Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Giorgio Armani's Take on Ikat

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Armani's gorgeous, tailored ikat jacket
Another international designer, Giorgio Armani, included wondrous silk and velvet ikat  in the "Crossing Colours" collection.

Although the origins of ikat are unknown, it is in Central Asia's Ferghana Valley that this weaving technique, practised and refined for generations, is flourishing.

Ikat differs from tie-dyeing in that the pattens are dyed onto the threads before the fabric is woven. (In tie-dyeing, the fabric is woven first and then the resist bindings are applied to the fabric which is later dyed).

The inclusion of ikat fabrics in haute couture collections seems unstoppable. Perhaps because the variety of patterns and colours are endless and the beauty of ikat silks is mesmerizing.

View a selection of Armani's pieces below. And maybe consider a visit to Uzbekistan, where you can meet Uzbek designers who are creating edgy, contemporary ikat clothes and accessories? Or perhaps have pieces made up to your own design?

Related posts
The Story of Uzbek Silk Production: Step by Step 
Oscar de la Renta's Love Affair with Uzbek Ikat
Valentino Haute Couture Meets Suzani
Ikat Porcelain Tableware
Uzbekistan: A Passion for Printing
Samarkand Fashion Show & Uzbek Concert 

ikat silk uzbekistan, uzbekistan small group tours, art craft tours uzbekistan
Armani Ready-to-Wear coat

ikat silk uzbekistan, uzbekistan small group tours, art craft tours uzbekistan
Armani ikat skirts

ikat silk uzbekistan, uzbekistan small group tours, art craft tours uzbekistan
Armani ikat stretch knit top

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Samarkand Painter Alexei Sherbakov

Ten Days of Heat, Alexei Sherbakov
Suzanna Fatyan, one of Uzbekistan's finest tour guides, has contributed several pieces on this website about Samarkand as well as about Uzbek cuisine. 

In this article she introduces us to the Samarkand painter Alexei Sherbakov.

Artists have always been inspired by the beauty and light of Uzbekistan, its people as well as its monuments. Samarkand artist Alexei Sherbakov is one such artist.

Born in the village of Juma, near Samarkand, his early years were marked by a spinal injury and long stints, sometimes years, in hospital.

However, in 1971, he entered Tashkent's famous classical art college named after Pavel Benkov. After graduation, he worked as an artist and designer in the workshop of the Art Fund, attached to the Samarkand branch of the Academy of Arts, Uzbekistan. Since then he has exhibited extensively.

Sherbakov's works, in oil, acrylic, water colour and on textiles, display his lifelong fascination with Uzbek culture and traditions, mixed with his own experiences of village life, suffering and joy.  The artist has an incredible ability to describe every gesture and pose and to penetrate the essence of a character.

Under Our Tree, Alexei Sherbakov
His palette is notable for being bright and abundant – a reflection of the brilliance of Uzbek bazaars.

Yellow, brown and green are his favourite hues, punctuated with a sudden red or blue.

Alexei Sherbakov is a master of the wet-on-wet technique, which lends the paintings an improvisational style, capturing a moment in this timeless landscape.

His works are found not only in the state galleries of Uzbekistan and Russia, but also in private galleries in Japan, Argentina, USA, Great Britain, and Europe.

I invite you to view some pieces of  below.

Please contact Suzanna if you would like further details about Alexei Sherbakov.

Contact Suzanna via email: susanna202001(at)yahoo(dot)com

Read Suzanna's other articles.

Dream, Alexei Sherbakov

Pilgrims, Alexei Sherbakov

Girl with a Pumpkin, Alexei Sherbakov 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Samarkand: Recipes and Stories from Central Asia and The Caucasus

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Cover of this ravishing new recipe and travel book
Uzbek Journeys clients, and readers who are dreaming about visiting the Silk Road, will relish this new publication Samarkand: Recipes and Stories from Central Asia and The Caucasus.

Caroline Eden, a regular contributor to the food and travel pages of London's Financial Times, The Guardian and Independent newspapers, teamed up with Eleanor Ford, a recipe developer and editor for the Good Food Channel and BBC Good Food, to produce this lavish book.

For many centuries various ethnic groups passed through the fabled city of Samarkand, sharing and influencing each other's cuisine and leaving their culinary stamp.

Over 100 recipes, adapted for the home cook, are showcased, interspersed with personal travel essays introducing the region and its ethnic groups: Uzbek, Tajik, Russian, Korean, Turkish, Caucasian and Jewish.

Of course Uzbek plov is featured and as Eleanor Ford said in an interview with the Evening Standard: "This is absolutely the defining dish of the region, and it is such an exciting experience going at lunchtime to one of the plov kitchens - bustling canteens where hundreds of people are served from this one vast kazan pan.

One chef would be doing it, layering up meat and rice and vegetables with just a little bit of spice. That way everything is scented by the slow cooking meat which is at the bottom of the pan. Officially this is a lunchtime dish, or a dish served at weddings or celebrations".

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Cucumber and rose soup
Gloriously photographed, the book displays the vibrancy and culinary originality of this remarkable region.

It is divided into these sections:
  • Shared table
  • Soups
  • Roast meats and kebabs
  • Warming dishes
  • Plovs and pilavs
  • Accompaniments
  • Breads and doughs
  • Drinks and deserts

Definitely a treat for yourself or on the Christmas list for a friend.

Related posts:
The Glory of Uzbek Bread
Chekichs: Uzbek Bread Stamps
Samarkand Restaurants and Caf├ęs: An Insider's View
Nowruz Spring Festival