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"Ikat + Burlap" collection

4/21/2015 8:39 AM

About a year ago in our travels in Sicily we came across a coffee shop “ Ideal Caffe” in the historic part of Palermo.  We stopped by to buy some coffee where we saw coffee bags made of burlap. We weren’t quite sure at that point what we wanted to do with the coffee bean bags but we knew we wanted one.  The seller, a very kind gentleman, gave us two large bags for free – grazie mille!

Ideal Caffe Stagnitta Palermo Sicily   Ideal Caffe Stagnitta Palermo Sicily
"Ideal Caffe Stagnitta" , a coffee shop in the historic zone of Palermo , where we received our first two coffee bean bags as a gift


Over the year we  played with a few ideas, used the bags in several styling sessions (you may see them on some photos on the website) and eventually it dawned on us – why not make a ikat+burlap large throw pillow that could be used for sitting on the floor or a cushion to spice up eco-friendly interiors.

We are testing the waters by introducing a few pilot products in our “Ikat+Burlap” collection. Please let us know what you think about them by sending us a message or by leaving a comment in a review field.

Ikat fabric and coffee bean burlap pillow throw collection



0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Ikat pattern matching service

3/10/2015 12:57 AM

UzbekAlive ikat pattern matching service

Ikat fabrics, just like any other fabrics with a pattern, have a pattern repeat. Given that handloom woven ikats are narrow, often times, for projects that require wider width of fabric,  the pattern needs to be matched.  For example, you want to use ikats for making curtains – 2 panels, 80cm wide, 3 meters long. Buying a little over 12 meters of 45cm wide fabric will not work for you. Why? Because you need to match the ikat pattern for your curtains and that pattern repeat may vary.

This being said, we are making it official here in this blog that we do offer the ikat pattern matching service. We have been doing this for our customers who, from our conversations, appeared unsure as to how much of the fabric to buy and we will continue doing this.  

What’s the benefit? You only pay for the fabric you really need, what’s left from the middle pieces we use for our own projects. Win-win situation for all of us!

1 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Pantone institute of color announced “Marsala” Pantone 18-1348 as a color of 2015. The name “Marsala” derives from a sweet but stromg wine produced in small Sicilian town with the same name in a vicinity of Palermo, Italy.

To celebrate the warm, deep and rich Marsala color we created a special Marsala collection to which we will be adding more Marsala inspired products throughout the year.

Marsala Ikat collection - UzbekAlive celebrating a color of the year


0 Comments | Posted By UzbekAlive

Last week, as I was riding a train I happened to be sitting to a woman who was travelling to Paris. We first started talking about the duration of her trip, then slowly moved onto ikat fabrics (I had my ikat bag with me), Uzbekistan and eventually come to a topic of rugs. She told me she designed rugs. I mentioned I know silk rug dealers who can probably introduce her to rug makers to work on her designs.

We exchanged emails and she wrote down the name of her gallery.  Before this piece of paper vanished in my recycle bin, I went on to google her works and found out I was talking to an author of beautiful works. Meet Luisa Zanibelli!


Coffee table by Luisa Zanibelli


 Copper embrossed and brassed coffee table


Brass and mirrored and colored glass

0 Comments | Posted By Uzbek Alive

This documentary is a great introduction into artisanal and cultural soul of Uzbekistan. There is a part of the movie where they talk about making ikats and a love legend behind it.

The documentary was filmed in 2014 by Russian cinema production company and for now is available in Russian only. I will keep an eye out for a version with English subtitles and will share it as soon as it is available.

0 Comments | Posted By Uzbek Alive

Why Uzbek ikats are so narrow?

10/3/2014 8:57 AM

I just got off the phone with a gentleman who is looking into buying ikat fabrics from us and one of the topics we got into was a narrow width of Uzbek ikats. Here we got into a history of how in the Soviet days, when there was no such thing as a private business, the production of ikat textiles was in the hands of the government and the production was industrialized in a sense there were industrial scale weaving machines. However, even those machines could not make a fabric wider than 90 centimeters. Why not? Because old Soviet industrialized looms were limited to 90 cm!

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening up of the market revived artisanal craftsmanship. Fabrics that were made in big factories started being produced by artisans at home on hand looms, which are narrow.  To these day most of ikats made in Uzbekistan are made on hand looms. 

To answer the question as to whether the Uzbek ikats can be made in width greater than 90 cm, I had to drill ikat gurus with my endless questions and have to report that, sadly, "no" is the answer. There have been attempts to try weaving ikats on wider looms that were imported from India - another ikat making culture - and unfortunately, in trials, it was discovered that the quality of Uzbek silk is not suitable for wider loom weaving. 

This conversation reminded me of pre-1991 era photos which I received not long ago from an ikat maker in Margilan. Here we go – black and white photos from the old days. 


Uzbek SSR silk ikat fabric production

Sorting out silk cocoons

Ikat fabric making in Uzbek SSR

Young woman weaving

Soviet textile factory

Soviet textile factory

Uzbekistan's textile heritage - ikat making

Textile factory in USSR days, city of Margilan

0 Comments | Posted By Uzbek Alive

There is something simple and natural  about the beauty of ceramic. A few weeks ago, at an exhibition,  we met an amazing ceramic master Bakhtoyor Nazirov. The beauty and the quality of his work is so pure and inspiring,  If you happen to be in Rishtan, Uzbekistan, you will immersed in a small world of ceramic, that's what the city is famous for. Make sure you ask for a house of Bakhtiyour Nazirov and enjoy his ceramic works as well as a typical Fergana hospitality where courtesy to guests takes a special place in the culture. 

Here is a quick intro to Uzbekistan ceramic traditions - Rishtan or Gijduvan (near Bukhara, Uzbekistan) – these are two ceramic Meccas of Uzbekistan. The distinction between the two is very easy - Rishtan ceramics are bright blue, as if taking inspiration from the clear sky. Gujdivan ceramics are in yellow, green and golden hues as if inspired by the autumn.


Rishtan ceramics

"Fish" shaped ceramic plates




Rishtan ceramic from Uzbekistan

Handmade ceramic works are usually signed by a ceramic master. 

Rishtam ceramic dishes from Fergana Valley of Uzbekistan

Plates, bowls, tea cups - some sort of a ceramic paradise



0 Comments | Posted By Florin Florea

Bedroom zest: ikat quilts

8/21/2014 8:36 AM

Ikat quilits from Uzbekistan

If changing your bed sheets and pillow covers is an easy way to add some newness to your bedroom, adding a unique ikat bedcover qualifies as adding spice to your bed life. Gorgeous artisanal ikat quilts are taking bedroom interiors to a whole new level.


Here are some beautiful examples of using ikat quilts to add some interest and spice to a traditional bedroom.


Ikat throw used in the bedroom

Apartment therapy | Green Style: Organic sheets in the Mix

ikat bedding by INC

Ikat bedding, ikat quilt

Trina Turk Ikat Purple Bedding

Elle Decor ikat bedroom

Elle Decor: Alessandro Twombly's Rustic Italian Bedroom


Ikat bedding from Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn | Cruz Ikat Reversable Quilt

0 Comments | Posted By Uzbek Alive

Washable suzani?

8/3/2014 10:56 AM

I just added a new machine embroidered suzani on a grayed jade green silk fabric on the website which took me down a memory line…

A few years ago I had a customer who was looking for suzanis for a decoration project. We exchanged a few emails but she did not go forward with an order because she found suzanies from another store, which were washable

For those who are new to suzanis,  just a quick definition info: suzani is a textile embroidery which is traditional to Central Asia, primarily to Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and probably Afghanistan.  Back in the old days and even now in remote villages, Uzbek girls were trained to embroider from an early age. By the time they were of a marriable age, they would have embroidered suzanies for their dowry.  Suzanis are used as wall hangings, space dividers and bedspreads.

Going back to a topic of washing, I will say that Uzbeks love color. When it comes to choosing threads for the embroidery, logic and practicality thoughts fly out of the window. The main focus is on choosing threads of beautiful colors!  Quiet often there is a rainbow of threads from different shops, which work beautifully together color-wise but … come from different manufacturers and may or may not be colorfast.

Now knowing what I just told you, imagine you decide to wash a suzani, what will happen? Some threads will bleed, other will not, but the suzani will be ruined forever!

This is why when you hear about washable suzanis, please ask the vendor to wash it in your presence.  Please also drop me a line if you like the “after” product. I personally have never heard of anyone washing suzani though i have come across vendors who claim that their suzanis are washable.

Samarkand suzani

Suzani wall hanging

Uzbek suzani used as a wall hanging

Suzani upholstered bench

Bench upholstered using a suzani textile 


Suzani tablecloth

Beautiful garden setting with a suzani tablecloth

0 Comments | Posted By Uzbek Alive

Summer color scheme

7/23/2014 10:26 AM



Just a quick post to share some beauty and to reinforce a well known fact that most designers / architects / other creative minds used the Mother Nature as an inspiration for their work. Here is an example – while picking apples in the garden, I noticed how incredibly perfect this color scheme was - fresh, vibrant and very timely given the World Cup that just ended in Brazil.

0 Comments | Posted By Uzbek Alive
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