Suzani: A vibrant crucible of the creative alteration of Uzbekistan

An 8-year-old girl, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed looks expectantly at her grandma who is carefully unwinding a lustrous silk thread from the spool. Her eyes beam with eager anticipation of what will unravel next. The little girl ambles around her grandma, putting up an adorable charade of indifference while the latter threads the needle. But the occasional stealing of covert glances gives away the impatient expectancy bubbling in her little head. Who is this little girl and why is she so fixated with her grandma’s sewing project?

Well, this little girl is representative of every young Uzbek girl who models herself on her mother/grandma so that one day she too is able to furnish household articles with beautiful details. The said details are achieved through steady, hand-guided movements and confident usage of bold colors. This traditional textile craft, which is unique to Uzbekistan and neighboring countries like Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Kyrgyzstan, is known as ‘Suzani’. Its history is a rich palimpsest of cultures and ethnicities that influenced, transformed, and shaped it for it to become an enduring emblem of ancestral art.

suzani 1

Image source: Pinterest

The word ‘Suzani’ is of Persian provenance that can be translated as ‘needlework’. Bold florals, sinuous vines, dainty vegetal motifs, complex grid patterns, etc. are some of Suzani’s many design strands.


Suzani moon

Oi Palak, the enigmatic moon design

Image source: Pinterest

Shakhrisabz Suzani

Bold and densely worked floral motifs of Shakhrisabz Suzani

Image source: Pinterest


bokhara-suzani.jpg

Bokhara Suzani featuring floral medallions nestled in foliate lattice

Image source: Pinterest

Suzani’s journey hasn’t been an easy ride. It wasn’t until the resuscitation of sericulture in the late 17th century that the art of Suzani began flourishing in the true sense of its practice and scope. However, this textile opulence was short-lived and began petering out with the Soviet rule’s belligerent interference in the native production system and insistence on developing factory-based and standardized one. But with the fall of Soviet Union, the Uzbeks were re-introduced to their design vernacular, which by then, was altered to an extent because of the cultural upheaval it had to pull through. Nonetheless, with the newly won independence and renewed vigor, it didn’t take long for this beloved art to re-establish itself to its former prosperity.


img_2397-e1493200656370.jpg

Appliqued Suzani chair at our Delhi store

Image source: Pinterest

The commonest items where the vibrant interaction of motifs and colors can be seen are wall hangings, canopies, headdresses, bed covers, curtains, furniture throws, table cloths, and many other home furnishing items.

Wall hangings, which make an essential part of bridal trousseau are crafted painstakingly and meticulously by the female members of the household and the bride herself. These beautiful pieces are emblematic of protection, fertility, longevity, well-being, and hospitality. The designs made on these hangings are symbolic of a prosperous universe that is lovingly architected with love, magic, well-wishes, and nature.

suzani 2
Image source: Pinterest

Traditionally, an expert in Suzani designs known as ‘chizmachi’ would be called to draw motifs on a white cotton cloth that would be hand-woven by family members on narrow width looms. For a wall hanging made of a wide-width cloth, a number of narrow width panels (around 3 to 6 or even more) would be stitched together. Each of these panels would then be doled out to the members of the family to decorate the fabric with dramatic Suzani motifs. The fact that each of the panels gained details through different hands meant that they led to charming flaws and pretty imperfections that cohered to become an heirloom piece of talismanic significance.

suzani 3
Image source: Pinterest

While the primary choice for Suzani is silk, nowadays, embroidery yarns such as cotton and wool are also widely used. Traditionally, silk was either produced locally by means of sericulture or imported from China or India. Silk procured from abroad would be dyed in natural materials such as cochineal, madder, indigo, pomegranate, etc. which would yield deep, lustrous, and rich colors.

suzani 4

Image source: Pinterest

The stitch repository of Suzani comprises 3 basic types of stitchery techniques – basma, kanda khayol, and tambur. Basma and kanda khayol are essentially couching stitches, the only difference between the two is that the latter uses diagonal couching to secure the laid stitches. Both the stitches are primarily used to flesh out substantial areas of large motifs. Tambur, which is a chain stitch, is done either by tambour (akin to fine crochet hook) or needle to fill out motifs and delineate shapes. Together these stitches result in the rich interplay of linear and 3-dimensional textures, culminating in a vibrant outpouring of colors and designs.

suzani 5Image source: Pinterest

So what do you think is the little girl doing right now? We think she must have already got initiated into the mystical world of Suzani. Her grandma’s instruction and words of wisdom will form a bridge that she will walk across to embark on a new beginning that’s as prosperous and plentiful as the enduring art.

Do you want to bring a splash of these resplendent patterns in your home? Our karigars have got this craft down to a fine art and can create customized Suzani motifs for home furnishing of your choice. Give us a call on 7875555413 and our design ninja will take it from there.

How to add alluring details to curtains using decorative trimmings and borders

First impressions of your home are decidedly gained from the most obvious and salient architectural feature of your living room – which more often than not is the standalone, large window punctuated by lavish curtains. The decoration of such a conspicuous part of your living environs naturally warrants careful consideration and not to forget copious creativity. So how do you add a special flair to your curtains? What is that special something that just brings everything together into a satisfying, harmonious whole? Through the elegant application of decorative trimmings and borders!

Trimmings can widen the decorative scope of even the simplest of fabrics and can supply a tame composition a whirl of grandeur. Borders essentially underscore the composition, shape, and form as well as lend a blended note of decoration and weight to curtains.

Beautiful trimmings and borders always serve a dual purpose – they are sympathetic to the overall design scheme of the interiors and don’t get into the way of the efficiency of the curtains. From theatrical to formal, complementing to contrasting – decorative possibilities of trimmings and borders are boundless.

Take a look at some of the trimmings and borders developed by our seasoned team of kosher design ninjas –


dsc_0285.jpg

 

A decorative band speckled with closely stitched freshwater pearls runs along the leading edge of the turquoise jewel-toned curtains. This spectacular composition despite being opulent doesn’t look garish but graceful by dint of the restrained choice of decoration and color. 


IMG_6569

 

Here a brown linen border edged with multicolor potli trims makes a chic accompaniment to the Ivory cotton fabric. We also love the unusual density of folds of the curtains; it makes the composition look soft and modest.


IMG_8983

 

Colored pencils have marshaled themselves at the border of the white curtains to articulate the dreamy pleats. This imaginative juxtaposition is sure to stimulate childhood fantasies and amusement.


JJF_5529

 

Drawn to each side with tassel fringed tiebacks, this pair of silk curtains prettily frames a balcony view. A sheer swag and its layered tail are also adorned with the same color coordinated trimming, making the composition an impressive monochrome scheme that’s easy on the eyes.

image3

A broad border featuring geometric florals is wrought using shaded couching stitches. It makes an easy focal point at the window without ostensibly catapulting itself on our attention and totally works for a contemporary setting.


IMG_1071

 

Racing cars on a curtain border is equal to racing imagination! Disciplined wave curtains find themselves a surprising and unlikely companion in the form of colored toy cars at their leading edge. Talking about turning convention on its head this does it with panache and military precision.

Before we sign off, let us tell you that we can make for you curtains of any conceivable decorative style and scheme. The best part is – we suck at playing hide and seek. Huh? We mean you can spot us and connect with us easily! How about you drop us a line on info@tulipsindia.com or call us on 7875555413 to request for free site consultation. 

The ever-evolving curtain trends

As a little girl I remember peeping into our neighbor’s window to get a glimpse of the beautiful things that sat prettily inside. It used to be such a frisson – ducking when I sensed someone was approaching the window or craning my neck when the view would be partially obfuscated by the curtains. Those days!

On one such peering adventure, I saw the woman of the house carefully hand-sewing lace trims on a length of a gorgeous fabric. It must have been a wonderfully meditative activity as the lady didn’t realize that she had a spectator by the window, as deeply engrossed as she was, almost unaware that she risked being discovered by the occupants of the house.

My eyes were busy tracing the continuous movements of the needle and thread, occasionally narrowing when the lady through her knitted brows and puckered lips trained focus to scrutinize the stitched stretch. It was like watching a movie!

That’s some curtain commitment, isn’t it?

I like everything that goes into making a curtain – the fabric, the style, the add-ons, the tie-backs, and the whole ball of wax! In this blogpost, I’m going to share with you the trends that people are warming up to –

Jewel tones

They are bold, dramatic, spectacular, and luxurious. Emerald green, citrine, fuchsia, turquoise, amethyst, sapphire blue, so on and so forth; the colors possibilities with this trend are exciting and endless. Pick any jewel tone for your window and it will add a 24-carat sparkle to your windows or best make it seem as if you are living in your own bijou ark!

Look at this purple sapphire curtain below, it looks warm and gracious and is paired with a color with which it creates a perfect piquant blend.


04

Or how about these turquoise curtains? It throbs with a beachy vibe and looks magnificent, and what about the embellishment at its border? That fresh water pearl edging decidedly gives it a lavish flair.


05

Clean, disciplined pleats

Think triple pinch pleats, goblet pleats, wave pleats, box pleats, and inverted box pleats. Hand-sewn window treatments incontrovertibly look plush, regimented, pleasantly voluminous, and most importantly – are versatile, which means they can effortlessly echo and adapt to any style your interior is built with – be that contemporary, classical or modern.

Look at these perfectly sculptured goblet pleats – these small chalice-like folds are the most gorgeous things that you can ever have on your curtain heading. Those buttons and ropes give it part nautical and part country flair.


02

Wave pleats’ popularity is on a meteoric rise and it’s not difficult to figure out why – they look dreamy and fall softly into gentle folds. Look at this one below –


DSC_2399

Curtain adornments

When it comes to adding decorative garnishes to your curtains, however clichéd it sounds – the sky is the limit. Tassels, pompoms, decorative buttons, fringes, tassels, coins, Swarovski stones, pearls, frog buttons, rosettes, gimp trims, beads, toy cars, color pencils, the options are dizzying and will rightly set off your curtains!

Look at those frog buttons on the wave pleats! They add that special flourish and instant wow factor to the curtains.


new

Those toy cars as the borders for the curtains were making everyone one of us go ‘aww and ahh’ at the workshop while they were being made. It’s making your inner child turn somersaults, isn’t it?


03

Room-specific curtains

Curtains have come a long way from being one-style-for-all-rooms to utility and requirement specific. We meet many clients in a day and the most perceptible difference that I have spotted is that people are house-proud today. They are involved in every little facet of their home – even the seemingly minutiae details are hashed out and consulted over. But most importantly people know what is en vogue and what is it they want. Years ago, people would use bangles or bracelets to cinch their draperies but you won’t see that anymore. Along with curtains, its accompanying accessories too are thought over – have a look at this coordinated tieback below –


06

Likewise, curtains are specifically crafted in keeping with the mood, feel, and requirement of a space. Curtains in the living room naturally have to be stellar, so stellar they have become – rich embroideries, vibrant hues, flamboyant patterns, and all things beautiful , take a look at this beauty below –

living room curtains greenery

(Image source: Pinterest)

One major change that I have seen in interiors is the way kids’ rooms are designed. While the allure of princesses and superheroes will never quite diminish, parents however, are opting for design schemes that look sophisticated and will evolve as your kids grow.

_RSR1808

This vibrant vignette is composed of all things pretty and nice. A lollipop embroidered blind is flanked by simple, flowy curtains that are edged by color pencils on one side and triangular tassels on the other. The window dressing creates a timeless background which strikes a balance between mature style and child-friendly fun elements.