Tag Archives: rishtan

Alisher Nazirov (Master Ceramist from Rishtan)

Alisher Nazirov

Alisher Nazirov is one of Uzbekistan’s most famous ceramists. He works from his studio-cum-workshop in Rishtan, a small town in the verdant Fergana valley, which is virtually an open air museum and visited by ceramic lovers from the world over.

Born in 1958, Alisher began working with ceramics at the tender age of 12, under the tutelage of several ustos or master craftsmen. He learnt to extract the secret ishkor glaze and supplemented his understanding with studies of archaeological finds. It has been his endeavour to restore traditional forms and patterns of Rishtan ceramics while giving free hand to innovation, the hallmark of creativity.

Today, Alisher has a well-recognised style, compositionally rich yet elegant and harmonious. His painting is inspired by direct observations from nature, and this is amply showcased in his designs which depict flowers, branches, trees and pitchers, among other things. His skillful compositions beautifully emphasize the shape of the objects he …

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Rustam Usmanov (Master Ceramist from Rishtan)

Rustam Usmanov

Rustam Usmanov’s art amply reflects the culture of the Fergana valley and the rich ceramic making heritage of Rishtan town, the oldest centre of ceramic art in Central Asia.

The Usmanov family migrated from Russia to Rishtan to add to Rishtan’s rich tradition of pottery. With Rishtan being situated on the Silk Road, the ancient major East-West trade route, it is thought that Rishtan potters may originally have tried to copy Chinese porcelain, despite the necessary kaolin clay not being locally available. This led them to the discovery of the local Rishtan clay, which more than made up for the absence of the kaolin clay. The Rishtan ceramists say their clay is so good that it does not require preliminary processing and exposure time. Adding to the beauty of the Rishtan ceramics is the ishkor glaze which gives Rishtan pottery its brilliant blue-green glaze, bringing alive the colors of the earth and …

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Fergana Valley: Ceramic, Ikat and Shavla

Rustam Usmanov and his wife

I travelled to Rishtan to see the ceramists who did the platters for me last year. It was bitterly cold and Rustam and his wife were very gracious, kept us warm (don’t miss their gorgeous home slippers!) and well fed while we worked on my order. The shavla – porridge version of plov – we had for lunch was delicious and Zahid and I tucked in. We couldn’t say no when Alisher invited us to lunch later so had to eat again! Tough job this!! I am amazed by how much time and effort Rustam and Alisher make for me. They are world renowned ceramists who earn very well doing exhibitions in the US, Europe and Japan and my orders pale in comparison.

The discussion at lunch moved to the size of the Indian market and the buying power of the middle class, all quite surprising to them and Alisher in …

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Strange things happen sometimes…

RainTree Carpets

On the 3rd day of the exhibition I didn’t get a chance to answer my phone and when I did check there were 9 missed calls! Oh no – someone was lost and I was going to need to get them to Raintree. Nothing could be worse. I have difficulty with spatial awareness, the kind that means if I have to drive anywhere my husband draws me a simple map which I have to turn in the direction of travel in order to read. (Like from London to the Mars office in Waltham in the UK –  for those who don’t know it’s straight up one road!) When I did return the call, I spoke to someone who was visiting from abroad and who had heard about us having ‘unusual things’ through an acquaintance. He came, he saw, he bought. Three gorgeous carpets – an Iranian Gabbeh, a northwest Persian …

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Day 3: Fergana to Rishton

Rishton Master Ceramist

Rishton is the home to the craft of ceramics. An hour’s drive from Fergana, it’s a rather well-to-do town on the Tajik border. Ceramics made in this town find their way to all other cities in Uzbekistan. There are an estimated 300 practicing ceramists in Rishton. The red clay in this region forms the base for the stunning ceramic platters, pots and other decorative objects.

We spent the day with two master ceramists in their studios. After the initial “what-are-these-two-girls-doing-here?” look on their faces (the standard response we get everywhere), they warmed up and took us through their workshops, their firing kilns and even their private museums. They fed us well (delicious pumpkin samosas, dried apricots, fresh bread, copious amounts of tea and coffee). All artisans we’ve met so far were incredibly nice, warm people with no hint of arrogance. They love their craft and they shared every bit of …

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  • Welcome to Arastan

    Arastan was an online store that curated rare and handpicked treasures from exotic bazaars along the ancient silk route. Unfortunately we ceased trading in early 2014.

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