Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Weavers.

fter I spent the afternoon gathering wood with Şahin and Ersin, I made my way to Zeki's shop just to say hello. Zeki being the kind man that he is offered to give me a ride back to my hotel in Ürgüp. I quickly accepted but would have to wait a few miutes while he wrapped up his work day. I took the opportunity to look around the store. On the second floor, I came across a studio where the shop does carpet weaving demonstrations. There, two local women were working on weaving a carpet. They didn't mind my presence so I watched them weave and quietly took photos.

Referring to a small printed pattern, they pluck individual warp strings and keep them separated with their fingers. They then take strands of wool in the needed color and create the weft according to pattern. Different strands of weft are woven in as they make there way across the pattern. As they weave in each pair of weft strands, they use their fingers to pinch the wool strands to as close to the same length as is possible without scissors. Once the weft pattern is completed, they take a hammmer like tool and pound down hard on the weft strands.

I leaned over their shoulders to watch them work. Their hands were plucking, weaving and pinching as fast as you can imagine - a skill honed over many, many years. Every now and again, they would discuss the pattern and which strand of colored yarn needed to be used.

I walked around the room to take a closer look at the other sample weavings. There was a silk carpet on one loom. It was amazing to see not only how detailed the pattern was but the carpet was so thin. It was also interesting to see how the weaver interpreted the color palette that was on the printed pattern. No doubt that this is the workmanship of an expert weaver - no one else could create such a beautiful work of art.

There were other carpets "in-progress" that showed off some of the other designs that are typical of Turkish carpets.

But it was still the women who captured my attention. I was mesmerized by what they were doing because long ago, I had tried my hand at weaving and so I know how difficult a skill it is to perfect. I could have stayed longer to indulge in my admiration of what they were doing but I did not want to intrude any more than I had to so as quietly as I had entered the room, I left.