The first Selvedge World Fair takes place online, 3 – 5 September 2020. On the blog, in the run up to the virtual event - a celebration of cloth, culture and creativity – we will profile some of the 100 artisans taking part. Today, we look at the work of Crafts Studio IkatUz, a family business and cooperative of independent ikat weavers and natural dyers based in Margilan, Uzbekistan. Founder Aziz Murtazaev explains, “The main goals and tasks of our cooperative are to cooperate closely with each other for the benefit of preserving traditional craftsmanship and cultural values, their development and transfer to the next generation.”
“Margilan was a city on the Great Silk Road famous for silk and ikat production for centuries. When Central Asia was still under Soviet control workshops making textiles and other crafts were forced to close. Artisans were placed in factory-like organizations called artels, some were put into prison for doing work in private. But people could preserve the skills in families, passing the secrets from father to son, mother to daughter and master to apprentice. After the independence in 1991, there was a resurgence of traditional crafts across Uzbekistan, aided by the government for craftsmen and support families to continue their crafts skills freely.”
Crafts Studio IkatUz gives Ikat masters and weavers a way to sell their products regionally and internationally. Most of the weavers are from the rural areas neighbouring Margilan and work from home, Murtazaev explains, “By giving ikat warps to their homes we provide the opportunity of taking care of the children and having a sustainable income to pay for the education of the children.” Ikat making is community work involving over 37 steps, so none of the ikat fabric is made by one artist. Every single master in each step is responsible for the quality of his work which defines the quality of the final fabric.
Buy handwoven silk and ikat traditional clothing, accessories and homewares from Crafts Studio IkatUz at Selvedge World Fair, 3 – 5 September.
For more information and to buy tickets to access shopping, workshops and talks, visit www.selvedge.org.