Salam from Kyrgyzstan!

January 5, 2013

I am finally out from under a cold I’ve had since I arrived, and am feeling very welcomed by Farzana and her family.  Five of her six sisters are visiting for the New Year, her brother and parents live next door and the flat is full of kids and laughter and food and the sound of family happy to be together.

The flat is on the first floor of a nine story apartment building, in an area with 20-30 other large apartment buildings, the last  project in Bishkek of it’s kind before the Soviet collapse.  There are lots of small shops within walking distance where people can buy fresh bread, fruit and veggies (there are more fruit and veggie on the table than I expected!) lamb, liquor, candy, etc.  The town center is a short Mashootka (small bus) ride from here and I find urban life in Kyrgyzstan an odd mix of familiar shapes-the rise of buildings and mess of cars- filled with many new sounds and smells.  Russian is the main language spoken in the city, here at home they speak a combination of Russian and Kyrgyz, and often in the villages it is all Kyrgyz.

Farzana is well known for her silk and wool scarves and with the upcoming Dallas and Sante Fe Folk Art Markets she is in full swing. The workshop is on the sixth floor of another apartment building in this district, a short walk from the flat, and it is here that I have begun learning her process.  Shashba, shashba she says to me- don’t hurry!  So, slowly, I apply myself to laying out white wool roving in two very thin but even layers.  We are making  pre-felt for the designs she then cuts out and applies to the silk.  Tuz, she says- graceful, elegant, straight and even.   Once I get good at this I will try my hand at the next step . . .

Wish me luck!

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Hollie January 7, 2013 at 10:13 am

Best of Luck Mary!!! Glad you are feeling better. I have caught a bug myself just a day ago. Sounds like you are learning a lot already.. Just imagine all you know in three months time!! Enjoy the experience.. I know you will!!


Ed Schmidt January 17, 2013 at 12:04 pm

Hi Mary,
I just talked to your dad (long overdue) and he filled me in on what’s happening with you. Whatta, sucha adventure! How wonderful that you are able to follow your passion. You go girl!

Ed Schmidt


Kitty January 20, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I’m pleased for you & proud of you. I have images of squirrels scurrying from tsk to task but get the message of slow & sure.


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