Oh Suzani

Recently, I began seeing an interesting trend emerge among designers, the trend? The use of suzani-inspired fabrics as either a wall hanging, a throw pillow or as a duvet cover.

Historically, a suzani was fashioned by women in Uzbekistan. The painstakingly detailed, embroidery work of a suzani was started by an Uzbek woman upon the birth of a daughter. Work on the suzani would continue, with the help of female friends and family, until the daughter was grown and able to marry, at which time the suzani became a part of her dowry.

As the Soviet era ended, and Westerners discovered folk art from Central Asia, the price of antique suzanis skyrocketed. Today, it is fairly easy to find affordable fabrics inspired by suzani designs, but it’s rare and difficult to find an authentic suzani. In fact, I have used suzani-inspired fabrics in my own design work. For example, the throw pillow seen in this photo was a piece I had made for use in a client’s bedroom.

And late last year, while visiting an antique fair in San Francisco, I came across this handcrafted suzani. I was enamored by its beauty and in awe of all the work that went into creating such a beautiful piece of art.

If you are ever fortunate to see an authentic suzani, be sure to study and appreciate the craftsmanship and creativity. And remember that each suzani is unique and inspired by the close-knit bond of the women who created it.

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