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Hand/Eye Magazine visits the small city of Rishtan in the Fergana Valley of Uzbekistan. Known for their ceramics, the city is home to over 2000 potters (approximately a tenth of the total population) who use the local clay and a traditional blue-green glaze called iskor.
From Clare Brett Smith for Hand/Eye Magazine:
The brilliance of Rishtan blue comes from a wild plant whose small branches are picked in autumn and burned to ash to provide the main ingredient of the blue glaze. During Soviet Time, the factory used commercial lead glazes and the local recipes were nearly lost, but older local master potters remembered and in the 1990s revived the techniques. Now lead-free and fired at a higher temperature than most earthenware, Rishtan ceramics are both delicate and sturdy.
The Hand/Eye piece visits the home and studio of master potter Rustam Usmanov (whose work is pictured here). He makes used of traditional production methods but spends more time developing and inventing new patterns and techniques.
For more information about Rishtan Blue and Usmanov’s success at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market see Bowled Over | Hand/Eye Magazine.