Rishton is the home to the craft of ceramics. An hour’s drive from Fergana, it’s a rather well-to-do town on the Tajik border. Ceramics made in this town find their way to all other cities in Uzbekistan. There are an estimated 300 practicing ceramists in Rishton. The red clay in this region forms the base for the stunning ceramic platters, pots and other decorative objects.
We spent the day with two master ceramists in their studios. After the initial “what-are-these-two-girls-doing-here?” look on their faces (the standard response we get everywhere), they warmed up and took us through their workshops, their firing kilns and even their private museums. They fed us well (delicious pumpkin samosas, dried apricots, fresh bread, copious amounts of tea and coffee). All artisans we’ve met so far were incredibly nice, warm people with no hint of arrogance. They love their craft and they shared every bit of it with us.
The masters in Rishton built their expertise in the classic cobalt blue ceramics but today have diversified their glazes to all possible colours – responding to market demands as they say. While these new age colours and ceramics are pretty, they lack the depth and pure lure of the classic cobalt blue, lapis turquoise classics that are found only in their private museums or made to special orders.