The beginnings of embroidery can trace its origins back to Cro-Magnon man embellishing his clothing with beads, as evidenced by findings from an archeological dig in 1964 near Russia.
Yet it wasn’t until 3500 B.C. that the practice of thread embroidery began in China. The connection between past and present embroidery is visible in surviving pieces from the Zhou Dynasty, which display foundational stiches that are still used by modern embroiderers.
Suzani is another link to time-honored embroidery art from Central Asia. This beautiful craft employs both traditional and modern embroidery techniques to create contemporary pieces of art that are gracing modern interiors all over the globe today.
Although the word Suzani essentially means “needlework”, it has become synonymous with the colorful and intricately-embroidered decorative textiles stitched by talented women in Uzbek communities.
Hundreds of years ago, women in these communities would embroider stylish designs to create vivid tribal textiles as table covers, prayer mats, bedding, decorative wall hangings, and their daughter’s dowries.
Women continue to be the creators of these magnificent textiles. Honoring traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation, the unique workings of these folk artisans have been recognized worldwide by collectors, iconic fashion designers, and the most discriminating interior decorators.
A Tradition Of Design And Color
For eclectic and Bohemian interiors you need to have at least one carefully selected Suzani embroidered wall decorations crafted with traditional designs, methods and materials.
The form the base textile, fabric is hand-woven into strips, usually with cotton/silk blend. These strips are basted together, and the design drawn on. This base fabric is lightly tinted a soft tan or other light color – called “tea washing”. To follow the traditional method of creating wall decorations and larger Suzani projects, the strips are separated again, and dispersed among different family members to work independently, before stitching them back together.
Silk or cotton threads are expertly sewn in a variety of elaborate stitches onto the foundational fabric that yield a masterful display of detail, texture, and dimension. Popular motifs from the 1900s have been revived in modern works, with floral designs being dominant. Suzani embroideries include blossoms of all varieties (particularly tulips), vines, plants, pomegranates and other fruit, suns, moons, rosettes, medallions, birds, fish and more.
Rich color is another hallmark of Suzani embroidered wall decorations, featuring vibrant reds, bright yellows, lush blues, and deep greens.
Suzani In Modern Interiors
While Suzani embroidered wall coverings are a natural in bohemian home décor, they can just as easily work in other interiors as well – adding dimension, color, and bold graphic style.