Tashkent, Uzbekistan is the home of weaver Madina Kasimbaeva, who runs a workshop that produces some of the most finely crafted textiles in the area. She provides employment for over 150 artisans, the vast majority of whom are female.
Kasimbaeva strives to use the finest materials available. For her, this means creating garments and home goods with hand-made cotton and silk fabric, embroidered with high quality silk threads she purchases from local purveyors in Tashkent and surrounding areas. The dying of these threads is a crucial aspect of the process. Green hues are obtained from nutshells, yellow comes from saffron or onion peel, and blue shades from indigo. After dying, threads are boiled with quartz and salt to lock in their colors. Next, they are ready to be sewn into beguiling textiles inspired by both ancient and contemporary design.
For centuries, Tashkent textiles have been revered for their meticulously arranged design and also for their exceptional durability. In addition to colorful yet effortlessly wearable garments and accessories like coats, shoes, and boots, Kasimbaeva and her team of artisans produce traditional suzanis, as well as functional goods like bed coverings, tablecloths, and cushion covers.
Of her suzanis—embroidered textiles which serve decorative and functional purposes—Kasimbaeva is especially proud. “I was one of the first to start reviving this tradition, through which I created over 100 jobs,” explains the UNESCO Award-winning artist. “I am committed to continue this work and make it as popular as it was centuries ago.”