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    Oltinoy Gafurova: Weaving the Threads of Tradition and Intricacy in Carpet Art

    Image: Oltinoy Gafurova

    Few traditional arts can match the intricate beauty and cultural depth of carpet weaving. Oltinoy Gafurova, a master weaver from Uzbekistan, is dedicated to sharing this ancient art globally, driven by passion and a profound connection to her heritage.

    Please describe what kind of unique career-related talents you have and how they have influenced the outcome of your life, your career, or your educational background.

    I have mastered traditional Uzbek carpet weaving, using ancient techniques and natural dyes. I blend these methods with modern designs to create culturally rich carpets that appeal to contemporary tastes. My skills have led to international recognition and global opportunities to share my craft.

    Image: Oltinoy Gafurova

    Tell us how your career developed, where you studied and worked, and what positions you held.

    I started weaving carpets as a child, learning from my family’s tradition and studying with Mrs. Rushana Burkhanova. I also learned from other esteemed mentors like Ikhtiyor Kendjaev and Fazliddin Dadajonov, who taught me advanced embroidery and modern weaving techniques.

    I have worked at the Bukhara Silk Carpet workshop near the Poi Kalon Complex, where I collaborated with other artists to produce exquisite, traditionally inspired carpets. My designs have gained acclaim for their high quality and cultural significance, leading to numerous awards and recognition in trade journals.

    Are there any milestone achievements or cases in your career that you want to talk about separately? 

    Yes, I can think of several cases that stand out. One of them was when my handmade carpet was featured in the main hall of the residence of former Uzbekistan president Islam Karimov. My participation in the 7th international exhibition “Beauty and Grace” in Sochi in 2011 and the “City of Atlas” festival in Samarkand in 2016 were also important events for me.

    In 2016, I was honored with the UNESCO Craft Prize for the Asia-Pacific Region for my dedication to preserving and modernizing traditional carpet weaving. I consider these to be the significant milestones that greatly advanced my career and international standing.

    Image: Oltinoy Gafurova

    Image: Oltinoy Gafurova

    Please describe the conditions in which you were raised as a child. Where were you born? What did you like to do as a child? 

    I was born into a family of carpet-weaving artists and raised in an environment rich with creativity and craftsmanship. As a child, I loved to engage in carpet weaving and designing, learning the craft from my parents and grandparents.

    What did your parents/family members do for a living? Did they help you pursue your goals and dreams?

    My parents and grandparents were carpet-weaving artists, and they have greatly helped me pursue my goals and dreams by passing down their skills and knowledge.

    Image: Oltinoy Gafurova

    What are your current goals in life, and where do you see yourself in ten years?

    My current goal is to open a carpet weaving workshop in New York, and in ten years, I see myself running a successful workshop renowned for its unique and high-quality carpets.

    Have you ever received any awards or accolades while studying in school or in your career?

    In 2008, I was featured at a local exhibition called “Silk and Spice” and received a grant to expand my artistic business. Then, in 2009, I was given an award at the 9th Golden Hands of Artists in Moscow. My work has also been featured in numerous international exhibitions and fairs, like the International Folk Art Market of 2017 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I received awards from the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

    Image: Oltinoy Gafurova

    What are the most important facts that you want people to know about you?

    I want people to know that my work combines traditional craftsmanship with modern innovation. My carpets are not just decorative but also represent cultural heritage and artistry. I’ve been honored for my contributions to carpet weaving, and I’m dedicated to spreading the word about this craft to a wider audience.

    How do you plan on becoming better at what you do in the future?

    I plan to improve my carpet weaving skills through continuous learning, regular practice, seeking feedback, and staying updated on industry trends.

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    Oltinoy Gafurova’s journey from the city of Bukhara to the global stage showcases her exceptional talent and unwavering dedication. Her work not only upholds the rich heritage of Uzbek carpet weaving but also elevates it to new levels of artistic expression. As she shares her craft with the world, Oltinoy serves as a symbol of tradition and innovation, inspiring artists and admirers alike.

    For more about Oltinoy Gafurova and her work, visit her Facebook page.


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