Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ikat Porcelain Tableware

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Emerald Hermès plate from the Voyage en Ikat collection

Oscar de la Renta's 2005 ikat-inspired women's collection triggered a world-wide ikat trend in fashion, then interior design. Now Hermès has launched a collection - Voyage en Ikat - that puts ikat firmly on the table.

More than twenty hues centred on sapphire, ruby and emerald, are enhanced by 24-carat matte gold and come to life in designs composed "thread by thread".

This exquisite collection, which includes platters, presentation trays and tea sets, is hand made by master craftsmen in Limoges, France. It is available for viewing and purchase online.

Tashkent-based Rimma Gazalieva, is a leading Uzbek porcelain artist. She has been producing tableware inspired by Central Asian design - particualrly ikat and suzani patterns - for many years.

Rimma Gazalieva regularly holds master classes in Tashkent. Her pieces, ranging from complete dinner sets to smaller items such as coffee cups and sugar bowls, can be bought at Human Wear in Tashkent, a boutique visited on Uzbek Journeys tours. You can view more samples of Rimma Gazalieva's stunning work on her Facebook page.

Update 27 December 2020: Rimma now has an online boutique with worldwide shipping:
uzbekistan craft tours, uzbekistan art textile holidays, ikat design
 Rimma Gazaliev's ikat-inspired tableware

Related posts:
Oscar de la Renta's Love Affair with Uzbek Ikat
Uzbek Ikat as Interior Design Element
The Story of Uzbek Silk Production: Step by Step
Ferghana Valley Silk Ikats: Tying the Clouds
Fashion's Obession with Central Asian Design
The Silk Road Inspires Piaget's Secrets and Lights Collection 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Kyrgyzstan's Bus Stops

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Cotton flower bus stop en route to Osh. Image: Lilya Kas'yanova
Bus stop spotting can easily become an obsession in Kyrgyzstan.

Dotted on the main highways and country roads, these bus shelters did not follow an austere, Soviet model. Instead they are a riot of mosaics and murals depicting Kyrgyz mythology and patterns as well as patriotic themes from Soviet times.

These bus stops are so surprising, so marvellous and at times so quirky, e.g. a yurt-shaped bus stop, a traditional Kyrgyz men's hat (kalpak) bus stop and stops with hammer and sickle ornamentation.

Kyrgyz bus stops can be viewed as public art - installations along city and provincial streets. Some of them are utterly impractical as bus stops but marvellous structures. Their heyday was the 1970s and 1980s.

Photographer Christopher Herwig travelled through 13 former Soviet republics photographing these marvellous structures. His deluxe, limited edition hardcover book was funded through crowd sourcing and sold out within two weeks of publication.

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A sunny, gentle Kyrgyz bus stop image
It is the most comprehensive and diverse collection of Soviet bus stop design ever assembled. It also includes interviews with the people who helped design and construct them.

A second edition is planned for autumn 2015. Sign up for notification about when it is available on Herwig's website. Do watch the video on that page for some fabulous images of creative bus stops and listen to Herwig talk about his obsession and the project.

Kyrgyzstan has some splendid bus stops - the tragedy is that they are rapidly deteriorating. Alexander, the driver on Uzbek Journeys tours, is very accustomed to clients calling out to stop for a bus stop photo. He is now a little obsessed by them as well!

Related posts: 6 Quirky Things About Kyrgyzstan 
5 Reasons to Visit Kyrgyzstan
100 Experiences of Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyz Blues 
Back in the USSR: Soviet Roadside Architecture
Holidays in Soviet Sanatoriums  

kyrgyzstan bus stops, kyrgyzstan art craft tours, kyrgyztsan holidays
Christopher Herwig's marvellous image of worker, dove and carousel bus stop - you will see this on the Kyrgyz tours