Handmade suzani textiles from Asia bring history into our homes.
I first noticed Suzani textiles in magazines three years ago, and purchased a pair of pillow covers on eBay. A month later they arrived wrapped in handmade brown paper. The rolled customs form traveled safely tucked under twine held by a brown wax seal nearly 7,000 miles to reach my doorstep. Intrigued, I was hesitant to open, but my design gene couldn’t wait to see the handwork inside.
Suzanis are colorful embroideries from Uzbekistan. When a daughter is born, it is tradition for the women in the family and their friends to begin working on her wedding dowry. Exquisite pieces are created for various functions – bridal bed cover, room dividers, prayer rugs, saddlecloths and wrapping cloths, to name a few. These textiles are genuine folk art stitched by hand using buttonhole, chain and satin stitching and time consuming couching. Design motifs include symbols from nature; flowers for faithfulness and love, fruit for fertility and trees for life on earth. Organic leaves frequently border the edges of an entire design and the use of natural dyes brings forth magnificent colors.
Modern Uzbek women are producing Suzani needlework to boost family income and, fortunately for us, they are available at reasonable prices online. These gorgeous textiles bring color and texture to our homes making delightful wall hangings, bedspreads, throws, pillows and tablecloths. Each time I see my pillow covers I can’t help but wonder about the women who stitched them, the stories they could share and be reminded how much smaller the world has become.
To see more of my home, take an Alabama Stone Cottage tour.
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