Archive for the ‘Istanbul’ Category:


Patolas in Patan, Gujarat. Ikat Weaving by the Masters

My Turkish travels and studies of textiles over the years has led me further afield in search of a broader and deeper understanding of global weaving techniques that enhance and inform my understanding of the regional textiles of Turkey and it’s neighbours. That said, just over a year ago, I had the privilege of traveling with a small group in northwest India visiting the states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. Judy Frater hosted the group.  Judy is expert in local textiles and involved with the newly launched Somaiya Kala Vidya a training institute for traditional artisans. The highlight of the travels for me was a visit to a small workshop in Patan, Gujarat where a family of weavers were practicing their complex art of double ikat weaving producing silk wedding saris known as patola. I had handled and sold the wonderful, powerful and graphic ikat textiles of Central Asia which come onto the Turkish market but I had only studied in textbooks the practice of the double ikat weaving technique of this corner of India. The

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Rainy Day Outing to Istanbul Market on the Asian Shore

pre-planned visit with friends to Istanbul’s Sali Pazar or Tuesday Market on the Asian side of the city ensured that I headed out in a torrential morning downpour to wade through puddles and sift through piles of textiles in one of Istanbul’s largest biweekly markets. Although named the Tuesday Market, the market is now held twice a week on both Tuesday and Friday. The market has relocated from a massive parking lot in Kadikoy to another open space in the neighbourhood of Hasan Pasa.  As we jumped in a taxi does seem slightly strange to announce our destination as the Tuesday Market even though it is Friday. Shopping for home goods, ‘seconds’ in clothing lines, produce, cheese, nuts, spices, fabrics and all manner of oddities; the market is both a visual delight and an audio assault as vendors shout prices and encouragement to the shoppers to take a look at their wares.  Today the overriding challenge was to avoid being drenched by unpredictable deluges as the tarps covering the goods were filling with pools of

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Sunday Afternoon in Istanbul
A walk on the seawall in Kadikoy

hat could be more natural for a woman originally from the North Shore of  Vancouver, BC than to go out for a walk on a sunny Sunday afternoon on the seawall.  Spring is arriving in Istanbul and I had some time to myself so out I went to get some exercise and enjoy the warmth on the seawall in Kadikoy in on Istanbul’s Asian shore. As I shared the public space with so many others I reflected on the commonalities of a walk on the seawall in Kadikoy or in West Vancouver.  I also could not help but notice some details that are unique to a walk on the seawall in Istanbul.  In common on the seawalls was the diversity of people of all ages.  Benches along the way here were well used as people basked in the sun, eyes closed and the therapeutic heat erasing some of life’s cares.  There were super playgrounds for the kids, lots of parents with strollers, elderly couples arm in arm, and young couples sitting on the rocks overlooking the

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HOLI – A Celebration of Colours

ulminating my tour in NW India with a group of textile enthusiasts we ended our time yesterday together in Jaipur. The last full day of our scheduled time  fell upon Holi; the Festival of Colours. This holiday is celebrated at the vernal equinox welcoming spring.  It is also known as the Festival of Love and from it’s Hindu beliefs celebrates  embracing a time of reconciliation, letting go of grudges, forgiving of debts and broad sense of inclusiveness between people. In the contemporary Indian culture they refer to ‘playing Holi’; trust me there is a very strong element of play involved as people enter in to the festivities with awesome degree of abandon. On the night of the full moon bonfires are lit and crowds gather. The fires are symbolic of the triumph of good over evil. Women light green branches from the fire and take the ashes into their homes. The following morning the celebrations begin.  We celebrated in the garden of our hotel with about fifty people.  There were three year olds and seventy

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Turkey – Getting a Visa has Become a Whole Lot Easier – The Online Solution

ack in the city that feels like my second home. Istanbul welcomed me the night before last and for the first time  coming to buy carpets and textiles I was able to purchase a entry Visa online. Countless times I have stood in a line-up (before the BIG lineup to clear Passport Control) waiting to

Anticipating a Visit to the David Collection of Islamic Art in Copenhagen

fter some time spent in Istanbul and Western Turkey this spring I have plans to revisit the David Collection in Copenhagen, Denmark.  I want another opportunity to  study this extraordinary collection of Islamic Art. Housed in a recently renovated space in central Copenhagen the museum is located in two early 19th c buildings thoughtfully conceived with series of intimate spaces to showcase an extensive collection and variety of art of the Islamic world.

Sunday Morning Rambles in Beyoglu, Istanbul

unday evening is our start to our travels together in Western Turkey and guests from Vancouver are arriving en route via France, Switzerland, Italy and America. Of the twelve people who have joined us for this tour in Western Turkey two couples who arrived a day early express their wish to attend a Catholic mass on Sunday morning. We meet an hour early in Taksim Square and walk the side streets off of the main walking street of Istiklal through Beyoglu, the 19th c European quarter of Pera in Istanbul before arriving at the neo Gothic church of St Anthony of Padua. After mass we walk down the hill along a street loaded with musical instrument shops past the Galata tower, a 14th c construct of the Genoese in Constantinople. Along the way we pick up a glass of freshly squeezed…

Role Reversal – The Turks Visit Canada

ll the tours that Jack and I have hosted to Turkey have been organized by a historical guide who has become a friend and huge ambassador to our North American friends as they visited his country, Turkey.  This summer the tables turned as Jack and I were able to host Mehmet and his family for a visit to Canada.  We became the ‘tour guides’ and shared our beautiful country with this Turkish family who make their home in Istanbul.

Tiles in the Harem of the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul.

y sister came for her first visit to Turkey this spring.  An early morning ferry ride across the Bosphorus, a tram ride up the hill to Sultanahmet and we were near the front of the line for tickets to the Topkapi Palace.  To view the Harem of the palace it requires purchasing a separate ticket within the Palace grounds.   At the main ticket office it indicated that the Palace opened at 9 a.m. and the Harem opened at 9:30 a.m.  On passing into the inner courtyard we went directly to purchase our tickets for the Harem and to our surprise they waved us through into the Harem.  What a unique experience!  I had never been in those rooms without swarms of others and we had the place to ourselves with perhaps half a dozen others who were lucky enough to stumble upon an early entrance. The Topkapi Palace hosts collections that are vast and diverse – textiles, weapons, the treasury,  and religious artifacts plus the kitchen complex with an extensive collection of porcelain, but for

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My First Week in Istanbul

have been here in Istanbul this week getting my feet on the ground, enjoying the signs of spring and the pleasure of reconnecting with colleagues and friends.  I have been posting some images from around the city on using Tumblr and a few reflections on coming and going in Istanbul. Take a look at what I have seen and where I have been….tumblr feed.