|Suzani from Shakhrisabz, near Samarkand|
|Detail of a silk-embroidered suzani on brown cotton twill, from Shakhrisabz. Detail shows the three-dimensional effect of the chain-stitching.|
|Detail of a suzani from Samarkand|
|Detail of Susanne’s suzani|
|Short video about chain stitch appliqué technique. Music is Uzbek: “Kosh-Chenar” by Turgun Alimatov.|
I wanted to create something in wool as an hommage to the suzani, but knew that the only real way I could do that was to explore motifs and look for similarities in process. This is a small, knitted experiment. At some point, when my embroidery skills have improved significantly, I’d like to let it grow, and perhaps create a sun disk using some of the same techniques, but this is only a first stab. I used a Danish yarn I’ve only recently discovered: Isager Strik. I knit the small piece at a gauge of about eight and a half stitches to the inch, using a kind of modified intarsia. The central carnation motif I modeled directly on a suzani from Tashkent (Uzbekistan). I applied blanket stitch to outline the carnation, and which seems to me to give it a cartoon-like aspect (which I like!).
|My inspiration: a carnation suzani from Tashkent, detail.|
|Mother & daughter|
Although it is a small swatch—really just a token—my abecedarium’s S is a core piece. I have a long way to go before I can produce anything remotely evocative of the storied suzani. And yet, this particular excursion is another of many demonstrations of the love for textiles my mother has given me, and of greater loves she and I share, as do mothers and daughters all over this planet. So S is really for Susanne and suzani.
|Sun-disc bolim posh, a suzani-like embroidery held over bride & groom during the wedding ceremony|
Notable museum collections:
- Burrell Collection in Glasgow (see Jade Starmore’s knitting design, below, inspired by the Burrell’s fantastic suzani collection)
- Textile Museum, Washington, DC
- DeYoung Museum (San Francisco) digital collection.
- Powerhouse Museum (Sydney, Australia)
- Bukhara Museum
Plethora of suzanis captured by Flickr photographers
For Suzani Collectors
Suzanis in the Interior Design Market
Venetian Red’s blog entry
Knitting & Suzanis
- Kaffe Fassett designed a beaded “Suzani wrap” in Rowan Summer Tweed. Rowan’s Knitting and Crochet number 41, published in Spring of 2007. His design focuses on the sun-disc motif.
- Jade Starmore designed a Suzani vest (also available as a wrap on the Starmores’ Virtual Yarns site), inspired by the wonderful collection of suzanis in the Burrell Collection, Glasgow.
- Marina’s blog entry about her sleeved version of the Suzani vest
- Anahita Gallery
- Daniel Sheehan Photography
- also featured in a National Geographic Story
- Shakhrisyabz (World Heritage Site)
- Samarkand (World Heritage Site)
- The Empire that was Russia: the Prokudin-Gorskii Photographic Record Recreated Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division. See esp. the Emir of Bokhara