“Tied cloud"- the secrets of the craft
"The effort has seemed useless to you?
Blind man, stand back...
The magic of skilled hands created masterpieces, isn't it?
But trust me, good luck and bad luck both created them...
A beautiful dance is born from the ability to dance."
Antuan de Saint Exupery
How else if not with the true phrases of the great writer could begin to tell of the skill and immense labour that keeps the manufacturing process of fabrics in the technique of "ikat". How much is hidden behind the scenes....... the struggle for quality, renewed technology, countless stages and much more. First, a bit about our guide to the world "Uzbek fabrics".
Aziz is 34 years old. The education received in the field of Philology, could not foresee that once a young person will become an expert in that distant at that moment for him "original manufacture of fabrics". It all started when young man got a job as a marketing manager in well-known factory "Yodgorlik" in the Fergana valley which produced various kinds of fabrics . The increase of sales of fabric was not the only duty of the young man. The factory was popular among foreign visitors and the local population. Very often Aziz had to conduct tours for interested delegations and potential customers. A lot of time Aziz spent with the masters, learning the secrets of each stage. Every day learning new, in force of his obligations, a young man, more was given to the new case.
But the final initiation into the award of "experts in the manufacture of fabrics" Aziz received, starting in 2009 the cooperation with a hereditary weaver Rasul Mirzaahmedov. Master Rasul and his family were pioneers in many senses of the word. This family of masters belongs to the revival of the once forgotten technique of making the silk velvet in the technique of ikat - "Alo-bahmal". The work of Rasul Mirzaahmedov attracted designers of high fashion. And he was the first who, in collaboration with award-winning designer Oscar de La Renta presented a fabric "ikat" to the fashion world. And that was just the beginning. Rasul Mirzaahmedov and Aziz Murtazaev continue their collaboration to this day. Depth knowledge in the new work allows Aziz to control the entire process of weaving fabrics and have spread around the world.
In order to tell to the reader what we could find out about the secrets of Uzbek fabrics further we publishe an interview with Aziz Murtazayev.
- Trading in Uzbek fabrics is known since the days of the Silk Road, but exactly when and how did this craft appeared on our land we know little. There is a version that once immigrants of Iranian origin from Merv brought this technology to our land. Or maybe it came from Chine? Do you know anything about the historical facts of the origin of the technique of "ikat" in Uzbekistan?
A. M. – Let's start with the fact that the owners of this technique is also India, Japan, China and Iran including. Now let's look at the difference between one seemingly technology in different nations. The technique of "ikat" in Uzbekistan differs from all the other complexity of construction of the pattern, the method of staining and a wide range of colors. If there was some kind of historical relationship with a school, its echoes would be preserved even now. But what do we see? The patterns created by Uzbek masters are the motifs of the surrounding flora and fauna.For example Indian patterns are more geometric shape.Concerning the version of Iranian immigrants I do not think that the formation of the Uzbek school - it is their merit. Why now in Iran, this industry does not develop at a competitive level. I visited these countries, studied their schools and believe me, I know what I am speaking about. At the same time I'm not going to deny that someone's experience in this craft has served us as a factor of development. But only factor. Because the Uzbek school is unique and developed through trial and error, hitting all the cones, creating its secrets.
- Uzbek fabric with pattern in the world called "ikat". The word itself, as we know, comes from the Indonesian technique of weaving. How is called the technique of creating pattern on fabrics in Uzbekistan?
A. M. - The technique of "ikat" in Uzbekistan is called "abrband". In Persian "Abr" is “cloud”, "band" means “to tie”. Name of technique fully reflects its essence.
- Over the last few years the Uzbek fabric became popular. But the name of fabrics are often mistake even by the designers. Let's see, in terms. For example, the well-known adras. Is it true that the word "adras" means a combination of cotton and silk? If so, in that case would be incorrect cotton fabric with abr pattern called adras, isn't it?
A. M. - You are absolutely right. Adras is when for filling used cotton, silk for basis and weave technique – a two-pedal. The combination of cotton and silk makes adras. But percentage combination of threads may be different. For example 70% silk and 30 % cotton, or contrary. It depends on the purpose of the fabric. When you need fabric for clothing, here, that the fabric was light and pleasant for the body must use 70% silk and 30% cotton. The use of fabrics in the interior implies 40% silk and 60% cotton. The fabric is heavier, and is required for use in the field. With regard to cotton fabric "ikat" is not adras. To manufacture cotton fabric we started in 2010 and it got the name "boz", the Russian analogue of the word "calico". Thus the most appropriate name for this fabric will “boz” in ikat technique.
- Can you explain please contents of fabric "shoi", "bekasam" and "bakhmal"?
A. M. – “Bekasam” is striped fabric. Components can be different. For example: viscose with cotton or silk with cotton. But in the Soviet time "bekasam" was woven of cotton and polyamide (synthetic fibre with high resistance to external environment) fibers.
- Speaking of "bekasam". If I'm not mistaken, it is very similar to fabric "banoras"?
M. A. - Yes you can say so. Visually they are very similar. But in the production of "banoras" is primarily used cotton. And fabric used mainly for light Chapans. I wish to name a couple of fabrics similar to the above. The first is "alacha". It is also a characteristic striped pattern. But it has a regional affiliation and is used primarily in Khorezm. Even now, visiting Khorezm you can see the chapans from alacha worn lead singers of vocal or dance groups. The second is a fabric "partacha" with striped pattern. In earlier times, the fabric used for bathrobes and sewing of the paranja among women of middle and lower middle class. Now let's discuss the names of the fabrics you mentioned. "Bakhmal" is the velvet. The weft in the manufacture of "bakhmal" are cotton yarn, and the basis is silk. Complicated technique of “bakhmal” manufacturing differs from all the others. And of course "shoi" is 100% silk. You can feel it, barely touching the fabric. It is light and smooth.
-Now that we have defined basic concepts, let's go directly to the technique. Despite the complexity of the manufacturing process of fabrics, however briefly tell us about it.
A. M. – The manufacture of fabric begins with the farmers. In the month of April they collect grens (eggs) of silkworm. Sorted in an amount of about 20 g. in little boxes, they deliver them into the hands of those who will be breed the caterpillars. The next phase begins caring for caterpillars. For their maintenance complied with the special thermal conditions of 20 to 25°C. Feed their need to be recognized as the best "catepillar’s restaurant." This should be the first leaves of the mulberry tree and disrupted until the first rain. The caterpillar lives about 40 days. By mid may it begins to wrap itself in silk thread. When the winding is completed and the caterpillar becomes dormant, you must kill her. It is very important not to allow the release of butterflies out, otherwise cocoon will be spoiled. Caterpillars are being killed, usually with the help of hot steam. Then shifting silk sarcophagus in the boiler with hot water, using mechanical machines find the ends of the threads, with which you can start to unwind the entire cocoon. Then, depending on the need and what fabric will be knitted is formed by the thread thickness. Each thread has its own numbering. For example, to work in technology "abrband" a required three-ply thread No. 310 or No. 429.
This is the stage when the thickness of the yarn is formed, it is bought by the master weaver. Buying thread, he gives it to the purification of sericin (liquid of caterpillar, gluing the cocoon). The thread is then bleached and rewinding on the coil. After this thread falls into the hands of the master "davrakat", which puts the required length and number of threads on the machine called "davra" for weaving a tissue size. Threads are fixed by bunchs (libitum). Each libitum has 15 to 40 pieces of yarn. Therefore, davrakat must install from 2000 to 4000 threads or 100 libits. After his stage, davrakat passes stretched to a length of thread to another master to begin a process called "kat" - layer. The task of the master "katchi" is to form from the length of yarn required number of layers for weaving.
After all the preliminary stages of the preparation of the threads are completed it is time for "chizmachi"- the artist. It should be emphasized how important task he has. He can't draw what he wants as the other artists. Here we need accurate calculation of placement pattern from a certain length and width of fabrics. At this stage, "chizmachi" together with the main master determines the color scheme of the fabric.
- A well-known fact that in former times the representatives of the "chizmachi" were only men. So whether strictly this tradition is observed to this day?
A. M. - From the end of 19th - beginning of 20th century painting began to be engaged not only men but also women. These days it does not matter. Important abilities and talent.
- Colors of Uzbek fabrics defies the imagination. How does the coloring passe?
M. A. - Most importantly in the national approach of dyeing fabrics is phasing. Dyeing begins with the lightest colors. For example, there are three colors yellow, red and black in fabric. Let's start with yellow, then red, then black at the end.
The painted area must first be washed. Wash need after each color. This is one of the factors that in the future depends on whether the shedding of the fabric. And then tie it, thereby protecting against the ingress of paint during the painting other colors of the other portions of the fabric. Since ancient times, the painted sections were tightly tied cotton threads. But the process was more costly and laborious. Today for banding we use tape and special machines to speed up the process. If the banding process was done manually as in the old days, only this step would take at least three days. After all when one color is painted and tied. We are opening another bound, but not yet painted area and the painted in the same manner. This procedure is done with each color.
-What natural dyes are the primary colors? And does it matter if the fabric dyed with natural dyes or artificial?
A. M. Among the natural classic dyes are pomegranate peel, peel of onions (yellow), madder (bright red), indigo (blue / purple), cochineal(red), and others. The skillful combination of these dyes can be many different colors. For example, to get green, we combine the peel of onions and indigo. And so it turned brown, we have to mix indigo and madder. I must admit that the trending colors more
difficult to create with natural dyes. Here it is permissible to use chemical dyes of high quality. I would like to emphasize that it is the high quality chemical dyes will not be harmful to humans.
- Is such a fabric that has been properly painted it will cost more and will not be shedding?
A. M. - I can't be assigned for the fact that all fabrics manufactured by us will not be shedding. This is manual labor and consequently the human factor. But we make every effort to achieve the highest quality fabrics.
- What kind of cleaning do you recommend for all fabrics in the technique of "abrband" (ikat)?
M. A. – Hand wash in cool water (30 °C) or dry cleaning.
- And now, the most important question for buyers are there any tricks through which you can distinguish a good fabric from a bad one?
A. M.- Unfortunately this question is not easy to navigate. The fabric in which more silk, for the manufacture of which uses expensive dyes it is more expensive. Of course is not the most reliable criterion. Therefore, we can also draw attention to the complexity of the pattern and color scheme. Complex fabric make a little, a maximum of 200 meters. The fabric, which spent less money and effort to produce up to 400 meters.
Here's a conversation we have with a guru of his craft, an expert Aziz Murtazaev. Despite the fact that in the conversation we didn’t touch all of our questions, we are glad that we were able to learn a lot. In the end, Aziz added: "We are not looking for every buyer who wants to buy the national fabric. Our customer is anyone who wants to understand the quality, the aesthete and connoisseur. And that is buying fabric in the technique of "abrband" is to be biased."