Busing overland to Marmaris on the Aegean Sea, we see apartment buildings with solar water. It amazes me how smart and progressive people are.
The terrain is mountainous in part, and beautiful. At one point I saw rock walls similar to those we see in the Motherlode. It reminded me of Calaveras County.
On our way to board our gulet, an old type sailing/motorized vessel, we stop at a Carpetium. Supported by the government to keep ancient hand crafts like this alive, we learn how the famous Turkish Rugs are hand made from silk and wool, a process perfected in Biblical times and handed down from generation to generation.
Our first stop is the cocoon vat, where live cocoons are floated. If the worm dies the silk cocoon turns grey and unusable. They are floated in this vat and the worker takes a rough brush and grabs at them.
She lifts up her brush with cocoons attachd. You can see the many fibers in the teacher’s hand.
She then takes the fibers and puts them on a hook to the left of the vat.
The hooks are attached to a machine that winds the silken threads into a batt
The batts are then ready to be dyed. The teacher challenged us to try and break a strand of silk with our hands. It looks fragile but no one could break it.
This woman draws and colors in the designs. Most are traditional, some commissioned, some just new innovations to try for something different.
Natural dyes are used for the silk and wool.
Hand made rugs are almost as beautiful on the back as they are the front.
Silk weaving can be so precise, a talented worker can make a picture like this beautiful wall hanging featuring Ephesus as it once looked.
Wool rugs are much coarser and the patterns are not as precise and fine. They still have a wonderful feel, richness and quality to them.
We watched the weavers work from a small design. It is a matter of counting threads. It takes great dedication to your craft to stick with one rug for over a year or more. This woman is working with pure, fine, silk threads.
All of us were invited to try weaving. The worker slips her fingers under two strands of the warp, she separates them, inserts a strand of silk or wool, makes a simple loop and knot and drags it down to the bottom of the carpet. Here Joyce B. gives it a try.
You can see a nearly complete row of dyed fibers across the width of this carpet. A weaver does one color at a time. She will come back and fill in the white.
After completing several rows, the worker cuts the excess threads off with a wide, flat scissors.
I’ve made both hooked and braided rugs and I stand in awe of this craft. These women work unbelievably fast; it was hard to see what lightening fast fingers were doing.
In the show room, the crew rolled out about 60 carpets for us to examine. He describes the types. You notice they lift heavy carpets with a double fold at the corners, so not to damage the carpet.
The teacher explains the nap of the carpet.
One of the workers gives a little show while we think about whether we want to buy something or not.
To demonstrate how old some of the carpet patterns are, he showed us a portrait from the London National Gallery of England with a carpet pattern called USHAK draped over the table when a peace agreement was signed between England and Spain. I liked that pattern and color which is more red than in the photo of a photo.
Owen liked this Tree of Life pattern in pure silk.
I ended up with two, the pattern I liked is visible on the left. I bought the one similar, to the right, wool and silk, and the Tree of life.. Ouch, I said after dickering the price down. I won’t tell you how much I paid. Expensive, but they last for a hundred years, with care. I hope my kids take good care of them. And, the rug makers tell you, walk on them. Don’t hang them on your wall. They react well to use.
They fed us an interesting picnic lunch in their yard.
Everything was tasty. Owen, of course, ordered the chicken shish.
We move on to the Gulet after lunch.
To see an album of pictures, click the link below: