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January 20th 2021 A talk by Chris Aslan: A Carpet Ride to Khiva.

This lecture told the story of the UNESCO silk carpet workshop established by Chris Aslan, and also delved into 15th century Timurid carpet designs, illuminated manuscripts and their depictions of carpets, sericulture, and natural dye techniques.


Chris was born in Turkey and spent part of his childhood there before moving to war-torn Beirut. Later he spent two years at sea before studying Media and Journalism at Leicester University, after which he moved back eastwards, this time to Khiva, a desert oasis in Uzbekistan, Central Asia, where he established a UNESCO workshop reviving 15th century carpet designs and embroideries. It became the largest non-government employer in town.

After a year in the UK writing A Carpet Ride to Khiva, he moved to the Pamirs in Tajikistan, bordering Uzbekistan, for three years, which included training yak herders to comb their livestock for cashmere-like down. This was followed by two years in Kyrgyzstan living in the world’s largest natural walnut forest and establishing a wood-carving workshop.

Chris has recently finished rowing and studying at Oxford and survived his curacy at St. Barnabas in North Finchley, but is now taking two years out to focus on writing fiction. Several novels have been published and more are on the way. He also lectures for the Art Society and leads tours to Central Asia. He is missing a large chunk of his heart which will forever remain in the 'stans.


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