Next Episode of Handmade on the Silk Road is
The three-part series is about traditional crafts along the ancient trade route of the Silk Road. Each film follows a day in the working life of a weaver, woodcarver and potter in China, Uzbekistan and Iran.Beautifully filmed portraits of master craftsmen at work, the series captures in exquisite detail techniques handed down over generations. And from the bickering husband and wife silk weavers in China to the Iranian potter still teasing his son about who makes the best pots, the films are also delightful and warm observational documentaries.
The first episode, The Weaver, is set in North West China, where the Uyghur community has been making Atlas silk for thousands of years. Mattursun Islam (pictured) and his family are continuing the tradition, using a combination of handmade techniques and mechanised looms, including a wooden loom which Mattursun built himself aged 17.
In a small workshop with a team of up to 12 workers, Mattursun produces the silk in over 200 different designs - and from creating the patterns to colouring, dyeing and weaving the thread, the film follows each stage in absorbing detail.
We also get an engaging glimpse into the challenges of running the family business. With rival companies often copying his designs, Mattursan Islam is proud of his reputation. But he and his wife also enjoy a good-natured rivalry over who is really in charge…
The second episode, The Woodcarver, is set in Khiva, Uzbekistan. This ancient walled city is one of the oldest centres of wood carving in central Asia. Shavkat Jumanijozov, pictured, has been working with wood in the city for over 30 years, producing superbly carved doors, chests and wooden pillars that are displayed and sold all over the world.
The final episode, The Potter, is filmed in the Iranian town of Meybod, famous for its traditional ceramics production.
The desert soil of Iran lends itself to clay making and Iranian pottery has a long and distinguished history, dating back to at least the 8th century BC. Abdol Reza Aghaei was taught by his father Abbas Ali, a potter for over 70 years. Each day they travel to their workshop and diligently sculpt a vast array of everyday household objects.
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