The most democratic version of Ikat fabrics was a 100% cotton Ikat.
 
What made ikat fabrics famous and trendy was not their fibers but their pattern and a method of making. To this day Ikat fabrics production is a labor intensive process which requires that the silk or a combination of silk and cotton yarns are first prepared. Then the Ikat pattern is drawn on the yarn which is stretched and tied to wooden poles. Once the Ikat pattern is drawn the yarn is prepared for resist-dying by tying certain parts of the fabric with a dye-resistant material, usually plastic. The dying process may be repeated many times, depending on a complexity of a pattern and a number of colors involved. A general rule of a thumb - the ikat fabric was dyed as many times as a number of colors it has in it. Once the yarn is dyed, it is prepared for weaving. If the Ikat fabric is hand made artisanal like it is in most cases in Uzbekistan, it is hand woven on a wooden loom, usually by women. Machine woven Ikat fabrics are manufactured only by factories the number of which is low these days - most of those factories were government supported during the soviet days and stoped their main operations after the collapse of the USSR back in 1991.
 
Uzbek Ikat fabrics have been experiencing Ikat Renaissance over the last 10 years. World famous fashion houses like Balenciaga and Oscar de la Renta made entire collections using Ikat fabrics from Uzbekistan. Homes featured in lifestyle magazines use Ikat fabrics for Ikat decorations and Ikat accessories. The Ikat fabrics are once again captivating the world with their beauty, uniqueness and history.
0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

  

Black, white and green ikat lampshade

I am finally bringing our unique Ikat fabrics to a new form of interior decoration -  lighting!

I love lighting! Lighting fixtures are like gems which can be spread around to create beautiful ambiance. Our focus is on creating a vibe which is eclectic, exotic, cozy and relaxing. 

The idea of lampshades has been with me for some time, it took an interference from fate in a form of an injury to finally turn a plan into the reality - so much spare time and energy had to be used for something!

These Ikat drum lampshade was made using a professional quality lampshade plastic (pressure sensitive styrene) and an artisanal hand women Ikat fabric. Most of the lampshades are made to order - ready lampshades take a lot of storage space which i don’t have. Production time? Let me commit to 7 days though I will try to get it out sooner to you. 

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

We are taking this photo as an inspiration for our blog.

This photo was taken during the Fashion week in Tashkent, Uzbekistan which took place in November 2017. The skirt which is the main focus of the look is made a of handwoven Ikat fabric "Marsala" (F114) and we happen to have something very similar in stock, not quite the same pattern but the same bold energetic color scheme!

 

Marsala ikat skirt Tashkent Fashion Week 

 

Marsala handwoven ikat fabric

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Good time of the day to whoever is reading this post which is going to be quick and will convey one message that is "Accessories Really Matter".

See that red teapot on a shelf to the right? Recognize it? It is our Golden Paisley teapot getting featured in italian edition of Elle Decor. The teapot was designed in the Soviet days, it was hand painted and indeed is a beautiful and timeless piece of porcelain to add to your dining table. 

 

Orange golden paisley teapot

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Red tulip spring sale Uzbekalive

 

Happy Spring or as we say in Uzbekistan – Navruz Muborak! Navruz is a new year, which starts on spring equinox (March 21) and lasts for a month. During that month as the nature renews itself we review where we stand with our lives and renew.

We are clearing up some space for a new energy to come in. As such, we are offering 20% discount on all orders $100 and above. The promotion includes everything we have in stock – those silk ikat scarves, those handwoven fabrics, those pillow covers you have been considering. EVERYTHING!

The campaign will end on May 1, 2017 and since everything we have is a limited edition the offer is valid while supplies last.

Happy Renewal to all! Peace, Love and Harmony to you! 

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

We know, it took forever, many have asked, we have finally starting delivering - velvet ikats! 

A bit of Velvet  Ikat history. In 19th century - early 20th century ikat velvet (also known as ala-bakhmal) was a fabric that could be afforded only by the royalty or the rich families. With the Soviet army's arrival and Uzbekistan becoming a part of the former USSR in 1924, the rich who could afford such luxurious clothing were exiled and the whole nation was "standartized" to wear clothes made of simpler fabrics. Since there was no need for such fabrics the technology of making ala-bakhmal was lost until mid 1990ies when it was revived in Margilan, Uzbekistan.

This is the first two pillow covers that we have added to our Ikat Pillows collection. "Pomegranate Sun" and "Peace and Love" are made of silk ikat velvet fabrics and measure square 41cm (16") closing with an invisible zipper on a side.

Happy New Chinese New Year! May the Year of a Fire Rooster be a year of Peace, Justice, Health and Harmony!

 

Luxurious artisanal velvet ikat pillows

 

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

We have just added two vintage Paisley design teapots to our stock. Each teapot measures 500 ml and is perfect for a party of 1-3 people. 

There is also a similar teapot in red color, we will need a clear sky to take pictures of that one and to upload it to the website. Bear with us a few more days.

Paisley vintage Soviet porcelain teapot from Uzbekistan

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Vintage hand-painted porcelain

9/26/2016 5:19 AM

Vintage porcelain teapot

 

 

Just to give you heads up - over the next few days we will be adding some vintage tea and soup bowls which were made and hand painted in the Soviet era. Most of the items were made at Pervomay Porcelain Factory (Первомайский Фарфоррвый Завод) which is situated in Pesochnoe village in Russia. Interestingly, during the Soviet days 70% of the porcelain manufactured by the factory was made for the "Soviet Orient" that is present Uzbekistan, Azerbadjan, etc.

 

 

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Speaking of luxury...

8/5/2016 5:53 AM

Marcel Wanders luxury quote

 

I couldn's pass by this quote by a Dutch designer Marcel Wanders without making a mental note that this is so true about ikat textiles and other products that we sell. Ikat textiles are dry clean only, which qualifies them as high maintenance and non-democratic  in the world in which we are used to throwing everything in washing machines. Handmade textiles require a deliacte use and a delicate care.

So why buy them?

That's exactly the reson why - you go beyound functional and go into a zone which has a personal touch,  a personal value and not necessarily a good practical reason. 

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

What is Ikat? Wikipedia defined Ikat as “a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles that employ a resist dyeing process on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric”. It is a centuries old traditional fabric with hand-dyed technique using a resist dying and woven method.

For Ikat, they are individual yarns or bundles of yarns that are bind together to form the resist and the desired pattern; it is achieved with a tight wrapping applied on them. A typical Ikat textile is characterized by apparent "blurriness" in the design. The blurriness is a resultant effect of the exertion of the weaver in lining up the dyed yarns in an effort to make the pattern come out perfectly in the finished product. The blurriness can however be reduced by the skill of the craftsman/woman when finer yarns are used.

The dyeing technique used in Ikat fabric weaving varies widely. Many have ethnic, ritual or symbolic meaning while some are being developed for export trade. Conventionally, Ikat fabrics are signs of class, status, wealth, power and prestige for those who use it. The reason is due to the time and complexity of skill immersed in its weaving making it outstanding among fabrics.

Ikat is very unique owing to the fact that the resist is applied to the yarns before they are woven into clothe, where in both fabric faces are patterned. While in other resist-dyeing techniques such as tie-dye and batik, the resist is directly applied to the woven clothe. This makes Ikat’s style come out marvelously and great to behold for the sight.

Ikat Fabric Samples

All over the world, from India, Central Asia, Southeast Asia to Japan including Africa and Latin America Ikat fabrics is produced with different techniques and specifications. But it is Ikat fabrics from Uzbekistan that is still reigning, becoming the hit in fashion and interior design industries lately. They are more popular for their large and bold Ikat patterns.

Another uniqueness of Ikat is its universal weaving style that is common to several cultures of the world. This is adjudged to be one of the oldest forms of textile ornament. Its popularity this day is beyond measure and tis will last for a very long time no doubt, as the beauty always amaze people.

Ikat fabrics can be used in several ways for a variety of things like chic Ikat upholstery fabric and Ikat curtains. It can also be used as Ikat pillow covers, Ikat throws and Ikat quilt all for beautification and comfort.

Care of Ikat Fabrics

Good dry cleaner: Good dry cleaners that will not use harsh chemical must always be allowed to handle your cloth. Vacuuming frequently is also an advantage because you won't have to dry clean often.

Treat spills promptly: Spill on your fabric must be treated as a matter of urgency gently with dry absorbent cloth. Rubbing will damage the cloth, so do not rub. You can also blot spills with a clean white cloth or plain paper towel.

Washing: When washing your Ikat fabrics in the machine, wash separately in cold water with mild detergent and no bleach. Spin at low setting or line dry.

0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive
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