Slow Down to Make the Journey Meaningful-Tajikistan Spotlight

by Rikki Quintana January 13, 2022

Trees and Mountains at Nofin Homestay in Fann Mountains of Tajikistan

It’s been a while since you heard from me. As I indicated in my last newsletter in mid-December, I consciously chose to take the rest of the holiday season off to enjoy time with my family. It was a tremendous period of connection and relaxation. I got the chance to enjoy extended time with all three of our children and all five of our grandchildren. I also relished some memorable encounters with nature, including virtual forests of saguaro cactus, blue skies, baby javelinas, baby goats, and baby capybaras. I came back to HoonArts refreshed and ready to start anew. (Although, if I’m frank, I could probably use another two weeks, but that isn’t going to happen right now.)

This time-out from the usual hectic schedule and endless “to-do” lists made a massive difference in my physical and mental wellbeing. I had the opportunity to enjoy the moment-to-moment experience of life and recognize the value in slowing down to enjoy the journey instead of always focusing on what’s next.


Fann Mountains-Nofin Homestay, Seven Lakes Region of Fann Mountains, Tajikistan (Trees and Traditional Outdoor Oven)The tranquility of the Nofin Homestay in the Seven Lakes Region of the Fann Mountains, Tajikistan (Photo I took when I visited in 2015).

When a CALVERT JOURNAL article entitled Embracing slow time in Tajikistan” came up yesterday on a Google alert, it seemed a perfect segue into the new year. With text and photos by two people who grew up in Tajikistan, it beautifully captures a sense of traditional Tajik culture and the lessons it offers those of us who live in the “always busy, always bustling” modern world. Even during a worldwide pandemic.

So I invite you to enjoy this slow journey to the Zerafshan Valley of Tajikistan, where our textile artisans live and work, and the nearby Fann Mountains. I can’t wait to return this fall as part of our 3 Stans Tour


 Rikki with the Embroidery & Patchwork Artisans of Armughon Handicrafts, in Panjakent, Tajikistan (Zerafshan Valley-2015)



“Anisa Sabiri’s photographs capture the unrushed cadences of life in Tajikistan. As an emigre, returning to a more relaxed pace can be a difficult but fulfilling challenge, writes Sher Khashimov.

In June of 2020, after the coronavirus-related border closures turned my two-week trip to Tajikistan into a six-month stay, I led a small group of American and German friends through the Fann mountains — a cluster of a hundred snow-capped peaks that stretches across the west of the country. " READ THE REST OF THE CALVERT JOURNAL ARTICLE.



Just before I headed to Arizona for my post-Christmas family adventures, I finally received the latest order from Tajikistan. Unfortunately, in true “slow Tajikistan” fashion, the order was delayed by a variety of real-life events that are fairly normal for Tajikistan: (1) the wedding of Master Sodiq’s son, which required a lot of time from the entire family; (2) illness in the family; (3) the rescheduling of the “regular” courier shipment date from Tajikistan; (4) waiting for the products to travel to the US via our favorite “suitcase shipping” (i.e., via someone traveling to the US); and (5) waiting for the products to come to Albuquerque, when the original person scheduled to visit Albuquerque had a change of plans after arriving in the US. But I think the wait was worth it!

Egyptian Reproduction Combs

 Hand-carved Reproduction of Ancient Egyptian Combs  | HoonArts

The Egyptian reproduction combs finally arrived! Learn more about the history of these combs in our earlier blogs, What Do Egyptian Mummies Have to Do with a Modern Tajik Artist-Part One and What Do Egyptian Mummies Have to Do with a Modern Tajik Artist-Part Two . Although most of the combs were pre-ordered and have headed to their homes with people associated with the Penn Museum, I still have several extras in both walnut and apricot wood that I will be adding to the website very soon.

 Closeup of Reproduction of Ancient Egyptian Comb-Hand Carved from Apricot Wood | HoonArts

 New Handcarved Earrings & Pendants

The rest of the order was new hand-carved wooden jewelry from Master Sodiq, including earrings that sold out and brand new pendants in various designs to coordinate with the earrings already on our website. 

Hand Carved Wooden Earrings and Pendants from Tajikistan | HoonArts

Since high-quality findings are difficult to obtain in Tajikistan, I have now become part of the production team for our hand-carved jewelry. I add all the ear wires and jump rings to the hand-carved components from Master Sodiq. I will also be adding the leather necklaces to the pendants. As soon as I complete this work, I’ll get these new jewelry items up on our main HoonArts website (as well as our new Amazon Handmade and Etsy shops).

Preparing to Attach Findings to Hand Carved Wooden Jewelry from Tajikistan | HoonArts

I hope this spotlight on the slow lane in Tajikistan has inspired you to step off the fast track from time to time and focus on the journey rather than the designation.

Rikki Quintana
Rikki Quintana


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in The HoonArts Caravanserai

Square wall hanging featuring concentric circles of hand-embroidered pomegranates from Tajikistan | HoonArts
Suzani: The Hidden World Within

by Rikki Quintana June 29, 2022

One of the great joys of exploring the Silk Road art of suzani embroidery is learning the deep meaning behind each of the traditional patterns. When Munira Akilova visited Albuquerque in April, we recorded a short video in which she explained every element of the design she created in our Pomegranate Wall Hanging.

Continue Reading

Bread is Life and Art in Tajikistan
Bread is Life and Art in Tajikistan

by Rikki Quintana June 16, 2022

Poverty in Tajikistan has been a recurring challenge for hundreds of years, so feeding families has always been important. Bread or “non” is a precious staple, and it is frequently offered to guests as a symbol of hospitality. In rural areas, bread may make up a significant portion of daily caloric intake. If a Tajik has food but not non, he will often say he is out of food. Because bread is so precious, it’s important to avoid letting bread drop on the ground and you never throw it away. In...

Continue Reading

Collaboration in Action: Storytelling from a Different Angle
Collaboration in Action: Storytelling from a Different Angle

by Rikki Quintana June 10, 2022

Collaboration is one of HoonArts' core values. (The other is authenticity. Stay tuned for future posts on that topic.) What does that look like in action? Or, as (my personal hero) Brene Brown would say, "How do we operationalize that value?"  As I tackle every item on my never-ending "to do" list, I ask myself, "Does this further collaboration in some way? Or, how can I bring collaboration to this task?" 

Continue Reading