“Tying a Cloud”:  Ikat Weaving with Aziz Murtazaev

“Tying a Cloud”: Ikat Weaving with Aziz Murtazaev

October 06, 2022

This week, we’re visiting the Central Asian silk ikat weaving center in Margilan, Uzbekistan. Unless he is away tending to one of his myriad projects around the country, we’ll be visiting the ikat weaving studios of Aziz Murtazaev, founder of the Crafts Studio IkatUz cooperative. Like Munira Akilova of Tajikistan, Aziz is a modern renaissance man and wears many hats in the craft world of Uzbekistan and beyond. “Ikat” is an Indonesian word meaning “bind.” Modern textile experts around the wor...

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Who am I meeting in the ‘Stans?

Who am I meeting in the ‘Stans?

September 29, 2022

Yes, I’m finally back here in Central Asia! I’m not absolutely positive, but I’m pretty sure that I started talking about the idea of leading a tour way back in 2018.I know that I was displaying a Tour flyer at an event in the fall of 2019. But the pandemic intervened, so it feels like a miracle that we’re finally here on the ground in the heart of the ancient Silk Road. 

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What the heck IS “fair trade”?

What the heck IS “fair trade”?

September 22, 2022

Since 2017, HoonArts has been a proud member of the Fair Trade Federation. After we were officially accepted as members of the FTF following a year-long application and verification process, we changed our legal business name is “HoonArts Fair Trade, LLC” to emphasize our official fair trade status. But what is "fair trade" and why does it matter? The Fair Trade Federation (FTF) is a community of verified North American businesses that are dedicated to the principles of fair

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The Time-Traveling Spoons

The Time-Traveling Spoons

September 14, 2022

Who knew a simple wooden spoon could be the magical door to travel through time and space?! Just about a year ago, Nadeem Ahmad reached out to HoonArts through our website contact form, inquiring about the possibility of finding artists in Tajikistan who could reproduce various implements found in archeological sites in northern Tajikistan. (Remember our Egyptian combs story?) Some of the requests didn’t work out. But Master Sodiq Zaripov, our fifth-generation woodcarver based in the ancien...

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Frolicking in Uzbekistan

Frolicking in Uzbekistan

September 09, 2022

Finally, after three long years of planning around a pandemic and a constantly changing world, we're almost on our way to the Silk Road 'Stans of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan! I leave Albuquerque on September 19, pick up a couple of traveling friends in Los Angeles and meet the rest of our 3 'Stans Craft & Textile Tour participants in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on September 25. 

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Fireworks on black background with text caption in white reading

Happy Independence Day!

September 01, 2022

Thirty-one years ago, in late August and early September 1991, the former Soviet Republics of Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan declared their independence from the Soviet Union. Since that time, the citizens of these three ‘Stans have been building their countries and their national identities as independent nations in the modern world.

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Handcrafting a World of Difference: the Podcast Version.

Handcrafting a World of Difference: the Podcast Version.

August 25, 2022

I was recently interviewed on Minding Your Business, a local podcast and radio show about the steps and stories of entrepreneurs building New Mexico’s businesses. The hosts of the show, Margarita Guarin and Neema Pickett from WESST (an Albuquerque-based entrepreneurial support organization), interview the owners of our state’s diverse businesses so that listeners can be inspired, discover new things, and envision business through a new lens.

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Why I Jumped Off a Cliff and Became a First-time Entrepreneur at 58

Why I Jumped Off a Cliff and Became a First-time Entrepreneur at 58

August 18, 2022

Almost 8 years ago, in October 2014, I was a retired lawyer with no entrepreneurial aspirations. I spent my much loved free time volunteering for a local Albuquerque nonprofit that hosts visiting professionals from around the world.  At the farewell party we hosted in my home for a group from Tajikistan, the visitors were making their farewell speeches and giving us gifts of local handicrafts. I had learned during their visit that NO ONE in the US was working to build a market for Tajik prod...

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Ethical Shopping in a World Saturated with Misinformation

Ethical Shopping in a World Saturated with Misinformation

August 11, 2022

7 Simple Questions to Cut Through the "Conscious Shopping" Hype Looking for something unique, beautiful, and handmade? But how do you know if it's really "ethically sourced" ? "Ethical" "Sustainable" "Fair Trade" "Greenwashing" "Who Made My Clothes" What does “ethical” or “sustainable” mean in today’s world of global supply chains, massive online shopping platforms, and multinational corporations?  The reality is that “ethical fashion” is a constantly shifting BALANCE that respects ...

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The Epic of Manas: Soul of the Kyrgyz

The Epic of Manas: Soul of the Kyrgyz

August 04, 2022

We all have stories. Some are stories of everyday life. Others are heroic and tragic stories of people and groups that define our identity. One of the challenges we face as Americans today is that we don't have an agreed collective story of identity. Instead, we have multiple stories of individuals and groups that often seem to contradict each other. Many of these stories are only now emerging into the national spotlight, to be seen perhaps for the first time, acknowledged, and ultimately in...

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Who’s Story is it Anyway?

Who’s Story is it Anyway?

July 28, 2022

My family was gathered around the dinner table recently, all telling stories about what we’d done since the last time we gathered. And that led naturally to stories of past adventures. I began a story about one of my experiences from long  ago. Suddenly someone else jumped in, took up the tale, and delivered my punchline about what happened to me. Clearly, some family members had heard my story before. (I guess we all have our favorite stories, don’t we?) But I found it surprisingly annoying...

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People & Planet & Supply Chains, Oh My!

People & Planet & Supply Chains, Oh My!

July 23, 2022

However, one thing you can count on is that each new link in the chain takes its cut of the final price. That's how you end up with a product that the maker sells for $5 (of which only $1 or $2 goes to the factory workers) that ends up costing a US consumer $75.

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