Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Uzbek Alive

UzbekAlive was created by a small group of enthusiasts as a channel for promotion of work of Uzbek artists and designers. After several years of contemplating, in 2002 we finally put our efforts together and launched this website. In years of running UzbekAlive we learnt several things, the major one of them being – we do have something unique and beautiful to offer to the world. In fact, we have become known as a place to shop for unique gifts.

Everything on this website was made in Uzbekistan with tremendous amount of care. We work directly with artists, who live in Uzbekistan and are the most talented artists and designers in their fields. The money generated through sales on UzbekAlive is used to support these artists and designers who otherwise would be struggling making a living doing what they love in a today's unstable economy of Uzbekistan, where people are more concerned about meeting basic needs, not about keeping Uzbek art Alive.

Our ikats were hand dyed and handloom woven in Fergana Valley of Uzbekistan using a centuries old technique of ikat weaving. The technique requires a precision in tying and wrapping silk threads before dying in order to create a desired pattern.

Uzbekistan was once a major branch of the ancient Silk Road. As caravans traveled between East and West they facilitated exchange of cultures, religions and skills. Certain imperfections in dying and weaving are inherent to the manual process of ikat making and should not be considered as defects. Dry cleaning is recommended for silk scarves. Hand wash in cold water is recommended for cotton/silk blend fabrics.

In addition to scarves and fabrics, we also feature works of lacquer ornamental jewelry and decorative boxes, hair barrettes and pins.

Our sales operations are now based in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, where we already have the products listed on this website. We carry a limited number of units of each product at a time and, as everything that is hand made, the patterns and designs will be very similar, but never absolutely identical.

Everything here is fair-traded – there was no child labor involved in the production of any item we sell; artists would not have sold us anything unless we paid a fair price.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

SRI Threads: Vintage Japanese and Indian Textiles

Sri is a textile gallery specializing in antique Japanese folk textiles, highlighting the indigo-dyed cotton utilitarian fabrics and boro--or patched and mended--textiles of old Japan. We also carry a wonderful selection of textiles from India.

We are located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York and we are open by appointment.

Please visit our BLOG, Sri Threads, for our commentary on the world of Japanese folk textiles and for photographs of our New York home.

If you would like to visit us, please do not hesitate to e mail or call us; we would love to meet you.

As well, if you are searching for a specific type of textile not listed on our site, feel free to contact us with your request. Our showroom inventory is larger and more diverse than we can list on this site, and we would be happy to speak to you about your interest and how we might help you find the textile you are looking for.

For a glimpse of individual pieces from our collection of specialized texiles, visit out gallery at asianart.com

And for a view into Sri's showroom, have a look at our online gallery where we have posted a few photos of our Brooklyn home.

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Faith Ringgold: Art Prints

Faith Ringgold paved the way for many art quilters with her story quilts. See my article in Fiber Focus for more background information on her path.

These are art prints of her work available on Amazon. Please click on the links below the images. The prints are available in many different sizes and price points.

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Book: Faith Ringgold, Art Quilter

Faith Ringgold paved the way for many art quilters with her story quilts. See my article in Fiber Focus for more background information on her path.

Click on the links below the images to go to Amazon:

Talking to Faith Ringgold

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Video: Faith Ringgold, Art Quilter

Faith Ringgold paved the way for many art quilters with her story quilts. See my article in Fiber Focus for more background information on her path.

The first two videos are quickies. The third is about an hour and 45 minutes long. It's a slide presentation where Faith talks about her work and at the end there is a question and answer period. Worth watching or listening to if you are interested in her work.


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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Video: Talavera Clay from Mexico

Excellent footage of talavera production. Shows clay thrown on a wheel, molds, presses, and decoration. No commentary, just hyper Irish music. (Huh?)

View into and tour of a Talavera workshop in Puebla. Narrated in Spanish.

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Novica: "Golden Harvest" Talavera from Mexico

NOVICA Ceramic tumblers, 'Golden Harvest' (set of 4)

Ceramic coffee mug set, 'Golden Harvest'

NOVICA, in association with National Geographic, offers thousands of limited edition and one-of-a-kind gifts, jewelry, and home decor treasures handmade by master artists and artisans throughout the world. Golden flowers adorn these delightful candleholders by Jorge Quevedo. Crafted by hand, relief motifs add to their fascination, while the deep cobalt is inspired by Mexico's traditional Talavera pottery.

Artisan Info:
"Hello, my name is Jorge Quevedo. The region where I was born and raised is renowned for its majolica ceramics. Although my family worked in other fields, I was fascinated by ceramics and, while still in high school, I took a job in a pottery workshop. There I learned the techniques and processes. After several years, I wanted to set up my own ceramics studio, and I saved up until I was finally able. It started out small, but little by little, my workshop grew. We always found lead to be a problem. After researching and experimenting, I came to master the technique using white clay instead of those commonly used in the region. I also work with lead-free glazes so as to meet the expectations of today's shoppers. The process begins by mixing the powdered clay with water to achieve a smooth, uniform paste. We shape it in molds or on the potter's wheel and let it dry thoroughly. We then smooth the fragile pieces and fire them at 800C [1,472F] for six hours to become cajete (bisque or biscuit). "

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Novica: Talavera Pottery

Talavera ceramic jar, 'Colonial Kitchen'

Product Features:

  • Handmade by Alonso Luis
  • Ships from Mexico within 7 days
  • Free of lead and toxins
  • Hand wash only
  • Microwave safe
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 12 inches ; 3.5 pounds

NOVICA, in association with National Geographic, offers thousands of limited edition and one-of-a-kind gifts, jewelry, and home decor treasures handmade by master artists and artisans throughout the world.

Flowers center motifs reminiscent of majolica tiles on each of eight long panels. Combining blue and yellow on smooth white ceramic, Alonso Luis creates a beautiful jar and lid. Its style is representative of Puebla's renowned Talavera pottery. Perfect for candy or cookies, it makes a stunning showpiece anywhere in the home.

Artisan Info:

"Hello, my name is Alonso Luis. I come from Puebla and create the traditional majolica ceramics in the Talavera style. I began this work in 1989 because of the excitement I felt when crafting such ceramics traditional, yet free of lead. Our work is completely carried out in the traditional way, the way its been done here for hundreds of years. The clay is acquired raw. It is a virgin material that comes directly from mines called barriales and has not undergone any kind of industrial alteration. We try to make a good selection from the best types of clay, since it is the first factor that decides the quality of our products."

'Lupita,' vase

Product Features:

  • Handmade by Castillo Family
  • Ships from Mexico within 7 days
  • Watertight
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 14 inches ; 4.6 pounds

A rustic work infused with modern sentiment, this vase by the Castillo Family flourishes with verdant charm. The design reflects the beauty of Guanajuato's Talavera ceramics, each detail rendered with botanical simplicity. Makes a noteworthy statement in an elegant decor. The work of the Castillo Family represents part of the cultural and historical values of the state of Guanajuato, where they elaborate their treasured craft. Each piece is a laborious affair between the artisan and carefully selected clay, ensuring quality rather than quantity. Once the desired shape is achieved, the surface is prepared in a mineral glaze and fired in a brick kiln. Patience and artistic virtue results in a captivating rendition of Talavera ceramics. Watertight.

Artisan Info:

The Castillo family's artistry has been featured in periodicals ranging from Sunset magazine to The Cincinnati Inquirer. The Castillo family has many years of experience hand-crafting Talavera-style ceramics in Guanajuato, Mexico. Their workshop seeks to rescue this traditional, world-renowned ceramic style. Although true Talavera ceramics are made only in the city of Puebla, the techniques are also practiced by artisans in Guanajuato.

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Novica: Bougarabou Drum, 'Collar'

NOVICA, in association with National Geographic, offers thousands of limited edition and one-of-a-kind gifts, jewelry, and home decor treasures handmade by master artists and artisans throughout the world.

The name of this drum, Bougarabou, is onomatopoeia for the captivating rhythm it produces. Artisans of Bomukasa Limited present the instrument, its resonant body crafted from the natural luxury of tweneboa wood. A simple collar on the base provides visual contrast, as well as enhancing the overall tone. The drum features a goatskin-striking surface, held firm by iron rod rings wrapped in cotton cloth to prevent rusting. Nylon ropes securely fasten the rings, the sturdy design enhancing the overall visual allure. Lends a rustic musical accent to any setting. Finished in mansion polish.

Artisan Info:
The drums of Louis K. Botchway and Bomukasa have been featured in Pool Spa Living magazine. Bomukasa began as a sole proprietorship, started in 1980 by Louis Kojo Botchway. The name Bomukasa came into being in 1982, when Louis Kojo Botchway brought some artistic wood carvers and performing artists together to work and to train young people interested in the field. In the Akan language, Bomukasa literally means "together to discuss," its musical implication suggesting the discussion of sound. According to Botchway, the beginning was not easy. A talented artist, he completed a course in wood carving in 1979, and also studied graphic arts.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Modern Artisans: Slate Coaster Set - "Kanji"

Kanji Slate Coaster Set

Beautifully etched by hand in natural "coppers mine" slate, the elemental kanji symbols for Fire, Water, Wind and Earth are each represented in this 4-piece coaster set. Handcrafted from all-natural materials in Colorado, the coaster set features cork padding and includes a metal tray, which stores the coasters in an upright position. The brown patina of the tray creates a wonderful color combination with the slate coasters when not in use and adds a natural elegance to any home or office.

Please note: Due to the unpredictable nature of slate, the slate coloring may vary slightly from coaster to coaster, creating a wonderful subtle array of natural hues.

Individual Coaster Size : 3.75" x 3.75"; Total Weight of Set = 2.75 lbs.

Price: $29.99

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Modern Artisans: Buddha Cast Stone Garden Plaque

Buddha Cast-Stone Garden Plaque

The Buddha plaque is an original sculptural work individually reproduced by the artist in cast stone/fine concrete. Sturdy, thick and weather-resistant, the use of cast stone allows this plaque to be used indoors or outdoors. A light verdigris patina finish adds a rich luster and "aged" look to the plaque and emphasizes the depth of the relief. Individually cast, sealed and finished in California; ready to hang.
Product Size : 8.75" high x 6.0" wide x 1.5" deep; Weight = approx 5 lbs

Price: $52.99

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Modern Artisans: Harmony & Tranquility Elliptical Raku Vase

The modern raku technique arises from ancient Japanese methods of exposing clay to rapid low-fire temperature changes. Raku pottery is admired for the range of colors generated by the oxidation when fired - glimmering shades of burnt orange, copper, indigo and maroon.
This raku vase features a striking elliptical shape, perfect for highlighting dried floral arrangements. The kanji symbols for Harmony and Tranquility are depicted on either side, providing a paramount accent on the vase and a marvelous endorsement in any home.

Handcrafted in Kansas, USA.

Please note: One side of the vase features the Harmony Symbol, while the other side features the Tranquility Symbol. Vase is recommended for dried or silk flowers only. Overall Vase Size : 10.0" tall x 9.0" wide x 3-3/8" deep
Opening (rim) size : 5" x 2"

Price: $79.99

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Modern Artisans: Verdi Green Cattails Birdbath

An elegant birdbath to compliment any garden! The cattail pattern is fabricated from heavy 1/4" galvanized steel and welded into a tripod pedestal, allowing the flurry of cattails to be appreciated from all angles. The 38" birdbath pedestal includes your choice of a shallow frosted glass bowl or a deep polished copper bowl. Although it is a true attention-getter as a birdbath, the pedestal and bowl are equally at home indoors or on a patio filled with fruit, candy or floating candles. Handcrafted in North Carolina.

  • It is recommended that the frosted glass bowl be brought indoors during extreme weather or deep-freezing conditions. However, due to the thickness and shallowness of the glass bowl, some occasional light freezing water is OK. The copper bowl will gain a rich green patina with age and may be used in all climates.

  • The steel pedestal is shot-blasted (for a smooth clean surface), flame-treated with zinc, and painted with high quality 2-part epoxy paints, resulting in a weatherproof coating that resists oxidation and is safe for outdoor use in all climates. Natural environmental dirt build-up may be removed with mild soap and warm water.

  • This item ships directly from the artisan's North Carolina studio in 2-3 weeks. Express shipping for this item is not available and shipment must be to a street address (no PO Box) within the continental United States only.
  • Overall Product Size : 38" tall x 19" wide; Weight = approx 26 lbs.
    Glass Bowl Size : 3.4" depth x 19" diameter
    Copper Bowl Size : 4" depth x 19" diameter

    Price: $349.99

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    Modern Artisans: Scrolling Vine Iron Wall Sculpture

    Scrolling Vine Iron Wall Sculpture

    A striking series of scrolling tendrils swirl upon a twining vine. Rising nearly 3 feet tall, this metal wall sculpture is crafted of true wrought iron and powder coated for protection. Includes welded hangers on the rear and is easy to install on most surfaces with four screws (included). Made in New York.

    Price: $109.99

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    Modern Artisans: Recycled Vinyl Records into Trays and Bowls

    Vinyl Record Snack Tray

    Designer Jeff Davis puts a new spin on recycling by rescuing neglected records and creating fascinating works of functional art. His vinyl snack trays are created from actual vintage 12" albums and are perfect for fruit, chips or dry snacks. Individually made in the USA, the shallow tray has the original album label intact and protected with a clear mylar seal.
    Heralded for the fun, creative use of recycled materials, Jeff’s vinyl creations have been featured in numerous museum exhibits and magazines throughout the world. Trays sold separately.

    Available in two genres:
    * Rock Essentials (artists such as The Police, Eric Clapton, YES, Santana)
    * Crooners (artists such as Nat King Cole, Sinatra and Dean Martin).


    Designer Jeff Davis has put a new spin on recycling by rescuing discarded records and creating them into fascinating works of functional art. Yes, these unbelievable bowls are made from actual 12" vintage vinyl records! Perfect for fruit, dry snacks, or upbeat contemporary decoration, these sturdy record bowls have the original label intact and protected with a clear mylar seal.
    Heralded for the creative use of recycled materials, Jeff’s vinyl creations have been featured in numerous museum exhibits and magazines throughout the world. Bowls sold separately. Made in the USA.

    Choose from the following genres:

    * Rock Essentials (Essential artists such as The Eagles, Rolling Stones, Elton John, Janis Joplin, Beach Boys, The Byrds, Bob Segar, YES, Allman Brothers, Elvis, Neil Young, KISS, etc.)

    * Country (Artists such as Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Alabama, Waylon Jennings and Emmy Lou Harris)

    * 70's/80's Pop (Artists such as Wham, Donna Summer, Thompson Twins, Barry White, Madonna, Simple Minds, Eurythmics, Adam & the Ants, Rick James, Culture Club and the Go-Go's)

    * Divas (Artists such as Barbara Streisand, Diana Ross, Aretha Franklin, Judy Garland, Cher and Bette Midler)

    * Crooners (Artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, Tom Jones and Tony Bennett)

    * Jazz (Artists such as Count Basie, Horace Silver Quintet, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock, Cannonball Adderly, Sarah Vaughn and Stan Getz)

    Price: $24.99

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    Modern Artisans: Bird of Paradise Copper Fountain

    Bird of Paradise Cascading Copper Table Top Fountain

    Enjoy the soothing sound of cascading water with a tropical touch! A tier of four copper leaves catch and release the flowing water before reaching the bottom basin, creating a tranquil melody of trickles. Large enameled leaves and bird of paradise blossoms add visual excitement. Handcrafted entirely of copper in Arizona, each fountain is fully assembled and includes a submerged 12 volt quiet pump - just fill with water and plug in! $279.99

    • Copper leaves can be gently bent to achieve the perfect look or to slightly redirect the flow of water.
    • Due to the handcrafted nature of this product, slight variations in the arrangement of leaves will occur.

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    Sari Curtains from India

    From Indian Selections

    Click on the link below the image to see the full listing.

    Daringly eclectic, these colorful curtains are handmade from Indian saris. The fabric has an elegant gold design design. This unique and one of its own kind of panels sources its origin from India . The beautiful design has a uniquely rich color and bottom, and the border is heavy with deep golden work. The panels Will enhance the decor of any room giving it a truly royal look. The borders of the panels have Golden zari work done on them.

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    Wood Carving Wood Spirit Lessons

    A carver shows how to make a face out of cottonwood bark. banjoman15

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    First documentary film about idrija lace

    "This film is a historical overview about tradition of making lace in Idria from first mentionings of making laces by hand until use of Idrija lace in contemporary designing and making in present time." internetstoritve

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    Santa Fe Folk Art Market: Threads Hold a Community Together

    An ancient tradition of lace making by the Xukuru artisans is turned into a free-trade co-op raising these people out of poverty funding healthcare, buying their land on which they live, and reducing poverty.

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    Friday, February 13, 2009

    Mestre Vitalino from O Alto Do Moura, Brazil

    Mestre Vitalino was a ceramic artist in the NorthEastern part of Brazil, a region beleaguered by either droughts or floods, feast or famine, rich in folklore... Vitalino achieved recognition through the figures he created that told the stories of the region. He taught his family how to work the clay and soon the whole neighborhood began copying his figurines. The artists from Alto do Moura are visited by collectors and dealers from around the world. The videos below are in Portuguese and give an idea of the life of these artisans.

    Vitalino's son (he kind of goes on and on...) :

    I, Rachel, had the honor to visit this place in the early 1980's. I met Vitalino's son (he went on and on then, too, but was very nice). There was a woman raging in another room, full of sorrow. I asked him who that was. "Oh. That's my mother. She kind of lost it when my Dad died and never recovered...." The reminder that behind every craft, there truly is a life.

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    Feira de Caruaru, Pernambuco, Brasil

    One of the largest outdoor craft markets in the world, "A Feira de Caruaru", with a song named after it...

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    Brazil: Crocheting with Pop Can Tabs

    Escama Studio combines sustainable design with fair trade principles to create a new breed of alluring fashion accessories.

    Based in San Francisco, Escama Studio works directly with two Brazilian craft cooperatives—Cia do Lacre and As Panteras do Lacre—to design and produce these sleek, modern pieces using traditional crochet techniques and recycled aluminum pull-tabs.

    Here is a video from a fashion show with their apparel:

    And one more:

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    How To: Chinese New Year's Dragon Mask

    From Kiwi Mag, make an eco-friendly dragon mask!


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    How To: Brazilian Carnaval Mask on Kiwi Mag

    How to for a Brazilian Carnaval mask:

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    Damosel's Printer's Blocks

    We specialize in scarce and unique antique letterpress printers blocks, printers dies, and wood type blocks. With an emphasis on graphic cuts as opposed to wood type fonts and other. We are here to answer any questions you may have about our products or our services.

    Photograph galleries will be maintained with unique antique graphic blocks. Whether you are here to just browse or in need an unusual collectors piece, we welcome everyone.

    We have printer's blocks for sale in all price ranges and have provided specific categories for browsing. You may use the search function within the Museum and Store to find items by keyword.

    Approximate measurements are listed in both pica and inches. Items on the gallery pages will be added to the Store section and will be available for purchase. We reserve the right to display the images indefinitely. Please visit our History and Links pages for in-depth information and resources.

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