Rustam & Damir Usmanov - Uzbekistan

Step into the world of Rustam and Damir Usmanov, a father-and-son duo whose artistic prowess breathes life into Uzbekistan's iconic Rishtan ceramics. Their studio team seamlessly blends time-honored craftsmanship with contemporary aesthetics, crafting pieces that pay homage to tradition while embracing innovation.

Rishtan ceramics are celebrated for their captivating blue and green hues and intricate geometric and floral motifs. Rustam Usmanov, a true guardian of this artistry, embarked on a remarkable journey to revive and safeguard these ancient techniques. Following the decline of the local ceramics factory in the wake of the Soviet Union's fall, he established a home studio dedicated to preserving the art of Rishtan ceramics. What began as a small workshop has now grown to international fame, with the inclusion of family members and apprentice students.

Each piece is meticulously handcrafted using locally sourced clay, shaped with care on a foot-kicked pottery wheel, adorned with masterful hand-painted patterns, and finished with a radiant metal oxide glaze. This dedication to craftsmanship ensures that every creation from the Usmanov Ceramics Workshop carries the essence of Uzbekistan's timeless beauty.

Born in Rishtan, Uzbekistan, in 1954, Rustam Usmanov is a first-generation pottery designer. He graduated from the Tashkent Institute of Theatre & Arts in 1980, after which he returned to his hometown to work with ceramics. Rustam's passion for ceramics has led him to participate in exhibitions around the world, showcasing his expertise and dedication to preserving the ancient artistic heritage. Stimulated by his investigation of artefacts discovered at archaeological sites in the area, his work includes the recreation of lost ornaments.

Rustam's commitment to passing down his knowledge and skills to future generations is a cornerstone of his life's work. Family members and students learn and work alongside him in the workshop, each contributing their unique style. Every piece bears a small signature on its underside, signifying the individual behind its creation.

Rishtan, the home of traditional Rishtan ceramics, has a storied history dating back to the Timurid dynasty. It was here that Timur's representatives discovered the best red clay, setting the stage for the enduring legacy of Rishtan ceramics. Recognizable by their blue-green color combinations and intricate geometric and floral designs, these ceramics are a testament to the region's heritage.

The Usmanovs' creative process begins with the careful selection and harvesting of clay, typically found not far from the riverbanks. The clay is meticulously prepared before being shaped on the pottery wheel. A delicate layer of white clay, known as "angob," is applied to provide a smooth canvas for intricate hand-painted designs. The final touch comes with glazes made from copper, cobalt, and manganese oxides, adding a vibrant finish to each piece.

Rustam Usmanov's journey from factory artist to independent ceramics master is a testament to his passion and dedication. Today, alongside his son Damir, they continue to pursue the technique of "ishkor" ceramics, ensuring that the legacy of Rishtan ceramics remains vibrant and cherished.

Explore the Usmanov Ceramics Workshop's exceptional creations and bring a piece of Uzbekistan's artistic heritage into your home. Discover the magic where tradition meets innovation and let the timeless beauty of Rishtan ceramics adorn your life.