Saturday, June 2, 2012

Magic Carpets

This would have been 5-24, leaving behind Canakkale, and heading south, first to Bergama (ancient Pergamon), and on to Kusadasi (the modern town near Ephesus). On the way, we stopped at Desen Halicilik, the Carpet Weavers' Association. Our carpet guide told us this is "an art of the ladies," though he added that his own wife insisted he weave a carpet for her before she would marry him.  He told us that there are some 10,000 ladies in Turkey who do such weaving, heavily subsidized by government and universities (not sure how/why that works).

In part, this was a carpet store, but we got to see some of the process involved.  A guy was boiling the silk coccoons, and showing us how the threads were spindled off.  The coccoons, of course, would have had live pupae in them.  They told us that most are sacrificed, but that 5-10% are kept alive for next season's harvest.

And this, a bundle of raw silk...

We also got a look at the dye materials.  I didn't catch the whole process, but got that the wool (and/or silk?) was first dyed with natural materials--yellow from daisies, soft beige from acorn shells, purple from oak apples (once, in Roman times, Lydia's purple from seashells), reddish from madder (some root), brown from walnut, burgandy from rosehips, blue from indigo... before some other finishing process--iron or copper oxide for most, pine resin for the blue. (and I seem to only have one blurry photo...)

We got to watch a couple women demonstrate the weaving process, to get a sense of the time involved.  E.g., a 1 x 2 foot silk carpet might take 11 months, though only at 2 hours at a time, before folks would lose focus, go crazy, need coffee, whatever.  Most women involved would work at home, and earn 300-400 Turkish lire/month (200 some dollars).

And then the "show."  They served us a light lunch in the showroom (Turkish 'pizza' with vegetables and local wine, raki or Fanta).  The workers unrolled dozens of carpets.  I wish I knew more about the patterns and what they meant.  Our guide some--'hands on hips' = a confident woman, an emblem of the Association; the sacrificing rooster pattern; scorpions; kossack patterns; dowry carpets; and scenes from A Thousand and One Nights.

Amazing stuff.  Not cheap.   later, bob
Labels: | edit post
1 Response
  1. Atinc Says:

    Nice carpets, I love those shows they make.

Post a Comment

Subscribe to our feed